Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Unacceptable Practice of Shopping Manuscripts Around

Lately, I have seen situations at MWR and other journals where a manuscript was rejected, only to be resubmitted to the same journal or a different journal with only minor changes, if any, being made. In the cases I am familiar with, the reviews recommending rejection contained reasonable requests, including rerunning model simulations, fixing improper English language, and replotting figures.

Let me be perfectly clear.

Submitting your manuscript to the journal is a privilege, not a right. It is a privilege that can be revoked by the editor or publisher of the journal.

You are imposing upon an editor and several reviewers, all volunteers, to improve your manuscript for publication. Even the most critical reviews offer advice that can make your manuscript better. To ignore their efforts and resubmit the manuscript with only minor changes is a blatant disregard for the time of others. Most editors do not tolerate such behavior, and your manuscript will be rejected.

A similar infraction occurs when authors are found to be “shopping around” rejected manuscripts between journals. Because atmospheric science is a relatively small discipline (compared to physics or chemistry, for example) and your area of specialty may be even smaller still, chances are that some of the same people that knew about your original manuscript at the first journal will see it again at the next one. Not making major revisions to a rejected manuscript, whether or not it was submitted to the same journal, is simply unacceptable.

(Thanks to Andrea and Russ Schumacher for identifying an error in this post, now fixed.)


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