thanks for submitting your paper to XXXXX Journal. It is an explicit and interesting analysis of a natural problem. However, in my opinion, it does not reach the level of XXXXX Journal. I therefore have decided not to pursue the evaluation process in order not to delay the publication of your paper elsewhere.

Please don’t take it too bad, XXXXX Journal receive a lot of very very strong submissions in every aspect of mathematics and we publish only 700 pages per year, so we have to make some hard choices.

Best regards, XXXXX (Editor-in-chief)

Dear Professor XXXXX,

The XXXXX Journal of XXXXX recently received a very large number of submissions. We are also attempting to reduce our publication backlog. Consequently, the editors are unable to consider every manuscript for further review. So we regret to inform you that we will not be able to publish your manuscript.

We hope that you will submit your paper to a more specialized journal where your work may be more fully appreciated.


The Editors XXXXX Journal of XXXXX

Are both of these are just boiler plate or anything to salvage from them. I must say both are really top journals in mathematics.

  • 2
    This is a duplicate of another question you asked. The answer is the same.
    – Dan Romik
    Sep 19, 2020 at 17:37
  • @DanRomik almost same. But here they are explicitly suggesting to look for a less choosy journal?
    – user102868
    Sep 19, 2020 at 18:56
  • 3
    @user102868 it’s very easy to take an existing question and make a microscopic change to it and then say it isn’t a duplicate. I understand that you feel the situation is different, and in a way it is, but as I said the answer is the same, and as a general rule I don’t think it improves the quality of this site to have people posting every referee report they get and asking for explanations of what it means, when the answer, to a high degree of accuracy, is always the same: it means what it says, nothing more or less.
    – Dan Romik
    Sep 19, 2020 at 19:00
  • 2
    By the way, whether it’s boilerplate or not is irrelevant. Even if it’s boilerplate, it represents the exact content of what the editor wanted to communicate to you. So again, asking other people to read the tea leaves and guess what additional meaning lies hidden in the text is a futile exercise.
    – Dan Romik
    Sep 19, 2020 at 19:03
  • DanRomik agree. I am not trying to justify my question. I was completely unaware of my old question.
    – user102868
    Sep 19, 2020 at 19:07

2 Answers 2


I think you should treat them as honest statements. They may be boilerplate, of course, since journals often get more submissions than are possible to publish on any reasonable time scale. They therefor have such "boilerplate" ready to ease the editor's work.

The first implies something lacking in the paper itself wrt the standards of that journal, though the paper may have merit otherwise. The second doesn't necessarily imply the same.

But, an exceptional paper, by their standards, would probably be put into the process.

As they suggest, move on with the paper and try for a different venue. Alternatively, improve it dramatically and try again.

  • 1
    The second doesn't necessarily imply the same. - Still I would interpret them as saying the same thing. To me the only difference is that the 2nd is more professional, both in tone and in grammar. (That said, I completely agree with your answer.)
    – Kimball
    Sep 19, 2020 at 13:45
  • I am taking them honestly. I just wanted to know if my interpretation was right.
    – user102868
    Sep 19, 2020 at 14:47

They are just varying species of boilerplate, absolutely. Either automated or not. Almost nothing can be gleaned from them, coming from "high status" journals. In particular, thinking in terms of rewriting and resubmitting to the same journal is probably misguided and a waste of your time and effort.

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