Why journal articles face rejection?

When a manuscript is submitted to a journal, it undergoes a thorough quality check under the peer review process before being sent to the chief editor. Most articles face rejection during this process. There are several reasons for this.

1. The article is beyond the scope of the journal

Your article can be immediately rejected if it is not appropriate for the journal’s readership and does not meet the journal’s aims and scope. Besides, it is also likely to be rejected by the editorial board if it does not match the specified journal format. For example, if a review article is submitted to a journal that does not have the scope for publication of such articles, the editorial board is likely to reject the paper summarily.

2. The paper lacks key elements

The paper is unlikely to be approved if it is incomplete and lacks any important information, such as author’s affiliations, e-mail address, keywords, figures and tables, in-text citation of figures and tables, references, a proper structure, etc.

Lack of novelty and originality in the paper or suspicion of plagiarized information can also lead to an almost instantaneous rejection. Incomprehensible articles that show poor language skills of the author are also not acceptable.

3. The paper failed the technical screening process

If you have submitted your paper to more than one journal simultaneously, a particular journal might consider it unethical. Consequently, the paper is likely to fail the technical screening process. Even papers that do not meet the technical standards of the preferred journals are also rejected in the screening process. For example, a paper might be rejected for non-compliance with certain points in the submission checklist.

4. The paper is conceptually weak

While conceptualizing the paper, the author might fail to resolve certain fundamental problems that could result in unoriginal or impractical results. These problems include flaws in the study design, incomplete data analysis, use of an inappropriate method for statistical analysis or a poorly formulated research question. These basic defects might lead to rejection of the paper.

5. The paper is not well prepared for the journal

A paper is liable to be rejected if it is not formatted according to the journal guidelines. Disregarding such guidelines might result in excessive use of jargons, deviation from the focus of the journal, improper formatting of figures and tables, poor organization of contents, inadequate description of the methodology, poor writing standards, complex and convoluted sentences, and frequent grammatical errors. These factors will have a negative impact on the reviewers and will probably contribute to a rejection.

6. The journal is overloaded with submissions

Sometimes, a journal receives a flood of submissions within a short period. This restricts the available space to include papers in several forthcoming issues. Consequently, rejection is inevitable for many submissions, including some high-quality manuscripts. Conversely, a journal might receive several papers on the same or related topic. In such a situation, the journal will be forced to cherry pick and might return some well-conceptualized papers in the process.

7. Journals have their decision-making policy

Rejection of the paper also depends on a journal’s decision-making policy, which varies from journal to journal. Some journals forward the paper for a second screening if they are unsure about the quality of the manuscript. On the other hand, editors of certain journals aim to publish papers that are related to current research topics and their acceptance rate is directly proportional to the number of articles received in this genre.

As evident, there is a gamut of reasons for the rejection of a paper and the author needs to take cognizance of these facts for a better understanding of the rejection process. The author needs to keep in mind that the quality of a paper is not the sole reason for rejection; several other reasons can also contribute to the rejection of a submitted paper.

Mind Mapping

What is Mind Mapping ?

Mind mapping is similar to brainstorming but more visual and less linear. Create mind maps by:

  • Starting with a word or image central to your topic.
  • Placing it in the middle of a big sheet of paper and drawing a line radiating out from it to a major subdivision of the topic.
  • Circling that subdivision, and drawing a line radiating out from it to a more specific subdivision.
  • Continue the process until you run out of ideas.

Mind mapping is especially useful to those who find it easier to assimilate and understand schematic information than linear or sentence-based reasoning.

Academic Style of Writing

When writing, you should use a formal, academic style. Academic writing does not have to be elaborate or complicated. A well-structured, straightforward paper is more easily understood and your ideas better appreciated than one filled with complicated sentences and words.

Strong academic writing must

  •  Be well-organized, with ideas presented in a logical order;
  •  Present objective analysis that is critical without being too negative or positive;
  •  Use clear language that is simple without being basic;
  •  Avoid emotional language.

Every field has its style of writing. The best way to become familiar with the style used in your field is to read and note how effective authors write.


Critic = a person who writes reviews of new books, film etc.: ‘She was theater critic for the New Yorker.’  Review = a short article, book, speech etc., which carefully explains the weakness of a theory, policy, philosophy etc. (appraise critically): ‘The speech was a devastating critique of Regan’s economic policy.’


(1) When talking about a skill or general ability in past, use could or be able to: ‘By the time she was four, she could/was able to swim in the whole the pool.’ (2) Used to politely ask for permission to do something: ‘Could I have the address please?’

When talking about a single event in the past, we usually use be able to or manage (NOT could): ‘Luckily, we managed to get there before the shops closed.’ ‘Were you able to start the car?’