I submitted a manuscript into a (maths) journal a while ago. Today I received a decision e-mail saying that they have to reject my paper because it is too specialised for their journal. I belive this is fine after 1-2 weeks of receiving my submission, but I got this answer 3 months + 1 week after I submitted my paper. Is there anything I can do in such a situation or I just have to accept that perhaps someone forgot about my manuscript for a while?

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    What would you possibly want to do and what would you seek to gain by doing that? – Bryan Krause Feb 3 at 16:32
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    3 months + 1 week: Sounds fast. – user2768 Feb 3 at 16:38
  • Was your manuscript sent out for review and you received the referee reports or was it a desk reject by the editor? – Snijderfrey Feb 3 at 23:39
  • I've seen much worse. – Lewian Feb 4 at 21:11

You can send it elsewhere. What you can't do is force a journal to publish your paper. The time isn't especially significant. A year or so would be a problem.

But reviewers have other tasks in their workflow. I doubt that it was forgotten generally, but some reviewer might have been busy/sick/whatever.

There may even have been some discussion about the paper, not making the decision an easy one.

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    Under some circumstances existing referee's reports can be transferred to a different journal under the same publishing umbrella, but I don't understand that to be common in mathematics (and it's conceivable in this circumstance that they aren't particularly useful). – origimbo Feb 3 at 16:38
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    @origimbo If that's possible in my experience it is always stated quite clearly in the rejection email from the journal. – Bryan Krause Feb 3 at 17:22
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    "Too specialized" sounds to me like something an editor would be likely to decide unilaterally, rather than something that would emerge from referee reports...? – Daniel Hatton Feb 3 at 18:12
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    @DanielHatton In mathematics, this is also something the editor would say after asking few potential reviewers to take a short look at the paper, some type of pre-review. Basically, the editor asks if the results look interesting, if there is any glaring mistake, and if the reviewer would be willing to review the paper. And 3 months is probably fast if this is the case. – Nick S Feb 3 at 18:50
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    You should be aware that, in some sense "too specialised" is a bit of a euphemism. Every result in mathematics is very specialised. The question is whether it is important or interesting enough to attract some interest from outside its speciality. It can take some thought and expert opinion to decide whether a paper is interesting beyond its specialty, and how far beyond its specialty. – Alexander Woo Feb 4 at 0:27

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