My paper has been rejected but encouraged re-submission. The reviewers were overall positive said it was well written and that all the analyses were correct. The problems pointed out were changes to the introduction and conclusion to change the scope of how the experiments are framed, not to any of the experiments themselves. There were no mentions of lack of novelty or other common reasons for rejection. There was also no mention that anything I wrote was overstated or incorrect.

I am unsure of whether to re-submit when it has been rejected for this reason because I don't understand how a manuscript could be rejected if the experiments were correct and found to be novel? If the problem is that I need to modify my introduction and conclusion than why not accept the manuscript, since re-writing the introduction/conclusion would not be very difficult. I would consider doing so would be a minor revision.

I am wondering whether anyone has had this type of rejection before and if they decided to re-submit or submit elsewhere?

  • Related: What does “reject and resubmit” mean?
    – Anyon
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 23:44
  • "I would consider doing so would be a minor revision." And the editor disagreed. That is your explanation. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 2:41
  • It could simply also be that they had a larger than average pile of submissions and your paper, while good enough under "normal" circumstances, wasn't good enough with this crop. Your paper needs a bit more polish (in the editor's eyes) and will likely be in the top of the pile next go around. As to what you should do about it, it's up to you to see if you can get it submitted elsewhere before the next publication of this journal.
    – Van
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 4:09
  • Please remove the last sentence. Questions that ask for other people's experiences are likely to get removed from the site. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 5:18

5 Answers 5


Many journals are now encouraged to publish the data on the "efficiency" of the review process, e.g. the average time before initial submission and publication. Expected time to publication may be an important consideration for authors, along with the journals impact factor.

So, imagine that you run a journal, where a paper on average goes through 2.5 rounds of review and each round takes 3-6 months. If you sum it together, 12+ months from submission to publication would not look too attractive. But you only need to sum up if you invite revisions. If you "reject and resubmit", then technically you look at a completely new submission, and it counts as a new paper in your statistics. So, your processing rate gets shorter (which authors like), and your acceptance rate gets lower (which makes your journal sort of a prestigious one, tough to get into).

This is the main reason (in my personal opinion), why so many journals now rebrand "major revision" decision (and often "minor revision" as well) as "reject and resubmit".

  • Even the multiple choice that journals offer seem to be tailored to attain this. I usually find myself in troubles and have to carefully explain when a ms must be extendly change but I considered it accepted if suggestions are confronted/taken into account.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 11:35

It does seem unusual, but I would still suggest resubmitting to this journal:

  • Since the reviews were positive, you may have a good chance of acceptance on the second round.

  • If the reviewers had deeper concerns which didn't come through in their reviews, you may get a better explanation on the second round, thus giving you a chance to really improve the paper.

  • In any case, since you're working with reviewers who have already read the paper once, you'll probably get a decision much faster than if you were to submit to a new journal.

  • 1
    This does not answer the title question. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 5:16
  • 1
    I don't know the answer to the title question, but I did feel I could answer the question from the body "I am unsure of whether to re-submit when it has been rejected [...] ?" Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 6:11

Write back to the journal asking if the decision is correct, for the reasons you gave in the OP. It feels like they were intending to make a major revision decision, but made a reject & resubmit decision instead. In many editorial management systems, the buttons to reject and to revise are right next to each other, and human error can easily cause the confusion.


Based on what you have said, the editor has, based on the reviews, decided that your introduction and conclusions were not suitable for the journal. Therefore the editor rejected your paper.

You seem to suggest that the journal should accept every paper that has novel, correct experiments. That is not the way most journals work. Usually the criteria are more complex. Often, the results must be meaningful as well as novel, and the style of presentation must meet some subjective threshold.


If the reviewers didn't express much dissatisfaction, or rather, expressed general satisfaction, it may have been an editorial decision. I suspect that the journal's editors know their readers well and are just trying to match your paper to reader expectations. Some journals place a very high value on the presentation, which you indicate is fine, but the editors may just want the introduction to make the significance of the results clearer for their subscribers.

I think it is to your advantage to work with them on this. It may be the difference between a good and a great paper.

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