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This question already has an answer here:

I sent my paper to one journal, which took about 3 months to respond to me.

They decided to reject my paper, and gave me some comments and reasons why my paper was rejected. The first reviewer said a little about my paper and he/she wants to reject my paper because I do not have co-authors with me. I did the paper by myself.

The comments of the second reviewer seemed disrespectful and misinformed.

His/her comments were written in a way that suggests that I am stupid and what I did is just rubbish. He/she gave me some comments (the reasons why he/she wants to reject my paper). When I read the comments, I found that all the comments are useless and wrong. For example, at two simple points (very known in the area of my topic), she/he said these points are wrong. All researchers in this field know that what I wrote is completely correct. All other comments were just written with very low respect.

What can I do? I did this hard job alone, so why do I need to find someone to be a co-author? I feel that they rejected my paper because my name is not known in this area (I am a student).

marked as duplicate by user2390246, scaaahu, user68958, OBu, Richard Erickson Oct 5 '18 at 17:02

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    Is there anyone at your university that you can talk to about this, and show them the paper and feedback to get a second opinion? Is there a reason you didn't go through them for help getting this published in the first place? – Rup Oct 4 '18 at 15:42
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    They may be suggesting coauthors because your paper is not up to standards in the field, which suggests that you haven't gotten the right kind of advice on the work. Even if you do solo work, having an academic advisor help with the publication process is very important for students new to the process. – Bryan Krause Oct 4 '18 at 15:49
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    Also related: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/5865/… – Dawn Oct 4 '18 at 16:22
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    I'll add a possibly related note: If the paper is written in the same style as your question and comments, then I will agree that having a co-author with better writing skills would definitely useful. In general, any author -- but in particular younger and inexperienced authors -- are better off if they show their manuscripts to experienced authors and reviewers. – Wolfgang Bangerth Oct 4 '18 at 16:51
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    I did a proofreading for my paper by a professional editor. – F.Thomas Oct 4 '18 at 17:31
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Whether they are right or wrong, the editors are in control of what they will publish and you don't have any control over that. You aren't likely to be successful with an argument with them.

You have two options, at least. One is to change the paper so that they are satisfied with it. The other is to try to publish elsewhere.

However, I will guess that the comments of reviewers aren't as invalid as you think they are. Even if you decide to publish elsewhere, you should go carefully through your paper with the views of the reviewers in mind and see what you can do to make it better.

No one is required to take all of the advice of reviewers, but generally, they are expert in the field and so have valuable things to say. You don't need to respond to every advice, but you should, at least, consider every advice.

Among other things, I wonder why they suggest a co-author. Is there something in the paper that suggests that it would be appropriate, or are you in a field in which sole authorship (especially by students) is rare?

And don't take the comments personally. They aren't criticizing you when they have doubts about the paper. They are focused only on the work itself.

  • Thank you for your answer, I have already sent it to one very important paper in the same area, but they rejected it because they are not interesting in my data. However, they said what I did is very reasonable and good. – F.Thomas Oct 4 '18 at 16:46
  • My supervisors read it and said it is a very good work. Also, they asked me to add their names, just because they are my supervisors but I refused that. Because they did not do anything for it, just read it at the end. Before that they said they are busy and I have to do my job alone! – F.Thomas Oct 4 '18 at 16:47
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    @F.Thomas This is important: Supervisors belong on the list of authors. Without your supervisor, your probably wouldn't have any entry point to your research area. They provide you with feedback. This is an almost universally accepted standard. Refusing to list your supervisor as co-author is not a good idea. – Ian Oct 5 '18 at 9:27
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    @Ian No, this is utter nonsense. Supervisors belong on the list of authors if they did any actual work (supervision of this specific work counts, of course). It’s common that supervisors get a free pass but this is blatantly unethical. – Konrad Rudolph Oct 5 '18 at 14:34
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    @Ian What do you mean by providing "an entry point to [a] research area"? That doesn't sound like a criterion for co-authorship to me. Supervisors usually are closely enough involved with their students' work that they should be co-authors but that should require a specific contribution to the work reported in the paper. – David Richerby Oct 5 '18 at 14:41
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The first reviewer said a little about my paper and he/she wants to reject my paper because I do not have co-authors with me.

Are you sure that's why they want to reject your paper? It seems much more likely that they rejected your paper because of deficiencies in it, and suggested that bringing in co-authors could help you rectify those deficiencies.

His/her comments were written in a way that suggests that I am stupid and what I did is just rubbish. He/she gave me some comments (the reasons why he/she wants to reject my paper). When I read the comments, I found that all the comments are useless and wrong. For example, at two simple points (very known in the area of my topic), she/he said these points are wrong. All researchers in this field know that what I wrote is completely correct. All other comments were just written with very low respect.

I would say taht your response to the referee is written in a way that suggests that they are stupid and what they did is just rubbish. Your response seems to have been written with very low respect. A little hypocritical, no?

I feel that they rejected my paper because my name is not known in this area

While there is some bias towards accepting the work of well-known researchers as being interesting and worthy, mostly they rejected your paper because it wasn't good enough and, it seems, because they felt it was technically flawed (at least in places). You have a paper that has now been rejected by two journals: this should be a huge wake-up call but you seem completely unwilling to accept any criticism of it and insist on blaming everybody but yourself. If you just had one referee who wanted to reject your paper then, sure, maybe you were unlucky and got a bad referee. But it sounds like both referees at the current journal rejected, plus however many at the first one. Can you see a pattern here?

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    In addition to the above, "I feel that they rejected my paper because my name is not known in this area" - isn't it usually the case that referees are not shown the name of the author? – Martin Bonner supports Monica Oct 5 '18 at 14:31
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    @MartinBonner This varies between fields, so I assume the asker's field, statistics, is only single-blind. (Pure maths and theoretical CS are usually single-blind.) – David Richerby Oct 5 '18 at 14:37
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    @MartinBonner No, this is highly unusual in most fields. Double-blind peer review only even exists in a few fields and even in most of these it’s the exception. – Konrad Rudolph Oct 5 '18 at 15:06
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I did this hard job alone, so why do I need to find someone to be a co-author? I feel that they rejected my paper because my name is not known in this area

If you believe that this is a major reason for rejection, you could try submitting to a journal that uses blind reviewing, i.e. identity of the author/s is concealed from the reviewers.

When I read the comments, I found that all the comments are useless and wrong. For example, at two simple points (very known in the area of my topic), she/he said these points are wrong. All researchers in this field know that what I wrote is completely correct

In that case, the simplest option is to provide a cite to where some of those other researchers have made these points. It's frustrating having to cite what seems obvious, but not everybody has the same idea of what's "obvious".

You might also check how you have explained those points. On my most recent paper, I got several reviewer comments that were incorrect. The reviewers had misunderstood my paper. But even though their suggested changes were wrong, the feedback was still useful because it helped me identify areas where my explanation wasn't clear. By improving the explanation, I was able to satisfy my reviewers.

Beyond that, as Buffy and David have suggested, consider your reviewers' comments very carefully. It's not impossible to get two clueless reviewers, but it's unlikely.

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