Profiting from Rejection of Your Peer-Reviewed Article

Suggestions for responding to rejection of your journal submission

  1. You’re not alone. Every academic writer has had a peer-reviewed article rejected by an academic journal. You’ve spent a lot of time on it, and it hurts to see your efforts appear wasted.
  2. Your efforts weren’t wasted. Listen to the positives it the reviews — they’re in there. You did a lot right and should be proud of your work.
  3. Now, focus on the negatives. What are the structural problems with your article? How can you address them? Remember that excessive or snarky negativity is a sign of weakness from your reviewer — some reviewers have issues that have nothing to do with your ability.
  4. Be transparent in your methodology. If problems were pointed out in how you approached your study, simply admit to those problems in the methodology. Explain why, despite the problems, your paper still adds valid information to the field.
  5. Consider wholesale changes. Dropping or drastically revising one area of your article is not out of the question. Why not narrow or eliminate the section that causes the most reviewer concern?
  6. Count on new reviewers. Remember that different reviewers will view your next draft. They aren’t aware of the previous draft of your peer-reviewed article. If you’ve revised well, they will see your work as far more cohesive, complete and well-written.
  7. Don’t stop at two submissions. Many authors have published their peer-reviewed article on the third or fourth try. That’s why there are so many academic journals out there.
  8. Get to work. Sometimes we think the work required on the revision will take far longer than it really does. A revision can often be completed over the weekend. Stop procrastinating.

Now brush yourself off and get to work revising your manuscript.

© Matt J. Duffy, PhD, and Oxford Editing, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matt J. Duffy, PhD, and Oxford Editing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.