What Does “Decision in Process” Mean?

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

What comes next after submitting your research paper to a journal? Many writers worry about what “decision in process” means and how long it takes.

Don’t worry; I’ll tell you what it means when your research manuscript has a “decision in process” status. I’ll also show you tips to increase your chances of being published.

Decision in Process Meaning

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The status ‘decision in process’ means that the editorial board is still processing their decision about your paper. That means your paper’s status for publication is still ongoing as they’re still going through your manuscript.

But this status also means that the handling editor of the paper has already submitted it to the higher-ups. Your article could be submitted to the Associated Editor or Editor-in-Chief for one last review before approval or rejection.

I know firsthand how excruciating this process is because it’s almost like your work is in limbo, and you have no idea what to expect.

You’ll typically encounter this status after the “under review” status. Peer reviewers like scientists check your work when your document is “under review.” This task requires detailed evaluation, so be patient with these busy experts.

Some documents under review take up to four months before they receive a “decision in process” notification.

Does Decision in Process Mean Desk Rejection?

When your paper has a decision in process status, it does not automatically mean it’s rejected. The associate editor or other editors are still checking your study, its relevance, and the quality of your writing.

Some editors also look for your adherence to major style guides and which journal you match with. The editorial board also performs plagiarism checks and reviews for processing accuracy.

As you see, journal articles do not require a rapid decision. Associate editors and editors-in-chief assess lots of papers regularly, so you need to wait for your turn.

How Long Does Decision in Process Take?

The whole process of manuscript reviewing takes around 4-8 weeks, in my experience. The “decision in process” status means that the editor is finally deciding on whether they will publish your paper or not based on their own review or a peer review.

The “decision in process” only lasts a few days to a week. But when the editor has a lot on their plate, it could take several weeks. The process could get lengthier if they ask the writer to perform several rounds of revision.

Pro Tip: Do not contact the editor or reviewer during the allotted process time. They hate that. Instead, wait until an acceptable amount of time has passed and, if you still haven’t heard anything, follow up.

The “revise” status means that the author needs to make major or minor changes to the paper. If this happens to you, ensure you follow the deadline set by the editor. This deadline is usually a few weeks to a month, depending on the weight of revisions required.

Once you turn the revised paper in, the status becomes “revised manuscript submitted.” Next, wait for the editors to check the format of your research article.

Can an Author Decline to Revise?

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An author can select a link or send an email indicating they do not want to submit a revised version. This also means that the author is choosing to withdraw their paper.

Wait for the editor’s confirmation email before you attempt to submit your work to another journal. Otherwise, your content will be duplicated or simultaneously submitted.


Once the institution has accepted your manuscript, you still need to prepare a few things for publication. If you haven’t hired a professional proofreader and copy editor before, they might ask you to.

Then, you should wait for an invoice regarding the publishing fees. You must settle your account before the journal formatting process. The editorial staff will typeset and proofread your paper, which will then be reviewed again by the management.

Lastly, you will review the changes made by the journal staff. You can request corrections and wait for their approval. Wait a few weeks until your research article is published online.

Decision in Process Elsevier Meaning

“Decision in process” means the same thing in Elsevier. It means that your research paper is undergoing several rounds of review and a peer review process.

Once the review of the manuscript for journal publishing is over, the writer receives the first decision letter. It’s either a paper rejection, acceptance, or request for revisions.

If they ask you to revise the paper, follow the peer review comments and wait for another manuscript review.

Tips to Make Your Manuscript Status Quicker

Follow these tips so you can quickly get your work published. I will say, though, that there is no guarantee these tips will for sure speed anything up. However, they can’t hurt.

Select Your Target Journal Wisely

This process should be done before synthesizing your entire manuscript. Decide which journal you wish to submit before drafting your conclusion and abstract. For instance, look for a journal whose aims and scope will fit your research objectives and findings.

The same is true with crafting the significance of your study. Choose your journal in advance so you can also follow their style guides.

Have a Plan B

Take it from me: always have a backup plan. As you research the best journal, make sure to have backup journals. It would help if you had two to four more journals to which your paper belongs. Avoid journals that might exploit your work for profit and invitations from non-institutional email addresses.

Make a Plan of the Revision

There’s a big chance that your paper will be submitted back to you for revision. I always look at this as an opportunity to really knock their socks off. Make sure to plan as soon as you receive their feedback and comments. If your paper has several authors, schedule a meeting immediately and collaborate.

Organization is key to completing the revision quickly. Make a list of all the edits you need to make and the professional editors you might want to hire. Don’t be scared to contact the editorial office if you need a deadline extension.

Summary of Decision in Process

Both decision in process and decision in progress mean that the associate editor has submitted your paper to the senior editor. They are currently deciding whether your manuscript is fit for publication in their journal or not.

You’ll either get an acceptance, rejection, or a request for edits. No matter the outcome, make sure to give your best effort to write and share your knowledge.