I have submitted a paper to an Elsevier journal. After two weeks of required reviews completed status I have sent and E-mail to the editor. He replied: Your paper is still under review. We need 1 or 2 more review comments and make the decision within a month.

So, I have to ask... What does he mean by we need 1 or 2 more review comments? If the paper is still under review what is with the status of required reviews completed?

  • Ask the editor what it means. Jan 22, 2015 at 17:07

3 Answers 3


An educated guess is that the manuscript handling system by default expects two reviews. The number of reviews required for a decision can usually be changed by the editor. A reason for adding reviews is that you receive, for example and in the worst case, one accept and one reject from the two reviewers. It is therefore reasonable for an editor to search for additional reviewers to provide a better basis for a decision. Another reason can be that one or both of the original reviewers left reviews but they were deemed unconstructive and the need for additional reviews arose from the lack of reasonable feedback. There can be many other reasonable explanations as well, these are just examples.

Anyway, in this case, it is possible that the editors have not bothered to change the number of required reviews to 4 (which I assume the total would be). The system then shows that all reviews are in and that the manuscript should be decided upon. So hopefully, the editor will try to get speedy reviews and get back to you with useful feedback on your manuscript.

  • Thanks for the reply. But, when the editor says we need 1 more review COMMENT, it is confusing.
    – Arian
    Jan 22, 2015 at 12:28
  • 2
    @Arian I would interpret "review comment" as meaning the same as "review."
    – jakebeal
    Jan 22, 2015 at 12:31
  • 3
    Or possibly "review comment" means just a quick opinion, rather than a full-blown review. Still, that's a weird phrase.
    – Kimball
    Jan 22, 2015 at 16:50

It could mean any number of things, as "Required Reviews Completed" is likely an automated message that the initial review requests sent out have been returned. Three possible explanations, all rooted in my own experience:

  1. The reviewers are divided enough, or there's enough ambiguity, that the editor has decided to reach out to more reviewers to broaden the available opinions.
  2. The editor is currently clarifying a comment with a reviewer. I have, at least once, gone back and forth with an editor a few times as a reviewer refining what I mean, giving examples, etc. so the editor can convey useful information to the reviewer.
  3. Some journals have checkboxes suggesting the need for additional review. For example, many clinical journals have an entry for "This paper should be reviewed by a statistician" for methodologically complex papers. It's possible one or more reviewers suggested someone with additional expertise should review the paper.

The manuscript status shows "required reviews completed" once all the reviews have come in. After that, the paper along with the reviews could be waiting at the editor's desk for a while before he has time to look at them. This would probably account for the status having remained the same for two weeks.

For many journals, the status would change to "with reviewer" once again if the paper is sent for additional reviews. Since this has not happened, I feel that perhaps the editor is not referring to additional reviews.

There is a possibility that by "one or two more review comments" the editor is referring to a few additional comments by the same reviewers. One can't be sure, but perhaps the editor has found some of the reviewers' comments unclear, and has asked for clarifications, or the editor has a view slightly different from the reviewers and has asked for their opinion. If that is the case, you wouldn't probably have to wait too long, as it will definitely be quicker than getting additional reviews done.

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