[OJS-3.2] change of editorial decision is handled inconsistently (or at least confusing) by OJS


While testing the updated workflow in OJS-3.2, I noticed how editorial decisions now are being displayed more clearly, as well as the option to change them afterwards. I think this is an improvement over OJS-3.1.


There seem to be inconsistencies, however, when an editorial decision is being reverted. I’ve tested with an article that had been marked with “Accept Submission”, which initiates the Copyediting stage.

If that decision later on is reverted to “Request Revisions”, this updated status is shown at following places:

  1. The “Activity Log” is displaying a correct record of the subsequent editorial decisions
  2. In the “Review” tab, the latest review round correctly states that “Revisions have been requested”.

Yet… in the right hand column on that same page, the revision status is still displayed as “Submission accepted”, which seems contradictory with both the status displayed for the latest review round, and the record in the “Activity Log”.

What’s more: after the “Accept Submission” decision has been reverted (which IMO should send the article back to the Review stage), the “Copyediting” stage remains active, and is the default landing page when accessing this article in the OJS interface.

This still seems highly confusing, not only because contradictory information is being displayed, but mostly because the updated editorial decision doesn’t seem to have any effect on the workflow status of an article.

Is this intended behaviour of OJS, or is there room for improvement here?



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I think it is intended behaviour and there is room for improvement. :joy: I took a look back at the original issue which prompted the change. It looks like the intent was to better indicate when a decision has already been made – particularly to better show when a submission has been declined or accepted.

There wasn’t really any consideration for re-opening a stage. And although you could always make an accept decision and then add a request revisions decision afterwards, our workflow never supported things like moving a submission back into the review stage after it had been moved on.

It probably should. I’ve filed a feature request in our development repository and you can follow that to see when any progress is made on this.

Thanks for following up and creating an issue, @NateWr! From my low-level point of view as OJS user, switching workflow stages when an editorial decision has been changed seems logical. I’m aware that bigger issues and considerations may be at play (for example, what should happen when an editorial decision is changed from “accept submission” to “revisions required”, if meanwhile work had been done already in the copyediting stage), but thanks for considering, that issue is on my radar!

In the short run, confusion could be reduced, IMO, if the indication of the editorial decision (the part marked red in my initial post) would be updated after that decision has been changed.



Hi all,

this issue is something I came across today as well. I, too, was disappointed that the use of ‘revert decision’ does not set the submission back to review stage completely. So, I had to make do with what OJS ( offered and ignore that it opens the submission in copyediting stage, does not provide the decision buttons when I go back to the review stage by hand and still has the blue ‘copyediting’ button in the submission list.
However, as soon as I enlisted a new reviewer and she accepted the review invitation, everything looks as it should when in review stage. The button is now an orange ‘in review’ button in the submission list, the submission opens automatically in review stage and the decision buttons are back. Minor issue is, that I could not open a second review round but had to do this in the first round.


@NateWr: just flagging this for your attention, as you were part of this discussion previously and may wish to discuss in relation to changes in 3.3 (or future forthcoming changes).

PKP Team

Hi @NateWr and @heike_riegler ,
As the editor of two medical journals, I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to automatically move the article to the review step when an editorial decision is revoked.

The editor may have mistakenly saved the decision as “accept” or “reject”, but revoking it does not need to invalidate the review steps. IMHO, If there is a problem with the review step, this should be considered as a different issue. The editorial workflow and decision should not be considered as “automatic software steps” that could easily be reversed.
update: Actually, we wouldn’t discuss much about that if there was an intermediate step such as “Ready for Editorial Decision”. Although it is not an important requirement, some other journal systems have implemented it.
Screen Shot 2021-05-07 at 21.17.45

Hi @heike_riegler and @drugurkocak, I would need to look into this further. But at first glance it might be difficult because not all editorial decisions result in a change to the stage. We would need to have a map that identified which reverted decisions lead to which stages.