The status message "A review is overdue" shall not be visible to the author

Dear Team;
In OJS3.2.1.1 (also in the previous OJS3 versions), when any reviewer does not respond within the due date, the status message changes to “A review is overdue”. This message is visible to the author as well which should not. Since the workflow was designed to show messages only to those participants who need to act, this message is related to the editor and reviewer and the author does not need to act at this stage hence, the author should not see it.
The overdue message should be visible to the Editors/Reviewers only and the author should continue seeing the status message “Awaiting responses from reviewers”.
Due to this overdue message we receive unnecessary emails from the author asking for the overdue reasons also sometimes they confused that overdue is from their side for submission of revision (which they didn’t get requested).
Kindly look at this status message for better clarity and improvement in future releases.

Thanks and Regards

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We experience the same. I second the feature request by @aabahishti.

Thanks @aabahishti. I agree that we could make the message clearer when it is displayed to the author, so that there is no confusion that we are waiting for the author to do something.

However, I disagree that this shouldn’t be shown to the author. I understand that some journals may not wish to reveal this information to authors. But it’s my opinion that OJS should share more – not less – information with authors about the status of their submission. In future versions we may even expand the information available to the author, such as how many reviewers are assigned, when they are due, and how long they have been overdue.

As an ethical design choice, I think we will always aim to increase transparency in the editorial process wherever possible, while maintaining the need for privacy where appropriate. But we would welcome feedback from journal editorial and managerial staff on this.

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Hi!
I don’t agree to show a single message of overdue to author’s due to multiple reasons and confusions, e.g-

  1. We define reviewing the timeline in author guidelines (e.g. 10 weeks) however, when we invite the reviewer we gave them 1 week to accept reviewing task and 4 weeks to submit reviewing reports. Even a single reviewer didn’t accept the assignment, it starts showing overdue just after one week, although few reviewers accepted and under review. In this scenario, this is not the case of overdue for authors as author guidelines already mentioned approx 10 weeks reviewing time for first decision. Even though the author knows this from guidelines but when see the overdue message they start inquiring about the overdue reason which is a headache.

  2. It often happens that all reviewers do not accept also do not respond in time and hence we need to reserve time to invite another in the case earlier invited reviewer didn’t respond that’s why reviewing timeline information for authors and the actual time is given to the reviewer is always different. eg. for authors, it will require approx 10 weeks but for reviewers, they need to submit in 4 weeks so that if we dint get proper feedback, then can invite other reviewers so that author could get the first decision within the stated timeline.

  3. Similar to reviewers acceptance response, if everyone accepts reviewing task and few didn’t submit a review report within given timeline, its keep showing overdue.

For better transparency and clarity, I suggest the following-

  • Author shall see the status message as Awaiting responses from reviewers.

  • In detailed overview (after clicking on drop-down arrow) where currently it shows how many reviewers assigned/completes, open discussion and revision galley; it can be expanded something like follows-
    Assigned reviewers; 1/6 completed, 1/6 awaiting review, 2/6 review overdue, 1/6 awaiting acceptance, 1/6 declined request.

Above example is the case when we invite 6 reviewers out of which 1 submitted review report, 1 accepted to review but didn’t submit yet (within given timeline), 2 accepted to review however didn’t submit yet and timeline given to the reviewer passed, 1 didn’t accept reviewing request yet, 1 declined to review.
We are really getting many emails about overdue due to unclear message visible to the author.
Thanks & Regards

1 Like

Hi all,

I agree with @aabahishti and second the feature request.

Our Editors wanted us repetedly to disable the “A review is overdue” message for authors, as it often alerts authors unnecessarily, causes unnecessary inquiries etc. In many cases authors cannot properly assess what “A review is overdue” means for the progress of the whole review process. Authors are free to contact editors to get a qualified status update whenever they want (without such an alert message).

A more detailed overwiew as @aabahishti describes might help - but not only for authors. Our Editors ask very insistently for a more detailed overview of review status in the “Submissions” lists (My Queue; Unassigned; All active…), such that they do not have to open every individual submission to get a detailed overview of the review status and to see if they need to take action. (Editors also want to see here if a revision is requested but not yet submitted.) Thus, a more detailed overview for authors should also (and firstly) be enabled for editors in the submissions lists.

Best wishes

Armin

Hi all,

I do agree with @aabahishti and @aguen that authors don’t need to see the “A review is overdue” for the same reaons they mentioned. Also editors need to have a meeting to discuss the reviews and take a decision which can cause delays too and authors shouldn’t be mislead into thinking they will get an editorial decision as soon as a review is submitted.

I also agree on the wish for a more detailed overview on the submissions list for the current status to be displayed in the overview. That would be very helpful.

Kind regards,
Cédric

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Hi all,

I faced a similar problem having to explain to the authors asking about “A review is overdue” status. The suggestions by @aabahishti should be considered. I would also suggest that a new status on “QC assessment” is included when an author submits a manuscript. This QC assessment stage should be maintained until an editor is assigned.

Thank you for bringing this up!
Cheers~
@neuroscirn

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Sorry for the delay in responding. I’m just back from holiday.

Ok, it sounds like there are three problems to address here (all related, but in order to organise our dev resources it helps us to break them down into separate tasks):

  1. The current message, “A review is overdue”, is confusing authors and needs to be removed. I hear what you’re saying and I agree this needs to go for now. I’ve filed this as an issue for us to hopefully tackle in the next major version. See: https://github.com/pkp/pkp-lib/issues/6234

  2. Editors want a better overview of submissions in the review stage so that they can understand better what actions they need to take. This is a longstanding issue for us and you can see some discussion about improving this here: https://github.com/pkp/pkp-lib/issues/4172

  3. When authors are given information about review due dates, or any of the timelines for editorial work, these timelines need to be put into their appropriate context. Authors must be given information about the whole review process, including the additional time it may take to compensate for absent reviewers, consider the recommendations, and reach a joint decision with other editors. This work is a little bit more involved so I’ve filed a separate issue for this at https://github.com/pkp/pkp-lib/issues/6235. You’ll also find an old mockup of some of the ideas I had in the past, which correspond roughly with some of the suggestions you’ve provided about the need to give authors more information if we are telling them about the status of reviews.

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Hi @NateWr ,

Hope you had relaxing holidays!

Thank you for your comments. I see some possible incompatibilities between point 1 (resulting in less (mis)information for authors) and point 3 (resulting in more information for authors). To be honest, I do not think that it makes much sense (for us) to provide authors with more automatically generated status information (as is given in your mockup). I fear that this will result in even more emails to editors, asking for clarification etc. and add even more work on them. Review processes are very diverse, e.g., for some subjects it is much more difficult to find reviewers as for others, there are unforeseen delays etc. I would prefer to give authors a general description of the review process (which can be done already on the public journal website) and same broad time ranges or mean turn-around times. That’s it. Every author is free to contact editors individually if they have status requests. So I am not convinced that even more automatically generated status messages for authors are needed (point 3). I think we would actually prefer to disable such a feature.

Best wishes

Armin

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Thanks @aguen, that’s helpful. In the mockup, I think the description paragraphs (“Your submission has been assigned to…”) could be configurable, similar to the author guidelines. And a journal might have an opportunity to include the information they deemed appropriate. For example, an alternative I’ve considered is to provide average response times (similar to those provided in the editorial stats) to give authors a sense of what to expect.

I’ve added your point to the GitHub issue so that it’s available if/when we are able to move forward on it.