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EDUC.7130: Research Writing in Social Sciences

What Happens When you Have Submitted Your Article/

If you cannot access the above video, you can watch it here

Waiting for a Response

While doing your research on which journal to submit to, you should find out about their review process and timelines before submission so that you can prepare yourself for the wait.

If your journal does not mention its expected review time, you can try checking previously published papers from the journal and see if they provide any statistics. Most journals mention the submission date, acceptance date, and date of publication for papers published online; the difference between the former two dates will give you the review time. 


When You Hear From a Publisher

From Sage Publications:

Please explain the editorial decision of Reject, Revise & resubmit, or Accept with revisions. If you use other decision markers, please describe those, too.

While the responses vary by journal and I am not the editor of a specific journal, I can discuss briefly the general responses that someone submitting a paper might receive. First, there are two kinds of rejections journals typically give: the first is a desk rejection, and the second is a rejection with review. The former generally involves the editor and perhaps another member or members of the editorial board or team reading the manuscript and determining that it is not appropriate for review. These decisions are often related to the scope of the paper, poor quality writing, poor research design, or other factors that the editor thinks will reduce or eliminate the article’s chances of getting through the peer review process. The editor will explain the exact reasons in the rejection letter.

A rejection with review means the editor found the article compelling enough to send out for review, but the reviewers of the article found the paper lacking in some way. For high-submission journals, reviewers may have found the paper compelling, too, but the editor must make a decision on whether they found it compelling enough to publish, given the limited space available to journals.

A Revise & Resubmit (R&R) response means that the reviewers and editors found flaws or missing pieces in the paper, but think that, with some changes, the paper could be publishable. This is not a guarantee of publication, but it isn’t a rejection either. Almost all papers that are eventually published start out as R&Rs, though it depends on the selectivity of journal whether most R&Rs are eventually published. An editor may give you an indication of your chances for an eventual acceptance in your decision letter. The editor will also be able to give you a general direction of change that should be made, especially when reviewers give conflicting advice.

Accept with revision decisions are very rare on a first review. These mean that if you make the changes indicated in the decision letter, your article will be accepted. This is what you might expect to see after a successful R&R.

When an author gets comments back on an article from reviewers, in what amount of time should the author expect to reply to those comments for the revision?

Again, the amount of time can vary, but certainly not the next day, or even week. Revisions take time, and editors know this. Depending on the extent of changes requested, revisions can take anywhere from a couple weeks for minor tweaks to six months or more for new data collection and analysis. An editor may give you a deadline for revisions. If you think you won’t be able to meet the deadline, ask for an extension and explain the circumstances. The worst answer you can get is a no, and at least you’ll know before you start putting in the effort to make substantial changes.