Monday, August 11, 2008

What if your manuscript gets rejected?

If the editor has encouraged you to revise and resubmit to the same journal, you should do so. That means the editor thinks that your paper has the potential to get published, if you follow the advice of the reviewers and the editor. Consider the recommendations of the reviewers and editor seriously, revise the paper, decide on a strategy (same journal or different journal), and resubmit the revised manuscript if you think the work is good enough. If you resubmit to the same journal, state in your cover letter that this manuscript was previously rejected and include what revisions you have made to address the reviewers' concerns.

This last point is important. Even if it is not required, I encourage authors to write a response to the original reviewers and send that response to the editor when they resubmit, as if they were resubmitting following major revisions. There are several advantages of this approach. First, like writing the manuscript helps clarify your argument, I believe that writing a formal response benefits the clarity of the revisions to the manuscript. Second, the authors get their say against hostile reviewers. Third, the response allows the editor to weigh the relative views of the author versus the reviewer. Fourth, based on how effectively the editor thinks the author rebutted the reviewers, the editor can choose to send the revised manuscript back to the original reviewers (with the response) or choose entirely different reviewers who are unfamiliar with the struggles of the manuscript.

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