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I have submitted one of my work in a good journal (impact factor 6) and I got rejection after a few weeks. Though I was pretty sure that I covered all the experiments or stuff they can ask for. The reply mail did not show any cause. They just regretted that they cant publish my work. What can be some reasons behind this?

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    Did it go out for peer review? – user2877148 Jun 19 at 21:13
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    Does this answer your question? What does the typical workflow of a journal look like? (quote from the first answer there: "The editors decide whether the paper should enter the review process or should be rejected directly, e.g., because it does not fit the journal’s scope or requirements on importance or quality. A rejection at this (or the previous) stage is called desk reject." – Bryan Krause Jun 19 at 21:27
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    Your question is also similar to this previous question: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/32315/… – Richard Erickson Jun 19 at 21:28
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    This question cannot be answered without reading the paper. – Anonymous Physicist Jun 19 at 23:43
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    The title sounds like it is asking, "what are some reasons to try deliberately to get your paper rejected?" I like that question and was disappointed it turned out to be different. :) – 6005 Jun 20 at 1:33
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If there are no comments, it is possible that an area editor simply made the decision to reject your paper based on the topic itself. This can happen in high volume high impact journals. Editors are constantly sifting through tonnes of papers looking for gold nuggets.

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It would depend on the field obviously but I'll have a go at the most common I see in my area.

  • Outside the scope of the journal
  • Has been done before
  • Incremental - minor value
  • Value of the work was not clear
  • Not appropriately supported with experimental results
  • Badly presented in the context of the discipline
  • Badly written
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    "Badly presented in the context of the discipline" is an interesting one. In my field, the style of presentation has changed radically over the years. Superb articles written in the 1950s would be rejected now. You cannot even say that the style has changed for the better. It's just different. It's more like how pink goes in and out of fashion. – PatrickT Jun 20 at 5:21
  • @PatrickT As I was reading this answer I thought that o4tlulz was referring not to the style of presentation but to the positioning of the work with respect to the rest of the field, i.e. the "Related work" section or similar. Of course, style could also be important in some (most?) disciplines I suppose. – Evangelos Bampas Jun 20 at 6:33
  • @EvangelosBampas, Ah yes perhaps. I assumed that aspect was covered by "value of the work was not clear", but anyhow my point was that quality of presentation can be subjective. If you go back and read classic stuff by Newton, Darwin or Keynes, you cannot help but think they would suffer the occasional rejection today. – PatrickT Jun 20 at 6:47
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At good journals, publication is a competitive process.

They get far more acceptable papers than they can process, so it's not true that all papers that are good enough are accepted. Only papers that are better than almost all the other papers that are submitted are accepted.

If your paper did not go out for review, it's likely that, even if the paper was done as well as a paper with your particular results could be done, it still wouldn't have been accepted, because the results are simply not interesting enough compared with the results in other submitted papers.

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It should "go without saying", but apparently does not, that you should have advice from experienced people/faculty both prior to submission, and after receiving reviews. That is, an essay which might seem reasonable to a novice (we have to admit that, at the beginning, we are indeed beginners) is (potentially) viewed as too rough and naive to more experienced people.

This is why you need advice before submitting, to be sure you're "in the right ball-park" (meaning "approximately ok").

There are many other random factors in play, of course. And some of these can be randomly fatal. Ok. But the main non-random feature you yourself have some control over is the style, tone, etc., of the document you send.

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