Assume an editor has sent out a manuscript to reviewers. Let's say the manuscript has potential but with mixed reviews; some reviewers say accept whilst others recommend revision/reject. The editor recommends re-submission. So the manuscript goes through the usual revision-resubmission-revision-... process.

As an editor, does he/she need to all reviewers to be thoroughly happy before accepting the manuscript? Can he/she accept/reject the manuscript based on the majority rule?

Note, some journals have a limit on the maximum number of re-submissions, meaning the re-submission process cannot continue forever.

3 Answers 3


First of all, reviewers give a recommendation. It is the editor who makes the final decision.

It is possible to have an editor going against the reviewers opinion. An example is this article. It is open peer-review, so you can read the reviews and the answer of the editor. He says in his comment:

I decided to continue the review process even though 2 of the 3 reviews recommend rejection.

So the answer is no, an editor does not need to receive unanimous recommendations from the reviewers to make a decision.


The editor has the final say. The reviewers provide advice for the editor to act on as he or she sees fit.

There is no need for all (or indeed any) of the reviewers to recommend publication for the article to be accepted.


It is common to have disparate recommendations and priority judgements from reviewers.

As an editor I strive to follow the majority, as even an editor can be questioned if he departs too much from the reviewers' opinion.

Indeed, the key freedom and autonomy dimension of an editor lies in the choice of which reviewers inviting in the first place, much less in how to micromanage reviewers' reports.

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