In the first round, we get two reports from the Editor. Referee A just rejected it and referee B said that he is not sure.

Since referee A had made a mistake, we appealed to this manuscript. At the same time, we said that the report of Referee A should be ignored by the Editor since he/she said some ugly words beyond the academic.

The Editor sent our manuscript to B, C, and D.

As for C and D, they support our work. Reviewer B says that the current work is not sufficiently novel for a PRL. In my opinion, he just gives us 40 of 100. At the end of the report, Referee B said that some results are interesting.

In this case, what will happen? We did not reply to the Editor and referees in the second round yet.

  • For referee A, we more or less can guess his name. We believe the relationship between him and my Prof is not good. So.....
    – Blueka
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 14:32
  • 5
    PRL is pretty selective. Not all papers will be accepted. It is up to the Editor handling your paper.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 14:34
  • @JonCuster You are right. It is not easy.
    – Blueka
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 14:39
  • Does this answer your question? What does the typical workflow of a journal look like?
    – Louic
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 21:24
  • @Louic In fact, no. My question is related to the experience to submit a very selective journal.
    – Blueka
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 7:27

2 Answers 2


The best you can do is to reply to the comments of the referees the best as you can and try to convince the editor that your paper is sufficiently novel for PRL. Try to answer very polite but on the other hand with some strong arguments. I would rather stay on the factual level about your paper and not start to discuss a relationship of referee A and your professor with editor.

But do not be disappointed if the editor will reject - the PRL is very selective. See the try as a possibility to improve your paper.


When I was a Ph.D. student (c. 20 years ago), there was a member of the PRL editorial team who used to tour universities giving talks on how to succeed in getting published in PRL. IIRC, his main thesis was that the chance of success is improved by giving the manuscript a "self-similar structure" whereby it made the same set of points three or four times in successively increasing levels of detail.

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