I just received a decision letter from a journal editor (after three rounds of major revision). The letter shows that the reviewers "have asked for some other minor revisions". After getting the minor revision letter, I immediately completed the revision in accordance with the feedback from the reviewers (the suggested changes just involve adding a few sentences) and immediately resubmitted the revision to ScholarOne. A week has passed since I submitted the revision, but the status in ScholarOne remains unchanged. Is this normal? Can I assume that this basically means "acceptance with minor revision"? Thanks for your insight and sharing.
Minor revision usually implies that the reviewers (and the editor) think that authors can correct the paper in a way that will address all of the concerns, and the reviewers not need to see the paper again before publication.
From the reviewer's standpoint, "minor revision" means "authors should fix this and this, and don't bother me with the review again, the manuscript is ok otherwise".
However, if the author fails to address the concerns when revising the paper, the Editor may send the paper to another round of minor revision, and in extreme cases, to the major revision (for example if the minor corrections start to reveal bigger problems with the papers as originally envisioned).
Yes, characterizing revisions as "minor" strongly suggests that if you make those revisions the paper will be accepted. Editors may prefer not to explicitly say that the paper is "accepted with minor revisions", because authors may make "minor revisions" that don't correct the problems, and then feel that they've been promised publication in spite of that.
Depending on the journal, the editor, and the revisions, the manuscript may or may not go out to re-review once again, and even if it doesn't a one-week delay from submission to re-evaluation is not surprising. In my field (biology) I wouldn't be surprised to hear back about acceptance anywhere from 1 day to 1 month after re-submission.
The answer depends on the associate editor, and mostly on you. Imagine you drastically change your manuscript at this stage, not taking into account the suggested minor revisions? The editor would have the right (and power) to withdraw your submission, which would be fair...
Suppose now you play the game honestly. After three rounds of major revisions (which is huge), I suppose the journal has bet on you paper (or has surrended). My opinion: chances are your paper is going to be accepted.
But you never know for sure before you get the final acceptance letter (or the publication, which could be withdrawn for outer reasons).
I suggest you to comply to the minor edits as soon as possible. Allow at least one week for the editor, editorial staff to check the last minor correction, or possibly a little more, for instance if the editor decides to ask a picky reviewer to do the job.
One week is not too soon. The Editor is a professor too and may be away for the week at a conference. Or, depending on the time of the semester, may be grading a big stack of tests or projects. Or could be out sick for a few days, they are people too. After 3 weeks, email to politely check on the status.
Minor Revision isn't the same as "Accepted" but means it is very likely to become Accepted. But don't claim it until you have that email that has the wonderful word, "Accepted."
No, minor revision doesn't mean accepted with minor revisions. Strictly speaking, for truly minor revisions, it's possible that the editor accepts your paper and leaves you to make the remaining changes during proofs. Since the editor didn't do this, it's still possible your paper will be declined. I've also sent minor revision decisions which were effectively "Sorry we can't understand your paper, please get it proofread by a native English speaker", in which case the real peer review hadn't even started yet.
One can say the paper is more likely to be accepted than not, but the paper is not accepted until you receive the acceptance letter.