How to Bounce Back From Manuscript Rejection

Manuscript rejection comes as a setback for aspirants research scholars and marks as a hurdle to accomplish higher education or promotion in their respective fields. This is a more heart-wrenching situation in the case of young researchers who have attached high expectations from their work or heading towards the “1st published work” of their academic career.

However, one should take manuscript rejection as a stepping stone towards success and with an optimistic attitude should bounce back with the clarity of vision in terms of the steps to be accomplished for successful publication.

  • Let’s have a look at few tips to overcome rejection:

Understanding the type of rejection: Have a thorough look at the communication to assimilate the logic behind the rejection. It implies ascertaining whether it was 1st stage rejection from the editor’s table itself or was done in later stages. Rejection at the early stage implicates poor English language usage, lack of clarity with respect to content, failure to implement author guidelines, and reference formatting errors. All these aspects of rejection can be easily solved with some assistance and the manuscript can be resubmitted.

  • Non-alignment with the journal: The article is rejected as they don’t match the aims and focus of the journal. In such a case opting for other journals should be useful. Some journals mention as “insignificant advancement to current knowledge” means that the article is not adding extra information to the existing database. This needs the author’s clear retrospection and improvisation to get the content published.


  • Reviewer comment: It is a piece of advice in order to address the pitfalls or gaps in the understanding of the manuscript. You can write a detailed response or execute the needed experiments ( if any)to supplement the manuscript with the needed insight.

The technicality of the Manuscript: Error in data collection and method writing, copying with other’s work( text or data), improper heading which affects the flow of paper, ambiguity in hypothesis formation or its implementation in text. Revision in gross scale is needed to address the above mentioned and still, the chances of successful acceptance are low.

  • New journal submission: Rejection often brings emotional turmoil. New submission involves the entire set of preparation all again and seems to be very hectic. Therefore, such a situation should be taken in a practical mindset and in the light of the present situation.


  • Language and content editing services: Once the author is clear about the reason for rejection then he should bounce back with full force and try taking the help of service providers to speed up the submission process all over again. It not only helps the author to address the pitfall of the manuscript but also gives a feel-good factor of not being alone in the journey to publish his hard accomplished work. Clear planning at the end of the author combined with the assistance of editing services certainly promises for in-time article publication.


Conclusion: Clarity of vision, the thriving force to publish and the selection of write assistance can go long way to realize the dream of getting his hard accomplished work published.


A journal rejecting a submission is an unfortunate reality in the life of an academician. This is especially true for young scholars who rightly feel dejected given the hard work and high expectations hinged in their submissions.

However, a journal rejection is not the end of the world and there are still various options before a young scholar, depending on the exact type of rejection. Here are some quick tips on how to react to a journal rejection.

What type of rejection: Read the communication carefully to understand what type or stage of rejection has been made by the journal. In some cases, rejections are desk rejections, where the editors reject an article in the first stage of sorting. This may be due to poorly written or structured articles, failure to follow formatting instructions of the journals, lack of proper English, improper referencing, etc. These can be easily rectified and you can share it back after revision with the same journal.

Poor fit with the journal: Often journals reject articles because it does not fit their exact focus area or the interests of its readership. In such cases, you may either try to rework the research paper, but perhaps it makes more sense to try some other journal perhaps better suited for your research paper. Sometimes, journals also suggest ‘insignificant advancement to current knowledge’ as a reason, which basically means your article is not adding much value to the present discourse. This is where you have to think about how to improve upon your work to make it more relevant.

Reviewer Comments: Reviewers often share detailed comments and suggest resubmission post revision. This is not a total rejection but an ask to improve upon your paper. You can revise your research paper and resubmit it with a detailed response to the review comments.

Technical issues: Sometimes journals reject submissions because of technical factors. There may be complaints of plagiarism, insufficient data work, reviewers finding flaws with the methodology or data collection, challenges to the hypothesis, etc. For plagiarism, often unintentional due to improper referencing, it is best to engage professional editorial help for a plagiarism proof manuscript.

Critiques of data work, methodology, etc are serious concerns that require not just a relook at the research paper but the entire research exercise. In such a case, you may either choose to revisit your entire work, or you may choose to share a revised version with some other journal, as the one who has rejected it on these grounds is unlikely to entertain even a revised version.

Change journals: This is always an option, often a tempting one, especially an emotional one in wake of rejection. except for some specific reasons, trying to resubmit to a new journal means only going through the entire submission process all over again. This means delays as well as extra work. Therefore, such a decision, if taken, must be done judiciously considering all factors of rejection.

Importance of pre-submission peer review

As the name suggests, pre-submission peer review refers to the review of your research paper before submitting it to a journal. Here, a peer other than the co-authors reviews the paper. This review enhances the quality of the research paper and reduces the load on the peer review system of journals. In other words, this process is a win-win solution for both the authors and the journals.

The below points highlights the importance of pre-submission peer review in the publishing process:

– This process improves your paper by filling in the gaps or fixing errors that might have been previously overlooked.

– It makes your paper more readable and hence, increases the readership of your paper and that of the journal.

– This process gives you the option to choose the person to review your paper, ensuring you get constructive comments from people who know the topic.

– It gives you important feedback from experts in your field of research. Thus, this not only improves your paper but also helps you to make significant contributions to the literature.

However, whether this pre-submission peer review should be implemented or not is still debatable. With increasing workloads and academic pressure, authors often do not feel like wasting time on pre-submission feedback. In addition, they are also reluctant to ask colleagues to do extra work, given that they are always pressed for time. Moreover, with the increasing number of co-authors on scientific papers, most authors do not seek additional external feedback.

But, by adopting pre-submission peer review as an integral part of the publication process, one can substantially reduce the burden on the journal peer review system. Moreover, this also reduces the risk of publishing flawed ideas or inaccurate analyses. peer review

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