I've just had a paper rejected by a certain math journal -- nothing new so far, but the journal made a (rather unusual?) offer in the rejection email, and I'm not sure what to make of it.
They said that, if I want to, they can disclose the identity of the referee to the next journal I submit to. To do that, I would need to tell the managing editor of the next journal to contact the journal that has rejected my paper.
Here's more background info:
The reason (they think) I might want that is that the referee report is actually positive, so (they think) it might help me.
Yes, the paper was rejected despite the fact that the report was clearly positive. The journal acknowledged the fact that it's positive, but said they have to choose from the papers with positive reviews. (In fact, I even submitted a major revision a few months ago, and the referee was happy with the changes. The whole process took almost a whole year and there wasn't a single negative or even lukewarm report. I'm naturally quite sour now.)
The journal is a well-known strong-but-not-top generalist journal. (Think something like Crelle / Compositio / Math. Annalen -- it may or may not be one of these, but that's the level.)
For my next submission, I'm aiming at the same level and type of journal. I'm worried though that I might run out of journals of this sort, so I have to play my cards carefully (this is 'only' the second rejection, but all these journals seem to have issues).
The paper is in my opinion strong and reasonably significant (and the referee seems to agree), but not in a 'hot' subarea. Also, I'm completely unknown, and the more senior people working in this subarea are good, but not superstars either.
I'm genuinely unsure which of the editors handled my paper.
In any case, here are the questions.
Is this common? Did it happen to you/someone you know? What do you think of it?
What should I do?
If I accept the offer, the downside is obviously that strong journals aren't eager to publish papers that have been rejected by similar journals, and it doesn't help me to put a "I was rejected" label on my paper's forehead. The upside is that the same referee seems fairly likely to recommend the paper for publication if they're chosen.
- Will the managing editor even bother (to contact the previous journal, if I ask them to)?