Please read the following question

What all can be understood from more 'Review invitations sent'?

The question received 3 close votes (2 duplicate & 1 community-specific reason) and 2 down votes.

It is not at all a duplicate of another. And I am not aware whether the community-specific reason is apt because I don't know about the notation used by Elsevier. I don't know whether I need to interpret it based on the context of peer-reviewing or as in the general case.

I want to know what are the potential issues with this question to refrain before posting questions on our main site.

The main objections from users I found are

  1. It is a trivial question and not related to academia alone.

How can I know whether it is trivial or not if I am not in to review process and didn't find explicit information regarding it? How safe it is to say that the interpretation of '3+' is the same as in programming or others if I don't know about the review requests etc., You can read one of my comments

If we are uncertain about the number, it is recommended to keep 'n+'. But if the editor sends a review request to a particular(fixed) number of reviewers, then what is the need to tell '>=n' instead of the exact number? So, there might be some information like the review process will be started if at least 'n' reviewers accept and the remaining can be extra or optional!

  1. It is not useful in any way

I did not ask the question because it is useful to me. I am just curious to understand. And I don't think usability is a necessary criterion to ask any question on our main site.

No one provided an exact answer till now. Then how can I convince myself that it is a trivial question or of low standard?

3 Answers 3


First, beware that sometimes votes—whether up or down—are not really indicative of the quality of a question, but more of the preferences of the voters: some are just irritated by certain types of questions, typos, topics etc.

Then, what it is generally suggested in answers and comments about the publication process, and something we should probably add to the canonical answer, is to avoid interpreting or guessing every single detail of what appears in the manuscript status. Every journal has its own internal idiosyncrasies which are totally irrelevant to the authors: sometimes such details are hidden to the authors, sometimes the web interface provides pieces of information which are best ignored because without knowing the actual internal processes they might just lead to anxiety (why is this happening to my manuscript? did I do anything wrong?). What you're asking about falls essentially in this category: whether 3+ means 3, 4 or more is irrelevant to the authors and the actual number depends on the editor handling the submission, something we cannot know. Moreover, this kind of information might vary at every update of the web interface, and questions of this type may quickly become obsolete.

Finally, it can be argued that the answer to your question is in the linked duplicate target:

The editor selects a number of potential referees to review the manuscript. Should a referee decline to review or not perform the review in a certain time (as given by the editor or journal), the editor usually has to select a new referee. The main exception to this is if the other referees already provided sufficient reviews at this point.


As one of the down-voters on this one, a couple things:

  1. It's certainly not a personal judgement directed at the asker, but...
  2. I personally downvoted rather than flagged to close because I'm not entirely positive the question is a duplicate or needed to be closed for another reason, but I do think it's not a great question for the site.

It's just a question that is hard to give a good answer to. As seriously, even if a precise answer to the question asked was available (e.g. "exactly 5 every time"), it's hard to avoid the admittedly subjective judgement that the question misses the forest for the trees as far as the peer review process is concerned. Another way to put this is that the question seems really to need a frame challenge. There's some hesitancy against frame challenges in answers and they take longer to write up for basically the same outcome as downvoting the question, so the down vote seemed better than e.g. waiting or writing a frame-challenge answer.


The question is a duplicate of "How should I interpret a particular submission status?"

The answer says "The editor selects a number of potential referees to review the manuscript." That happens to be the best answer; the editor can select the number.

Questions like this are closed very frequently.

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