Author: Ángel Hernando– Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

Nobody likes to have an article rejected, but, even if you dislike it, you end up getting used to it since this possibility is within the norm for most researchers who want to publish in indexed scientific journals. You never get used to this kind of bad news, but you have to remember that what is valued is your work, not your person or your value as a researcher. Do not take it personally, it is within the «salary» of the researcher and do not be discouraged, but above all, the manuscript can never stay in the «drawer» sine die, we must «burn» and try to publish it as soon as possible, if time passes it loses the relevance of the subject, the review, the sample used, etc.

It is generally rare that you are published at first and see «Accept» in the editorial decision, it is normal that you have some rejections or rejections, then an «Accept with changes» and at the end your work is accepted and you are sent the proof for publication. If the research is well done and the manuscript is good at the end it will always be published and sometimes, on the third or fourth attempt, in a best indexed journal with a higher impact factor than the first one we submitted it to. It should be kept in mind that some of the manuscripts that later had more citations were rejected in the first instance by the reviewers and the editorial teams of those journals (which I understand would «pull their hair out» when they saw the citations received for those articles and how well they would have done to raise the impact factor of their journals). It should also be noted that some of these authors who had their work rejected, some time later, won the Nobel Prize in their respective areas.

We have to distinguish and act differently depending on what the cause of rejection is and whether or not the reviewers’ proposals for modification are sent to us. If the rejection is generic, of the type «not of interest to the journal» «not in the focus of the journal» «rejected for methodological reasons», etc., it should remain on our desk, to be sent again, just enough time to decide which journal to send it to and to adapt it to the regulations for authors of this journal (it is always convenient to have made, with our order of priority, based on what we indicated in another entry, the list of journals that could publish the subject matter of our research). If the rejection is justified and, above all, if it is accompanied by the review forms and the evaluation made by the reviewers, we should take advantage of all the indications or proposals that, in our opinion, could enrich our manuscript. This is the opinion of two or three, or more in some journals, experts in our field whose proposals we must take positively. Our advice is to read and review all the comments and suggestions of the reviewers, although we do not always have to accept the proposed modifications, surely some of them are right and can make us understand the rejection.

The «pressure» to publish our work in indexed journals that currently exists, due to various causes (promotion in our academic career, accreditation, justification of funding, demand from our university, etc.), has produced a great imbalance between the number of manuscripts sent to the journals and those published by them. This reason explains the high rejection rates of some journals, which means that many quality works are rejected in the first instance and what they need is to find a new «home» in order to be published (some databases such as SCOPUS increase the number of indexed journals quite a bit annually, but others, such as JCR, enter few new journals annually, in some years around one hundred). If the need to publish increases, so that more and more manuscripts are sent for evaluation, but the number of impact journals in the indexed bases does not increase, obviously, rejection rates will increase with the consequent decrease in acceptance rates. This fact brings about that the editorial teams are forced to make the decision that many well done works, which in situations of less «pressure» of arrival of manuscripts would be published, in the current situation, are rejected or dismissed since they can only publish the best among the good ones since their capacity of publication per year is limited.

One last piece of advice: only answer and ask for explanations for a rejection if it is clear that it is a mistake or if any of the reviewers, in the case that they send us the review forms, has not followed the ethical rule of respect and proper use of language in the evaluations they have made of our manuscript. What has already been rejected, will almost certainly continue to be rejected no matter how much we protest, in our opinion it is preferable to optimize time and instead of discussing with the editorial teams, to prepare the submission to a new journal (always after careful selection, in case it is not prepared and adapted to the standards for authors of this one). In parallel to this advice, comment that if we admit the manuscript with request for changes. if these do not involve too much alteration of what we had sent, it takes less time to make the changes than to start discussing whether to make them or not (that is, if we are willing to change something so that we are published, otherwise it will probably be rejected since approval is conditional).

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