My coauthor and I submitted our article for publication to one of the best journals in our field. After a long time of review, we got a rejection decision by the editor based on the referee report which we received. After that we wrote to the editor and explained to him/her that the referee arguments to reject our paper are wrong and provided point by point evidence to support our conclusions.
However, the editor did not accept our arguments so we then sent our paper to another journal which is also among the best in our field. After waiting for considerable time, we got a rejection decision from the second journal and the same referee report as the first journal. I repeat the two reports which we received from two journals are completely identical! We have asked the editor of the second journal for explanations why we got the same report and so far we have not heard any reply.
Based on these facts, we believe that our paper is being rejected for some unknown personal reasons not clear to us rather than objective reasons connected with our work. In between the two submissions, we have revised our paper based on the first journal referee report.
Have your ever experienced such a situation?
How should we behave in this case?
Based on some comments below about this post, I want to express my opinion in more details about this issue. I am an expert in my working field and have reviewed several papers too. However, if somebody is asked to review the same paper more than once from two different journals, it is ethical that the referee rejects to review the paper and gives the possibility to another referee to do it. The referee can have an option to explain to the second journal editor the reasons why he/she rejected the paper initially and also point out the comments which he/she received back from the authors through the first journal (as in our case) that his/her conclusions might be wrong.