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How do you feel if your paper is rejected?

  1. Jul 30, 2008 #1
    Recently one of my papers was rejected from a journal. I expected the referee would ask for some changes and additions, but instead it was rejected. I doubt if the referee really understood the main aim of my paper. Also the report surprisingly does not give details of the objections the referee had. This was my first single-author paper. I am not feeling angry about it but also not feeling great! Just would like to know how others feel in case of rejection of papers.

    Do you know of good websites where advises about writing papers and dealing with review process is given?
     
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  3. Jul 30, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    I get papers rejected all the time. One comment I recently got was "This paper would have been great if it was written in the 50's." Don't blame the referee- most likely you did not clearly explain yourself. Each Journal has a particular focus; perhaps your aim was not in line with what the Journal usually publishes.

    It helps to show your paper to others prior to submission.
     
  4. Jul 30, 2008 #3

    Choppy

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    Oddly, I was just at a seminar last night that dealt with publishing. In the particular journal the chair of the session was from, it turned out the acceptance rate was ~ 50%, which really shocked me. I would have thought it to be much higher.

    One of the editors talked about the specific situations you bring up - namely (a) when the referees have appeared to miss the purpose of the paper, and (b) when the details of the objections are not given.

    Here are some thoughts based on the suggestions he had.
    (a) This could be the result of unclear writing. Perhaps the statement of purpose was not clear, or it was buried amidst an introductory overview. Or, the referee simply did not read closely enough.

    (b) This is an issue with many referees. While the journals often expect a particular format of report, they don't always get it. The associate editor makes a call based on what he gets back.

    In both cases, you are permitted to contact the journal's editor and plead your case - even if all you want is to politely request additional feedback or clarification from the referee reports.

    Since you're a single author, you may want to find a colleague who's willing to read the manuscript and give you feedback as well. (Just because he or she reads it does not mean that he or she gets to become a co-author). Sometimes, it's difficult to assess your own writing, because you already know what the message is you're trying to convey.
     
  5. Jul 30, 2008 #4

    vanesch

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    I regularly get papers rejected. I must be in the average: 50% or so. Sometimes, I agree with the referee ; most of the time, I think he missed the issue entirely. Usually, I resubmit once more, to another journal. If it gets rejected twice, I give up on it. The funny thing is that most of the time, the second submission is OK ! It's not a matter of "prestigious" or "less prestigious" journal, because paper A gets rejected by journal X and gets accepted by Y, and paper B gets rejected by Y and accepted by X.

    The other funny thing is that the more I find my own paper good, the higher the probability that it gets rejected at least once !

    The funniest comment I once got was: "too pedagogical". I explained too well what I wanted to say :-)

    I have had a few referee comments which were right on: they pointed out a previous publication I wasn't aware of which said essentially the same thing, or pointed out a fundamental difficulty I had overlooked.
    But by far most refusals were rather about the judgment whether the public of said journal would find the result interesting or not.
     
  6. Jul 30, 2008 #5
    I had a professor recently that wrote a solicited paper...which was rejected.

    It happens to everyone. It bums everyone out. The only thing to do is recognize that rejection is part of the process, do what you can to improve your attempts, and keep trying (with obvious parallels to career and love :biggrin:).
     
  7. Jul 30, 2008 #6

    f95toli

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    It might be worth to remember that referees CAN be wrong or simply dishonest which is why you can usually ask the editor to send the paper to another referee (the referee should at least give a good reason for why the paper was rejected).
    There are -unfortunately- referees that reject papers simply because they don't like the competition, do not want to accept that they don't understant the theory or simply favour another interpretation when there are more than one way to interpret experimental data.

    This is of course NOT how it is suppose to work, but it does happen.
     
  8. Jul 30, 2008 #7

    Monique

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    I see that there is some experience with rejected manuscripts here, were these rejected upon the initial submission or actually after revision/resubmittion on request of the journal?
     
  9. Jul 30, 2008 #8

    turbo

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    The paper that I co-authored with 2 other researchers recently was reviewed by two referees, one of whom took the time to make some detailed suggestions that greatly improved the quality of the finished paper. It took us a lot of extra work to make those revisions, but it was worth the effort, and Astrophysics and Space Sciences accepted the revised paper as-is when we re-submitted. It was an interesting exercise - the data tables were much too large to be published in print, so we put them on our web-site so they are available for public review.

    The referee that made the helpful suggestions for improving the project did us a great service. If he/she had rejected the paper without giving reasons or by citing deficiencies with no suggestions for improvement, it would have been disheartening.
     
  10. Jul 30, 2008 #9
    Well, i can say the referees most of the time do not know in depth the subject of the paper, and if they do not see a glamourus name, they reject it. This is unfair in a fair science.
     
  11. Jul 30, 2008 #10

    turbo

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    The referee(s) who reviewed our paper were knowledgeable and well-acquainted with relevant publications. One of my collaborators has published a number of papers, primarily on galactic distance calibrators, but his is not a "marquee name" in astrophysics or cosmology, and my other collaborator and I have never published in this field before. We were treated quite fairly, with no hint of prejudice.
     
  12. Jul 30, 2008 #11
    were knowledgeable? does not mean anything. once i attached a paper investigating optical communications, and the referees rejected it telling, why you are dealing with this subject and not with radiowaves. What can i say? just laugh.
     
  13. Jul 30, 2008 #12

    turbo

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    Such a serious disconnect suggests that the journal was not appropriate for the subject-matter of your submission. Did you submit to another journal?
     
  14. Jul 30, 2008 #13
    well the journal was apropriate was about network comminications wireless communications. There were also published papers for optical communications, not only for radio communications.The problem is the referees. beleive me. This kind of unfair treatimg is also in IEEE journals that not all of them follow the blinding proces...
     
  15. Jul 30, 2008 #14
    The big question is in these cases who is going to check the " knowledgeable" referee
    I have come across professors with no Doctor ship,Doctors with no Bsc and referees totally and utterly stupid . The situation is chaotic and a good implication of that is that the planet is doomed to dye. To that excellent situation we may add " the money governing power"
     
  16. Jul 30, 2008 #15

    Choppy

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    I'd like to add in some clarification, if I may.

    "Blind" review process generally refers to the fact that the authors will not know the reviewers.

    "Double blind" generally means that the reviewers will also not know the authors.

    Most journals have at least a blind process - for self-evident reasons. But not all of them have a double-blind process.

    While many journals are not double blind, I don't think you gain anything by subscribing to the idea that reviewers are severely biassed by names (otherwise how would big names get big in the first place?). Reviewers are selected by associate editors who are then responsible to assess the reviews. If the review does not hold scientific merrit, the associate editor must either request the reviewer to re-review the work, or find another reviewer.

    If you feel your work has not been accurately assessed, most journals have an appeal process (such as contacting the editor), and you do have the right to politely argue your objections to the associate editor and ultimately, the journal's editor.
     
  17. Jul 31, 2008 #16

    mathwonk

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    kind of like getting shot down by a girl you hoped would go out with you. solution? same: i.e. ask another one.
     
  18. Jul 31, 2008 #17
    Of course researchers are like anyone else, but is this really common?
     
  19. Jul 31, 2008 #18

    mathwonk

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    my papers have been rejected for one of two reasons; either the referee thought the work contained errors, (they were always wrong about this) or they thought it had already been published ( they were always wrong about this as well) or thye just thoiught the quality waS NOT UP TO THE STANDARDS OF THE JOURNAL SUBMITTED TO (HOW COULD I ARGUE WITH THAT?)

    i always responded by sending it to another journal. that did not always work since sometimes the journal sent it to the same referee who still thought it was wrong, not having understood it the first time.

    but if the matter was that it was not up to the standards of the journal, then even the same referee feels differently about the different journal.

    it iks hard to persuade an anonymoius rferee that he is wrong, so it is best just to send it to another journal.

    in one case my paper also was solicited and then rejected by a referee who mistaKENLY THOUGHT IT WAS already published, so i fought hard and insisted that a prior reference be given, since the one suggested was incorrect, eventually the journal used a second referee and the paper was accepted after i rewrote it so that the referee could understand it.

    this was a good outcome. now even i can understand the paper years after writing it.
     
  20. Jul 31, 2008 #19

    Defennder

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    I didn't know journals made use of the same referees to review submission. I thought each journal had their own referee.
     
  21. Jul 31, 2008 #20
    Well, we wouldn't want undergrads or out-of-field types to have a chance at understanding it. I suppose it is best if the paper is comprehensible to: the author, the referee, a group of 4 to 40 specialists in the world: pick two of the three.

    If it CAN be explained that well, I don't see the function of rejecting it because it IS explained that well.
     
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