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Let’s say a journal has many editors. I tried submitting to one editor (the journal uses an email submission) and he replied:

Dear Authors,

This submission is not in my area of expertise. Therefore, I regret to inform you that I will not be able to handle it.

Is this a subtle rejection from the entire journal?

Do I still have chance if I submit to another editor from the same journal?

Thanks.

  • 6
    You submitted your paper to a specific editor. Did you choose that editor for reasons? Or you just randomly choose the editor? If your choice was based on the editor's area of expertise, do you think he/she is in the area of expertise of the paper? – scaaahu Jan 20 '18 at 5:15
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    Why hasn't it just been handed over to a more suitable editor? – Jessica B Jan 20 '18 at 6:07
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    What is the "normal" method of submission provided by the journal - usually they provide a specific email address or link for submissions and then they decide who will be the most suitable to handle your submission, they also do this to try avoid any accusation of "preferential treatment in case one author happens to know a particular editor. – Solar Mike Jan 20 '18 at 9:46
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    @SolarMike The “normal” method is to choose one editor from a list and email to him. – yoyostein Jan 20 '18 at 10:23
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    Since you say that there are several editors, doesn't the journal have an editor-in-chief also? It would be their duty to send the manuscript to the appropriate associate editor. – Massimo Ortolano Jan 20 '18 at 12:16
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Unless you have strong reason to believe this is an important journal for your field, I would be extremely dubious about having anything to do with a journal with such a lack of organization.

Every reputable journal that I have dealt with has at least some sort of process for tracking and handling manuscripts, which includes the ability to transfer manuscripts to the editor best able to handle the manuscript. Thus, no manuscript would ever receive the sort of uninformative and unprofessional email that you report: either you'd be transferred to a more appropriate editor or you'd be clearly rejected.

The "dead end" email that you've received certainly leaves it open that you might email other editors at the journal to see if they will handle your manuscript. I am not, however, convinced that this would actually be a good idea for you to do, and would suggest shifting to a more reputable and professionally run journal.

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    If the OP decides to send the manuscript to another journal, would he need to do anything to this journal? e.g. withdraw (I don't even know "withdraw" makes sense here) – scaaahu Jan 20 '18 at 13:36
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    So far as I can tell, the manuscript appears to no longer be under consideration at this journal: in effect, it has been rejected with an option to resubmit. Thus no further action should be necessary. – jakebeal Jan 20 '18 at 13:44
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    I can't find it now, but I definitely remember reading about a journal in which the author(s) approach a member of the editorial board of their choice. However, I only read about it because the journal published a paper denying anthropocentric climate change. I vaguely remember that the authors had approached one editor who rejected it, so they approached another editor who accepted it. – Allure Jan 21 '18 at 23:14
  • @Allure That's not a very good recommendation for the journal or the system in my book. – jakebeal Jan 22 '18 at 0:11
  • Yeah, I agree. If I were setting up a journal today I would not use this system. I mention it only because it's still out there, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone finds a counterexample. – Allure Jan 22 '18 at 0:19
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No, and you can submit to another member of the editorial board.

I wouldn't jump to conclusions about how professional the journal is as well. It sounds like the journal is not using an editorial management system, which could be for a variety of reasons (e.g. the editor-in-chief is not willing to learn a new piece of software). It's also conceivable the editor you wrote to is a new member to the board, and is unfamiliar as to how to transfer it.

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