• Manuscript Status

Q: Why my scholarone submission has both Awaiting Second Opinion and Awaiting Reviewer Selection as status?

Asked on 19 Aug, 2021

Thank you for your question.   

Having two statuses for a single manuscript is uncommon. However, we have explained the statuses below:

Awaiting Second Opinion : This means that the associate Editor (AE) has had a look at your manuscript and has made a tentative decision on it. They’ve also referred the manuscript to the Managing Editors (ME) and to the peer reviewers to get a second opinion.

Awaiting Reviewer Selection : This is ideally the first stage of the peer review process where the assigned Editor will select some suitable experts to invite to review your manuscript.

Perhaps, if this continues for some time without changing, you may want to consider writing to the journal editor seeking clarity.

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Answered by Editage Insights on 17 Sep, 2021

awaiting screener assignment bmj

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Opening up BMJ peer review

The BMJ has until now used a closed system of peer review, where the authors do not know who has reviewed their papers. The reviewers do, however, know the names of the authors. Most medical journals use the same system, but it’s based on custom not evidence. Now we plan to let authors know the identity of reviewers. Soon we are likely to open up the whole system so that anybody interested can see the whole process on the world wide web. The change is based on evidence and an ethical argument.

Peer review is at the heart of the scientific process yet was until recently largely unexamined. Now we begin to have a body of evidence on peer review ( www.wame.org ), and it illustrates many defects. Peer review is slow, expensive, profligate of academic time, highly subjective, prone to bias, easily abused, poor at detecting gross defects, and almost useless for detecting fraud. Evidence to support all these statements can be found in a book by Stephen Lock, my predecessor as editor of the BMJ , 1 three special issues of JAMA , 2 – 4 and a forthcoming book. 5 The benefits of peer review are harder to pin down, but it is probably more useful for improving what is eventually published than for sorting the wheat from the chaff. 6

Those researching peer review have tried to find better methods, and one of the first randomised controlled trials suggested that blinding reviewers to the identity of authors would lead to better opinions. 7 Two bigger trials—one that included many journals 8 and one from the BMJ 9 —both failed, however, to find any benefit. 10 This led to the idea that open peer review might be a better option, and we publish today a randomised controlled trial of open peer review conducted at the BMJ . 11 It found that open peer review does not lead to higher quality opinions, but nor does it lead to poorer quality ones, so we are introducing open review—for largely ethical reasons.

The arguments for and against open peer review were explored in depth five years ago in Cardiovascular Research . 12 , 13 Of six editors asked to contribute commentaries all were for more research, none was against open peer review, and three, including Stephen Lock (my predecessor), declared themselves in favour. 13 Science is progressively moving away from anonymity. Anonymous editorials in scientific journals were common a decade ago; now they look anachronistic.

The primary argument against closed peer review is that it seems wrong for somebody making an important judgment on the work of others to do so in secret. A court with an unidentified judge makes us think immediately of totalitarian states and the world of Franz Kafka. A related argument is, in the words of Drummond Rennie (deputy editor of JAMA ), that identifying the reviewer links “privilege and duty, by reminding the reviewer that with power comes responsibility: that the scientist invested with the mantle of the judge cannot be arbitrary in his or her judgment and must be a constructive critic.” All editors have seen curt, abusive, destructive reviews and assumed that the reviewer would not have written in that way if he or she were identifiable. Openness also links accountability with credit. One important defect of closed review is that reviewers don’t receive academic credit. Finally, openness should eliminate some of the worst abuses of peer review, where reviewers—under the cloak of anonymity—steal ideas or procrastinate.

The main argument against open peer review—a sad one—is that junior reviewers will be reluctant to criticise the work of senior researchers for fear of reprisals. This fear is particularly acute for researchers whose livelihoods depend on winning grants. Junior reviewers, those under 40, have time and again been shown to give the best opinions. 14 By moving to open review we may thus be ruling out the best reviewers. We recognise these arguments, but we don’t think that they outweigh the arguments for open review; in particular, BMJ authors seem broadly in favour of open peer review. 11 A few reviewers have said that they don’t want to review if they will be identified, and anyone can decline to review a particular paper. Nevertheless, we hope our small move will contribute to a broader culture change so that junior researchers cease to fear reprisals from senior ones.

From this week, for all new papers that we review, the BMJ will identify to authors the names of those who have reviewed their papers, including the names of our in house editorial and statistical advisers. But we expect to go further, researching as we go. Soon we will probably start to list reviewers at the end of articles. Then we may move to a system where authors and readers can watch the peer review system on the world wide web as it happens and contribute their comments. Peer review will become increasingly a scientific discourse rather than a summary judgment. Through such openness we will hope to show that peer review by journals does add value to the scientific process and that we will thus have a place in an electronic world where authors can potentially go straight to readers.

Papers p  23 , Education and debate p  44

awaiting screener assignment bmj

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What does "Awaiting Reviewer Scores" mean within the context of a ScholarOne submission system?

I submitted a paper to a Taylor and Francis journal that uses the ScholarOne submission system. The manuscript status has changed from "Under Review" to "Awaiting Reviewer Scores".

What does this change mean? What is the flow chart of the different statuses for a manuscript?

Jeromy Anglim's user avatar

6 Answers 6

With a typical ScholarOne configuration, "Awaiting Reviewer Scores" means that it is actually out with (at least some) reviewers, while "Under Review" would instead mean the previous stage, where it is being considered by the handling editor(s) and might still be rejected without review.

After the review scores come back, a manuscript then returns to the handling editor for a recommendation, and thence up to the chief editor(s) for a decision.

jakebeal's user avatar

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None of the answers above are accurate at least in my scenario. I had a revision decision, and after I submitted the revision, the status went to "Under review", and after about 4 weeks, it has now changed to "Awaiting reviewer scores". In this case, the reviewers were already lined up to get the revision, and so it doesn't make sense for "awaiting reviewer scores" to just mean that the reviewing is in progress -- in fact, it's "under review" that means that, and it doesn't make sense for "under review" to mean pre-screening. What the "awaiting reviewer scores" most plausibly means here is that the reviews are now due! 4 weeks is also the time I'd expect the AE to allot for the reviewers (from past experience), and so the timing is right for the status to change from "Under review" to "Awaiting reviewer scores" - so it just means some reviewers haven't yet submitted it and the reviews are either due or overdue. This explanation also makes sense if you just look at the English of the status "Under review" and "Awaiting reviewer scores" -- the scores aren't awaited unless it's due! It's probably why they chose this language for the status message. In addition, for all my submissions in the past, the "Under review" status has always meant that the paper was actually with the reviewers as opposed to with the AE waiting for the assignment; papers have been in the "Under review" status for me for several months after which they change to "Awaiting AE recommendation". So it makes no sense that "Under review" means pre-screening (as suggested by one of the comments) - it may be different for different journals but I doubt that is the case for any journal.

nineth's user avatar

"Awaiting Reviewer Scores" means that the paper has been assigned the minimum amount of reviewers that the Associate Editor has set for the manuscript. The minimum would be either two or three depending on the publication but the associate editor might have sent a few more invitations around. "Under Review" means that reviewers have been selected and invitations have been sent out but some of them have not responded yet or some of them have rejected the invitation and the editorial board is still looking for reviewers.

I also think that it is up to the specific settings of each journal to show the different status of the review process. In some you can see "Under Review", "Awaiting Associate Editor Recommendation", "Awaiting EIC decision" etc but in others you just see "Under review" for the whole process.

o4tlulz's user avatar

Yes, Indeed mine is undergoing the same process as we speak. under review basically means that your manuscript is still with the handling editor and is being reviewed if instructions were followed, thus fit enough to be sent to blind reviewers. Awaiting reviewer score, it has been sent out to selected reviewers and is still awaiting for their scores (comments).

user32537's user avatar

Awaiting reviewers scores simply mean the article is with the reviewers and the journal office is waiting for the comments.

Under review also can mean that the article is being considered by the science editor for technical and English language check or it is with the subject editor and he is evaluating it for external review, or the article is with the reviewer for evaluation.

So, the former (Awaiting reviewers scores) is a direct statement that the article is with the reviewers.

user41177's user avatar

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    Awaiting Screener Assignment: This typically means that the editor has not been able to find the requisite number of reviewers and is still

  2. Why my scholarone submission has both Awaiting Second Opinion

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  3. The publishable paper How does the BMJ decide?

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