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I am a Phd student (thesis submitted in January 2018, not defended yet) in applied mathematics. My first paper was published in February 2018 in a tier 1 applied math journal, two other papers were recently rejected from tier 1 applied math journals.

I discussed the rejected papers with my advisor, we decided that we will work on the comments of the reviewers and associate editors and then submit to some other tier 1 journals. Now that will take at leat 5-6 months and then these two paper may get accepted in 2020 in the best case, or in the worst case it could be in 2021 (generally, top tier journals take a long time).

Now, my advisor is saying that you should publish continually (there should not be gap between publications) and suggested me to submit the rejected paper as it is, but if these two rejected papers are again rejected I will be in trouble. If a paper gets rejected twice then it may be hard to get that paper accepted in future.

What should I do in this situation ? Any help/suggestions will be useful. Thanks in advance.

  • Do you and you advisor agree on the reasons for the rejections? – user93911 Aug 2 '18 at 7:08
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    The comments are so bad that you need at least half a year to fix it, and still you want to submit it without doing anything about it? – Dirk Aug 2 '18 at 7:16
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    Is your reviewer up for review and trying to push up the number of papers produced? If so, then the decision to post may not be in your favor... – Solar Mike Aug 2 '18 at 8:08
  • I'm surprised by your expected timeline. To take an example, many of the top journals in applied math are SIAM journals. They have a policy of requesting referee reports within two months, and realistically a round of review very rarely takes longer than 6 months. So unless your papers still require multiple rounds of major revisions, they ought to be accepted in 2019, and certainly long before 2021. – David Ketcheson Aug 2 '18 at 8:42
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    One of the dangers of such a behaviour is that you stumble upon same reviewers. "I have seen this paper before and my comments were not incorporated" is something you do not want to see. – Oleg Lobachev Aug 2 '18 at 17:23
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Ignoring reviewers' comments and simply resubmitting to a different journal sounds like a bad idea to me, for a number of reasons,

  • While some institutions are obsessed by quantity of publications, quality is at least as important for building a reputation (not to mention more altruistically for actually improving the state of knowledge in the field). If the reviewers have advised you on how to improve it, and if they are not obviously talking rubbish, it seems unwise to discard this advice without a very good reason.
  • It's entirely possible that the new journal may send it to one or more of the same reviewers as the old one did. There are existing questions on this site from reviewers who this has happened to, and the results are unlikely to be good for you if you have not changed anything. The reviewers are unlikely to recommend acceptance, and the editor may be annoyed if advised of what has happened.
  • Even if it does get published without revisions in the new journal, the previous reviewers are likely to read it, and it won't do your reputation any good with them.
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When you get reviewer comments, there are often several kinds:

There are the ones where you react: "That suggestion really improves the paper; why didn't I do that in the first place?"

There are the ones where you react: "Yes, that would be an improvement to the paper, but it requires several months more research, and I don't know whether it's worth it. I'm tired of this particular research, and want to move on to something else."

There are the ones where you react: "Why on earth does he want me to do that?"

And then there are all sorts of suggestions that lie in between these extremes.

For the first kind of comments, make the changes (even if it takes you a few weeks).

For the second kind, you should try to decide whether it's worth it. Does it improve the paper enough to be worth the investment of time?

For the third kind, try to figure out why the reviewer wanted you to make the changes, and if you can't, ignore them. If the paper had been accepted, you'd have to explain why you didn't make them in your resubmission letter, but if you're resubmitting it somewhere else, there's no reason to do anything about these.

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You certainly can submit the papers without revision to some other journal(s), but you should check some things first.

In what way were the papers rejected? Were they rejected as, "we will not publish this paper, please go away," or was it returned with reviewer comments requiring revision before resubmitting? The difference is that you may need to formally withdraw the paper before submitting to another journal otherwise you will have submitted the same paper simultaneously to different journals, which is generally not permitted and requires a statement that you have not also submitted the paper for consideration elsewhere.

What were the reviewer comments? You need to consider the feedback or you run the [high] risk of having the paper rejected again, and this will also take time to go through the publication process. A period of 5-6 months to write revisions is a long time, perhaps it is worth considering scrapping the paper and writing a new paper from the beginning.

Your advisor should be helping you, but as you have submitted your thesis you aren't really a PhD student any longer and may be looking for postgraduate positions or jobs where you apply your skills and knowledge, which may require you to be writing documents and papers as the lead, without the benefit of an advisor, and you will need to make these kinds of decisions on your own.

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