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I submitted a paper to one of the IEEE transaction journals and got an “Immediate Reject” (how it is stated in ScholarOne system) from the EiC. The motivation behind this decision included language issues (unfixed typos) and serious concerns about the level of novelty in the research (for illustration I’ve included numerous examples of how my proposed methodology passes into known cases). Since then, I’ve majorly edited the paper broadening and expending the novelty part and deprecating the known cases. But the thing is that most of the descriptive (introductory) part remains almost the same, includng the title. If I am correct IEEE has a policy of two possible situations (when rejected): “Resubmission allowed” and “Resubmission is not allowed”. But in this situation, I got no further guidance. Thus the questions are:

  1. Can I submit a new version of the research to the same journal with the same title?
  2. Does it make any sense to submit there again after having such a track record or I will be definitely rejected?
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    First, don't submit a poorly prepared paper to an IEEE Trans. hoping to get expert reviews. You are wasting reviewers' time. Second, once your paper is up to 'standard', resubmit it and provide a cover letter that outlines major changes. It is up to the EiC to decide whether your paper is now of interest. As an aside, I've resubmitted a paper with 'Resubmission.. not allowed' after revising 60% of its contents. The EiC allowed it to enter the review process. Jul 14, 2021 at 21:01

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If they aren't clear about "resubmission not allowed" then you can do it, but make sure that you address the novelty issue primarily. They definitely won't publish things they don't find "interesting". The language issue can probably be resolved if not too severe and the novelty is good.

If you get immediately rejected again, try somewhere else. It shouldn't cost too much time.

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Not sure about what Immediate Reject actually means but I can share a datapoint. I once submitted to one of IEEE journals and, after an eternity of waiting, the editor wrote back, saying that there are serious blah blah issues so he decided not to assign any reviewer and reject it right away.

The editor, however, included a note that once we fix the blah blah issues, we can resubmit and assign the same editor in the cover letter. I wouldn't assume that (the absence of) this note is the absolute judgement regarding whether you can resubmit or not. After all, how are they going to punish you if you insist? It's not like you plagiarize or use improper words in the manuscript.

What you should do, given that you really want to resubmit, is to address every single issue in the editor's feedback. From your username/profile I assume you came from math department. In IEEE world, IMO, people care more about if your things are new (novel in their language) more than how your things relate to old things. They care so much about novelty that some authors tend to inflate that and include salesman languages in title/abstract/introduction. (E.g. Pigeonhole Principle: a Novel Tool for Mathematical Counting.) The fact that you chose to emphasis the relation to past works is most likely interpreted as the lack of novelty, which you really need to fix.

(Funny enough, my advisor was more upset than i was because he'd never heard that an editor can reject without reviewers, given that we are doing some serious stuff, not claiming P = NP.)

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  • i think a lot of people would find your hypothetical P=NP paper serious. (Not to mention "novel"...)
    – SAH
    Jul 14, 2021 at 20:56
  • I would be very very grateful if people know me well enough they won't assume I am seeking attention but have something to offer.
    – Symbol 1
    Jul 14, 2021 at 21:06
  • "...heard that an editor..without reviewers' -> it's a concern if your supervisor hasn't heard of desk reject! Jul 14, 2021 at 21:07
  • So it's called desk reject, TIL. Maybe my language/memory is not precise, but the concern is that he had to review much worse papers that should have been desk-rejected; but he reviewed. Yet his volunteer karma does not pay off. Something like that; not speaking for my advisor. Maybe he was trying to comfort me.
    – Symbol 1
    Jul 14, 2021 at 21:12
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    he'd never heard that an editor can reject without reviewers, given that we are doing some serious stuff It happens all the time, just try submitting to Nature.
    – Allure
    Jul 14, 2021 at 22:22
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If they haven't said you can't resubmit, then you can. Be sure to explain in your cover letter what has changed and why they should consider your paper now. Don't play dumb - the editorial management system is sure to flag your paper as a resubmission, and without such an explanation their default reaction is going to be "desk reject".

I'm kind of surprised you write that you "majorly edited the paper [by] broadening and expending the novelty part and deprecating the known cases" and yet "most of the descriptive (introductory) part remains almost the same". They desk rejected, which is a higher bar to fix than major revision. Submitting mostly the same paper will lead to another desk rejection.

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