I recently received a review of my paper from a journal. Two referees suggested some changes and one referee just rejected the paper claiming that this study was not necessary. The editor decided a major revision. I revised my paper and two referees appreciated the rebuttal and paper while one referee still rejects.

Now, the editor gave me five days time to submit a revision. I sent. Is there a chance of acceptance?

  • 24
    If there is no chance of acceptance, the editor will not waste his time asking for changes. – GEdgar Jul 13 '16 at 13:24
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    one referee just rejected the paper — Referees don't accept or reject papers; that's the editor's decision. You mean "One referee just recommended rejection". – JeffE Jul 13 '16 at 13:48
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    In my field, the editor imposing a deadline would be very unusual. Is this normal in other areas of research? – Federico Poloni Jul 13 '16 at 15:34
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    @FedericoPoloni yes in biology / geoscience but 6 weeks to 6 months is more typical. Unless it is a special issue. – David LeBauer Jul 13 '16 at 16:16
  • i submitted rebuttal. Now 13 days over. Not yet received any decision – user57987 Jul 13 '16 at 19:03

Unless there are some general reasons to impose a deadline on your paper, such as that it is intended for a special issue, I would strongly guess that your paper is practically accepted and the editor only wanted you to apply some minor changes. I only ever heard of such short deadlines when the only things that needed to be changed were minor and quick to do.

If the editor expected you to present changes and arguments to sway the third referee’s opinion, they would have given you more time. If the editor had decided to follow the third referee’s recommendation, they would have rejected the paper immediately and not further waste your and their time with it.


Usually, if a single review is "reject" (for a journal), a paper is rejected straight away. Since you have been given a chance to amend the paper, the editor must have decided that the opinion of the dissenting reviewer is for some reason irrelevant (he did not understand the paper, his comments/requests are unreasonable, etc.). Short deadline is unusual as well, perhaps, as some other asked, there is special issue in play?

  • Usually, if a single review is "reject" (for a journal), a paper is rejected straight away. – This does not reflect my experience at all. – Wrzlprmft Aug 4 '17 at 15:28
  • It is possible that the reject review is ignored by the editor, but this is then the situation where the editor does not believe the reviewer he personally chose. In this situation, I cannot imagine the same reviewer getting the revised manuscript for another review - since he said in the first place it is a reject. Speaking as an member of an editorial board of an SCI journal :) – xmp125a Aug 9 '17 at 12:40
  • That’s a pretty black and white view (which is not shared by any editor I know). Just that an editor disagrees with a reviewer’s conclusion (here: reject), doesn’t mean that they disagree with their criticism, let alone consider the reviewer inept. Also, the same argument applies to the other reviewer(s) who recommend to accept the manuscript: The editor chose them and put trust in them just as much. – Wrzlprmft Aug 9 '17 at 13:06
  • I have experienced many cases where one reviewer recommended a rejection and the paper was eventually accepted after addressing that reviewer’s criticism and the reviewer’s opinion was swayed or the only remaining criticism was incontestable like lack of relevance. In many cases the rejecting reviewer did review the revision – which makes sense, as they were the most thorough critic. A typical case would be a reviewer misunderstanding a crucial part of the manuscript, which did indeed need better explanation. – Wrzlprmft Aug 9 '17 at 13:06
  • Perhaps it differs between the fields. I may overrule the reviewer if I see that he/she did a poor job, but I never did this. Poorly written parts of the paper that cause reader to misunderstood the critical point are a big minefield. I had once a paper which was minor/major. After several iterations with a "pesky" reviewer it became clear to me and both reviewers that both reviewers misunderstood the critical point, and since the point was not valid, the paper was eventually rejected. After all, it is the author's responsibility do write a readable paper 1st time around. – xmp125a Aug 17 '17 at 10:50

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