What is the difference between in review and under review?

Answered by Willie Powers

When it comes to the difference between “in review” and “under review,” it’s important to note that these terms are often used in the context of manuscript submission to academic journals. While both phrases suggest that your manuscript is being evaluated by reviewers, there is a subtle distinction between them.

Typically, “under review” indicates that the journal editor has received your manuscript and is in the process of finding appropriate reviewers. At this stage, the editor is likely checking the manuscript for basic requirements such as adherence to submission guidelines, formatting, and ethical considerations. Once the editor has identified potential reviewers and sent out invitations, your manuscript will transition to the “in review” phase.

“In review” signifies that the reviewers have accepted the invitation and are actively assessing your manuscript. During this period, the reviewers will thoroughly evaluate the content, methodology, results, and overall contribution of your work to the scientific community. They will critically analyze your research, identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide constructive feedback to help you enhance the quality of your manuscript.

The length of time spent in each phase can vary widely depending on the journal’s editorial process, the availability and responsiveness of reviewers, and other factors. Sometimes, manuscripts may remain “under review” for a considerable period before transitioning to the “in review” stage. In some cases, the status may change directly from “under review” to a decision, bypassing the “in review” phase.

To get a better understanding of where your manuscript stands, it is always advisable to contact the journal editor for an update. Politely inquire about the progress of your submission and ask for an estimated timeline for a decision. Editors understand the importance of timely communication and are generally responsive to such queries.

While “in review” suggests that the review process has commenced, “under review” indicates that the initial evaluation and reviewer selection are still in progress. It’s always best to reach out to the journal editor for an update on the status of your manuscript to get a more accurate understanding of its progress.