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I was reading few journals (in Elsevier) in my field (Biology) and I noticed the time of acceptance period from the revised version is received "Received 8 November 2016; Received in revised form 17 April 2017; Accepted 18 April 2017". Does this mean that the revised manuscript received today is immediately the other day? Or is there any other interpretation for this? Thanks!

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    It probably means the editor was happy with the revision and accepted it the next day. – n1000 Aug 4 '17 at 15:55
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    I think it's important to recognize that once a paper is accepted with minor revisions, it really only relies on the review of one person: the editor. Surely, if they are busy it could sit on their desk for awhile, but there is no reason for that step of review to take very much of their time; a day is completely reasonable if they see to it quickly. – Bryan Krause Aug 4 '17 at 19:38
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These dates hide the intermediate revisions that have had happened during the whole process.

One possible time line could be:

  • Received 8 November 2016
  • First revision (Major) 12 February 2017
  • Second revision (Major) 18 March 2017
  • Third revision (Major/Minor) 17 April 2017
  • Accepted 18 April 2017

In few journals, two dates are also mentioned like this: Received 8 November 2016, First Revision received 12 February 2017, Second Revision Received 18 March 2017, Accepted 18 April 2017. It might also happen that the article gets accepted after first revision itself, if the revision is suggested as "Minor". Major revisions are usually followed by peer-review, which takes time.

It is mostly journal specific.

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    "These dates hide the ... " Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that "These dates might hide some ..."? Your phrasing seems to imply that there were in fact some intermediate revisions, but I don't see how you could know that. – John Coleman Aug 4 '17 at 16:31
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    Yep. I had a paper in PRL that was "nothing but net", a couple of typos and done. The process of fixing the remarks of all reviewers took less than half an hour. Rare, but possible :) – Fábio Dias Aug 4 '17 at 17:27
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I believe I have had papers accepted within a day of receiving revisions. As others have said, the most likely (and innocent) interpretation is simply that the last set of revisions asked for was sufficiently minor/straightforward that it was immediate to ascertain that they had been satisfactorily made.

I agree with @Coder's answer that it could well be the case that multiple rounds of revisions were made, and it is also my experience that when journals say "Received in revised form on XXX" then XXX is the date of the last revision received. It also happens -- probably more frequently in some fields than others, and certainly more frequently for some authors than others -- that the first submitted version of the paper is essentially accepted but that the author is asked to correct some typos. Depending upon the workflow of the journal, they may ask for these typos to be corrected before the paper is formally accepted, even though the outcome is not really in doubt. How long does an editorial board want to spend checking that a given paper has indeed fixed some typos? Probably not more than a day.

Let me also say that in my experience good editors are expeditious people -- there are steps in the publication process that all but necessarily have substantial delays, but a good editor will make sure that the paper does not get delayed unnecessarily. So in my opinion this kind of timeline looks good for the journal.

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Not surprised, it is just because of a minor revision, as explained by others. This is a very common case and it is reasonable. I also want to share one more example, I read a paper, whose acceptance is one day after first submission. Crazy? That journal has only two types of papers: very fast review and very slow review. Most papers are accepted within one month, two weeks, etc. For the others, sorry, 1 month at lease for an initial decision.

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