This year, I submitted a research paper (case study) of a technology implementation to a peer reviewed journal. I waited approx. 2 months and the decision of the reviewer was to decline, because she considered it not to have the correct writing style for the journal.

What can be done, when is not the science and analysis being questioned, but rather the author's writing style ?

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    Did you consider changing the writing style? Maybe the reviewer has a point?
    – Louic
    Sep 14, 2021 at 13:36
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    Was this submitted in English? I don't want to sound rude, but your English isn't quite native-like. So I would strongly encourage you to have a more fluent speaker (or editing service) take a look. Sep 14, 2021 at 15:28
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    By style, did they refer to your actual writing style or rather the citation format etc.? Sep 14, 2021 at 17:59
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    What does 'style' mean exactly? Some publishers require submitted papers to have a certain 'style' (single column, double spacing) before they send papers out for review. Sep 14, 2021 at 19:24
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    @MiguelSilva-TechGuy "I can simply process the final research paper document, on a python script for a word polishing in a way it fits the editor most recent accepted papers writing styles" You have no idea what you're talking about, sorry. Sep 16, 2021 at 7:16

2 Answers 2


Likely you need to yield. I suspect that either the style is too informal or too pedantic. Readers of scientific paper have some expectations that you need to respect when possible.

The editor, of course, has the final say, and may agree or disagree with the reviewer. But the reviewer is probably familiar with the "expected" style of that journal. Ask the editor how much the style needs to be changed.

And, of course, examine some papers from that journal to get a sense of what the prefer to publish. Pioneers often get shot.

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    Also, consider that "not to have the writing style the journal" might be an euphemism. The reviewer might actually mean "unreadable due to language issues". There are professional services that can help.
    – user9482
    Sep 14, 2021 at 13:56
  • @Roland, that is what i really don't tolerate on scientific reviewers: being vague on a work area where is expected to be exact and factual. Nowadays Is also detrimental to both sides Sep 16, 2021 at 6:29
  • @MiguelSilva-TechGuy This is a cultural issue. I am a German. I can assure you that I provide reviews that are brutally forthright. People from some cultures have issues with being direct. And even I sometimes hesitate to point out language issues because I understand the struggle. We routinely use a language service before submitting our manuscripts.
    – user9482
    Sep 16, 2021 at 6:37
  • @Roland, i understand what you say. And Germans are known to be direct. The exact opposite of Portuguese. And in that sense I'm more up north too. Sep 16, 2021 at 6:53

Team up with an experienced researcher. Many researchers are involved in the training of PhD students and, consequently, are used to working with people who lack experience in the writing of academic publications. For some, getting sub-optimal writing into shape might even come quite natural, and can lead to a win-win situation where both you and the researcher derive a benefit from a joint publication.

Your best bet are researchers with a background in the specific research area in which your paper is situated.

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    Grammatical revisions wouldn't merit authorship in my fields Sep 14, 2021 at 19:47
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    @AzorAhai-him- True, I assume that the editing would go significantly beyond grammar revisions. In my field, the main roadblock for inexperienced writers is that they don't know to "shape the story" of a paper. Sep 14, 2021 at 19:53
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    I guess that would still be borderline whether that's still worth authorship to me. Then again, it costs very little and if the field is better for getting this paper out there then it's probably fine Sep 14, 2021 at 20:05
  • @lighthousekeeper Everyone Likes this answer, but as everyone knows, in academia, teaming up with an experienced researcher is not easy and it has a really high cost (in time). So your solution to me sounds much like demagogy / scientific politics at best. Sep 16, 2021 at 6:27
  • @MiguelSilva-TechGuy Yes, if you want to have an outcome that meets the requirements, you will need to invest some time. My point is that you will probably waste even more time, on top of the time you've already wasted, if you keep doing this on your own, without input from someone more experienced. Sep 16, 2021 at 7:13

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