Disputing a Rejection

Over the more than year of being Editor-in-Chief, I have had several authors contact me about their paper that was rejected. These authors want to argue the case that the rejection was not justified and are asking that me (or another Editor) reverse or at least reconsider the decision. Luckily, these emails are nearly always polite and respectful; you are a great crew of people that know how to be tactful and considerate. Thank you!


Let me reassure all of you about your rejected manuscript: if you submit a well-reasoned rebuttal to the points made in the reviews, then your paper will always be thoughtfully reconsidered by the JGR Space Physics editorial board. If you put in the time to write a response and appropriately revise the manuscript, then we will carefully and thoroughly read that response and examine those changes to the paper. You always have the option of resubmitting a rejected paper back to JGR Space Physics.

Our “full consideration” of the manuscript might lead to several outcomes. We might decide that it is still not appropriate or ready for the journal and reject it again without even sending it out for review. More likely, we will send it out for review to the same set of referees. We’ll put a special note in the review request letter to note that this is a resubmission of a rejected paper and that we would very much appreciate their assessment of the new version. Furthermore, depending on the nature of the rebuttal you have provided or the scientific controversy being debated in the paper, we will solicit additional referees for it. When a paper is in this situation, we like to have a consensus view about it, so we will send it out to more than just the standard two referees.

If we decide to reject the manuscript again, then we will give you a full explanation of our position about the paper. Even after a second (or nth) rejection, you still have the option of resubmitting to JGR Space Physics. However, at this point, arguing your position is a harder task and it is a far better decision to choose to revise the manuscript according to the referee or editorial suggestions and concerns.

I have found, though, that occasionally it was a misunderstanding on the part of the referees and/or me about the content of the paper. In these cases, the resubmitted paper sails through review and is accepted within a round or two. Yes, I have seen papers accepted at “round 1” of reviewing; these are invariably resubmissions of rejected papers where the authors either made all requested changes or offered such a convincing counterargument that the reviewers (and me) were convinced.

Everyone is frustrated when they get a rejection letter from a journal editor. Here at JGR Space Physics, we have high standards for the journal that we are trying to uphold and we implicitly trust our reviewers to do a thorough and competent assessment. After that initial emotion of getting the rejection passes, though, think carefully about the comments we provide and, if you think resubmission is warranted, then please feel encouraged to do so.


One thought on “Disputing a Rejection

  1. Pingback: GRL Editorial Policy | Notes from the JGR-Space Physics Editor-in-Chief

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