What To Do When Your Journal Paper Is Rejected?

Rejection is a Certainty in Academic Journals. Acknowledge your feelings as Normal & Legitimate (Anger, Frustration, Disappointment, Worry). Remember it is the end of your paper not for your research or career.

Reasons for Rejection of Journal Paper

  • Plagiarism– Should be less than 10%
  • Ethics in Publication– Should acknowledge proper sources of support, permission to use data, images
  • The theme of the Journal– Should fall within the Aim & Scope of the Journal
  • Paper is under review at another journal – a single revision process must be done
  • Usage of Poor English– Avoid Grammar or spelling errors
  • Journal Formatting Guidelines– Types of Font, Font Size, Margins, Reference & Styles

 

Technical Reasons

  • Poor Validation– Results will be compared with the Standard Results. Carry out Experimental Analysis
  • Wrong Research Methodology
  • Inconclusive Results – Questions are unanswered
  • Lack of Proper Citations

 

What are the various Criteria in Journal Rejection?

There are multiple criteria checked by individual journals.

  • Always approach a journal that publishes your line of work.
  • A good paper published in the wrong journal leads to rejection.
  • Once you have chosen the appropriate journal, check whether you have chosen a strong problem statement in your article. The objective of your research must be identifiable in the Abstract and must be concluded in your work.
  • Your research and its conclusion must be backed up with scientific experiments.
  • Always use the correct statistical method for analysis and mention the methods in detail.
  • Never edit any real-time images which leads to plagiarism.
  • Cross-check images, graphs, tabulations.
  • Your presentation must be simple and easily understandable.
  • Proofread your manuscript to avoid grammatical errors.
  • Always have sufficient data and test samples to establish & support each statement that you claim in the article. If the data size is small, there is always bias in the results which leads to rejection.
  • The conclusion can be generalized only when there is sufficient sampling done.
  • Carefully scrutinize your article and take expert opinions before submitting the research for publishing.
  • Search for a High-Impact Journal.
  • The cover letter must clearly state the details & purpose.
  • If the research quality does not meet the standards of the scientific society, the research will be rejected.
  • The Published Work must apply to all scenarios, if it is for a special purpose, it must be explicitly mentioned in the aim of the work applies to certain scenarios.
  • Insufficient Citation also leads to rejection.
  • The Scientific manuscript must have a catchy aim and a novel technique that attracts viewers.

 

How to Respond after Rejection of Journal Paper?

  • Show the comments to others.
  • Read the comments carefully.
  • Figure out the underlying reasons for Rejection.
  • Re-evaluate and learn.

 

Conclusion

There is nothing to be ashamed of if your paper is rejected. It is a basic process in Journal Publication and not to take it personally. If rejected, do the following things

  • Do something else to distract yourself & most importantly sleep on it one night.
  • Give yourself 3 days’ time and analyze the Rejection Letter more logically.
  • Consider the other Options
  • Proceed with the next Journal Publication

DEALING WITH MANUSCRIPT REJECTION

Getting a rejection letter from a journal is one of the most disconcerting experiences for any author. Statistical evidence suggests all authors including the most experienced ones face rejection even at matured stages of their careers. There is evidence that a rejection from one journal is not the end of the road for the author or even for that particular manuscript. However, there is no denying the fact that a rejection letter hurts a lot. So, how does one deal with it?

Take a step back: Accepting rejection is particularly hard at the beginning of one’s career. You may look back on all the effort put into writing, editing, and formatting the paper and consider all that as a complete waste of time. However, these are initial reactions that are normal and hence allow them to phase out. Once you have read the review, put it away for several days. What seems shocking and rude on the first day starts to look more manageable by the third day. Getting some distance on the comments is useful for the next steps.

Understand why it was rejected: the review letter will have clear answers to your primary question; why was it rejected? Read the letter objectively once you get over the shock.  Poor language is an extremely common reason for manuscript rejection along with formatting issues. Many journal editors reject an article at the initial stage because of other factors such as multiple articles on similar lines or topics etc. If your manuscript was sent for peer review, it means the set of challenges are quite different. Read the review comments carefully and try to understand where exactly the challenge lies: methodology, main argument, presentation of academic evidence, a lacuna in rigor. A ‘revise and submit’ may be as bad as a rejection but it also leaves enough scope to work on for the next round.

What to do next? Contrary to initial feeling, you actually have multiple options before you: (1) abandon the paper, (2) send the paper without a single change to another journal, (3) revise the manuscript and send it to another journal, or (4) protest or appeal the decision and try to resubmit the paper to the rejecting journal. While the initial reaction may be towards options (1) and (4), it is really the options (2) and (3) that makes more sense. However, all four options are equally valid and what you decide to do must be based on sound reasoning.

Conclusion

Even though it may sound ironic, it is better to be prepared for rejection even at the time of drafting the manuscript for journal publication. Some prepare to send it to multiple journals from the onset. Some look forward to peer-review under rejection only to polish the manuscript for a better journal. Many authors have experience of the same paper being rejected multiple times before it was finally published. Rejection is just another stepping-stone for an academic career.

Causes for Manuscript Rejection Before Peer Review Analysis

After a paper is submitted to a journal, it generally goes in for peer review analysis. But there are instances when the paper is rejected even before it reaches the peer review stage. This happens because the paper does not conform to the scope or the technical specifications of the concerned journal, and is therefore unilaterally rejected by the editor. In most high impact factor journals, about 5% of the submitted papers are accepted. It is very important to understand and analyse the possible reasons for rejection, so as to avoid any such issues in the future.

For more information please visit: https://www.pubmanu.com/manuscript-rejection-peer-review-analysis/

Manuscript Rejection Before Peer Review Analysis: Issues and Solutions

After a paper is submitted to a journal, it generally goes in for peer review analysis. But there are instances when the paper is rejected even before it reaches the peer review stage. This happens because the paper does not conform to the scope or the technical specifications of the concerned journal, and is therefore unilaterally rejected by the editor. In most high impact factor journals, about 5% of the submitted papers are accepted. It is very important to understand and analyse the possible reasons for rejection, so as to avoid any such issues in the future.

How to resurrect a rejected manuscript?

Rejection of your research paper by a journal does not necessarily imply that your research is fundamentally unsuitable for publication. This is because rejection depends on several factors that might not be solely linked to the main thrust of your research. Besides, the reviewers who evaluate your paper are not familiar with your credentials and therefore might not emphasize the positive factors in your paper. Therefore, it is important that you do not get disheartened or overly disappointed. With certain modifications and perseverance, it is definitely possible to resurrect your research and see it through to publication.

In fact, there are several positive takeaways from a rejection. The well-known chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie carried out a systematic study of the rejection procedure and concluded that most manuscripts do not go through large-scale modifications on their way from a rejection to eventual publication. Therefore, a rejection does not signify that your paper is beyond redemption. In fact, there is every chance that the paper will ultimately find its destined forum for publication.

On the other hand, a study by Vincent Calcagno, ecologist at the French Institute for Agricultural Research in Sophia-Antipolis, has concluded that a research paper goes through several iterations and modifications from the time of its first submission until its final acceptance. These changes contribute significantly to the improvement of the research. The study also observed that research papers that have gone through one or more rejections before publication tend to be cited more than those that have been published following their first submission. This trend is evident after about three to six years following publication.

Calcagno argues that the influence of peer reviews and the inputs from referees and editors makes papers better and each rejection improves the quality of the manuscript from the last attempt. There is also a theory among certain editors to “reject more, because more rejections improve quality.”

Therefore, instead of giving in to despair, it is important to patiently evaluate the reasons for rejection and the associated comments, and to act on them in future submissions of the paper. You can also take recourse to professional editing services to refine your manuscript and help in the submission of the paper to other journals.

The following are some guidelines for first-time writers in making their papers more acceptable:

  • Select an innovative and interesting research topic.
  • Ensure that your writing is well-organized and lucid as it flows from its aim to the conclusion through the methodology, results, and discussion sections.
  • Stay away from plagiarized text and ensure that your research is original and unpublished.
  • Select the most suitable journal that has a good scope for your research topic.
  • Follow the reviewer’s suggestions on your paper in case of a rejection, so that it is in better shape for the next submission.

In case the reviewers cite the reason of unsuitability of your research for the target journal, it is important to prepare and resubmit it to another more suitable journal. If it gets rejected again, keep working on your paper and make repeated attempts at submission until it gets accepted. After all, patience and perseverance are two important virtues of any writer. As the well-known 19th-century American writer Elbert Hubbard said, “A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.”

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.