We commonly redirect questions such as "Manuscript status changed from Review in progress to Ready for review" to "What does the typical workflow of a journal look like". However they are not similar in essence at all. At best, the answer in the community question is only tangentially related; it doesn't say anything about status changes for example. This question is by no means unique either; see all the questions that are already linked to the community question.

Redirecting everything to the "typical workflow" question is similar to redirecting "How to nail a Ph.D. interview?" to "How does the admissions process work for Ph.D. programs in the US, particularly for weak or borderline students?", country tag notwithstanding. Admissions processes in different countries is probably no less different than journal workflows in different journals + fields.

Are the redirects overdone?

2 Answers 2


Would you rather them be closed as too specific and go ask the journal? If the answer depends on the specific journal, it is not a good question for us. If it is more of a general question, then the canonical question provides the answer. If there is something missing from the answer on the canonical question, let's fix that.

  • Why wouldn't what you wrote apply to the admissions process too then? Take the "how to nail a PhD interview" question - why can't we redirect that to the canonical one?
    – Allure
    Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 12:01
  • @Allure The differences among admission processes are much larger than those among journal workflows. Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 12:05
  • @Allure if you want to add an interview section to the admissions question, I would say linking it makes sense. We just don't get too many questions about PhD interviews.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 12:08
  • @MassimoOrtolano I'm not convinced - there're plenty of books on how to deal with graduate admissions, and those deal with the process as a whole not just a single country / university. If it's possible to treat the process as a whole, it's also (arguably) possible to answer everything in the canonical question.
    – Allure
    Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 23:28
  • @StrongBad the canonical question already has an interview section actually, it's just blank right now.
    – Allure
    Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 23:28
  • 1
    @Allure I haven't read any of those books, but I very doubt that they can have a general validity. Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 6:28
  • @Allure Were you talking about this question when you said the section is blank right now? I am curious about how common is PhD interview given that Skype is popular in these days. Job interview is one of the main topics on Workplace SE.
    – Nobody
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 12:49

I would categorise “What is happening to my paper” questions as follows:

  • Questions which are directly answered by the canonical Q&A¹. These should clearly be closed as duplicate.

  • Questions where the asker tells us little about what happened and what they already know. Your example question is typical for this category and leaves us with the following questions:

    • Did another instance of ready for review precede review in progress?
    • Is the asker aware of how the peer-review process generally work?
    • Did the asker already make the guess that the peer reviews did not happen or were disatisfactory and either excluded that option or just wants a third opinion?

    Voting to close or closing such a question as duplicate of the canonical Q&A¹ prompts the asker to clarify why their question is not answered by the canonical Q&A. If it isn’t, this will ideally allow the asker to clarify all of the above and leave an interesting question, where we do not need to reiterate the typical workflow – something we did again and again before we had the canonical Q&A.

  • Questions where the asker makes clear why the canonical Q&A¹ does not answer the question, but which can be answered by a slight addition to the canonical Q&A, usually by adding some name used for some stage in the process. In that case, there are two options:

    • Answer the new question and perform the respective edit to the canonical Q&A, linking back to the new question.
    • Close the new question as duplicate, perform the respective edit to the canonical Q&A, and leave a comment that it is now addressed.

    In most cases I would lean to the latter option, but if the answer was difficult to obtain, I would clearly prefer the former one.

  • Questions which do not fall within the canonical Q&A’s scope, e.g., questions about an atypical case. These should be left open.

My impression is that we mostly get the second kind. However, I also observed users voting to close questions of the fourth kind as duplicate of the canonical Q&A.

Some sidenotes:

  • [the community question] doesn't say anything about status changes for example.

    I beg to disagree. There is an extensive diagram how statuses change into each other and text explaining how and when this can happen.

  • If you ask me, the main problem with How to nail a Ph.D. interview? is that it is too broad. Interestingly, nobody voted to close as such yet.

¹ What does the typical workflow of a journal look like?

  • The statuses in the canonical question don't deal with "reviewer in progress" into "ready for review" however. I also notice that once a question is closed it's seldom reopened.
    – Allure
    Commented Jul 22, 2018 at 23:31
  • @Allure As one of the active participants on this site, I observe that closed questions rarely get re-opened because the high rep users are seldom to review the re-open queue. Thanks.
    – Nobody
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 4:02
  • @Allure For example, as you can see in academia.stackexchange.com/review/reopen/64754 , there was not enough re-open votes in time, the re-open votes expired, therefore it stays closed although I think it should not be closed. What a pity! Did you do Re-open Review lately?
    – Nobody
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 4:36
  • @Anyon: Fixed. Thanks for spotting.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 5:32

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