My research group started a new research direction in a somewhat of a classical engineering field (which heavily relays on experiments/tests). I noticed that reviewers who review our work seem to be extra harsh with their assessment and tend to favor a direct “rejection” without clearly explaining what is wrong with our works or even giving us a chance to respond to their comments/questions. I see a common trend in their reviews in two separate papers so far: 1. Consists of 2-3 sentences max 2. Terms like “I feel that this work does not have merit” and “to the best of my knowledge, I don’t see how so and so” 3. The review takes 9-12 months to be completed - while papers in these journals are constantly being published with 6 months.
My assessment is that reviewers are holding very tightly to traditional methods and do not seem to accept our new approaches - and hence the poor reviews we keep getting. I don’t think that they don’t understand our work, since it is clearly explained + been presented in international conferences with great success. Regarding point no. 3, perhaps it is possible that editors are having a hard time to find “suitable” reviewers(?).
I am seeking any thoughts, tips, or experiences you have to cope with such behavior.