Review outcomes

When having reviewed a manuscript, the reviewer is often requested to provide the editorial office with a summary recommendation of the manuscript. The alternatives are usually

  • accept
  • minor revision
  • major revision
  • reject and resubmit
  • reject

The exact alternatives and definitions of the alternatives differ between editorial offices, but the recommendations accept and reject are generally unambiguous.

Of the remaining alternatives, a minor revision usually means clarifications, correction of language, terminology or definitions, but the changes are not expected to have any substantial effect on the contents of the manuscript. A major revision could include a statistical reanalysis or other changes that potentially render the manuscript substantially different, for example with a new aim or other conclusions. Major, but not necessarily minor, revisions are usually re-reviewed by the original reviewer.

Some journals only accept a limited number of major revisions. The alternative to reject and resubmit can then be used to reset the review procedure and start from scratch.

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