I submitted manuscript to a reputed journal(computer science field). It was desk rejected after 6 weeks. Summary of reason given by the editor are

  1. It is purely a paper applicable in the field of "computer network" and do not match the scope of the journal
  2. Performance evaluation is based on simulation and not on real world data

I feel the reasons given by the editor is unfair . Because

  1. The journal website itself states that they encourage "theoretical and simulation based paper " in their web page

  2. I have sufficient reasons to believe that my paper is within their journal scope

Rejecting the paper if the journal is not interested in publishing is acceptable. But what makes things sad is the time they took to do the same and for reasons which I feel is unfair.

I have politely mailed my defence for the issues raised for the rejection to the journal

My question is

  1. In general, does author's opinion on the rejection matter ? If communicated , will someone read it ?

  2. What are the extra things we should consider while applying to a journal, given the paper is good and within scope of the journal?

  3. Are there instances of unfair rejections in reputed journals ?

  • Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Sep 27, 2021 at 8:03
  • It is up to an editor to shape the contents of a journal. An editor may like to 'see' certain technology or ideas or hot areas. A journal on simulation may be focused on simulation technology as opposed to its use in computer networks. For example, it is interested in a simulator that allows one to simulate the universe on a standard desktop computer. Sep 27, 2021 at 10:04
  • @VitaminE thanks for the comment. But i want to point out that the website of the journal explicitly states that they "encourage" results based on simulations. Agreed that editor in chief have freedom to accept and reject paper according to his/her wish but, "wish" is subjective and arbitrary(which is unscientific). There should be a code of conduct isn't it? People in this forum consider my views as a debate and do not take it personally. Sep 27, 2021 at 10:30
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    There are unfair rejections, however there are also deserved rejections where the editors don't put enough time into writing the reasons down so that the real reason for rejection is clear to the author. This happens because they have very many papers to handle and not enough time. It is well possible in your case that the general topic and approach of your paper were fine but at the standard of that journal they look for more insight and originality (of course not knowing whether this is so in your specific case). Sep 27, 2021 at 21:42
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    @user5777338 As far as I understand no one here knew you come from a developing country before you mentioned it in your second-to-last comment, so I am not sure how you can claim that you have been discriminated based on your nationality. Sep 30, 2021 at 7:26

2 Answers 2


Yes, there are always unfair rejections. Editors are human, too, and they have many papers to handle. But we'd have to hear also the other side of the coin to know if yours is really one such case.

In any case, at this point your energy is better spent on submitting the paper to another journal rather than trying to argue with the editor at this one. It does not matter whose fault it is; just move on. To improve your chances, before you submit your manuscript to another journal take some time to review your introduction, conclusions and cover letter, trying to show how your paper fits with current literature and the scope of the journal.


I’m not sure the reasons can be fair or unfair: they are subjective but it’s not necessarily the same as fair.

The editor (or an associate editor) looked at your paper and figured this would not be very useful to the readers. Take it to mean just that: you probably sent your paper to the wrong journal.

Now 6 weeks for a desk reject isn’t that bad: editors don’t stop their work whenever your submit a paper, there might be a backlog etc, and the handling editor is likely busy with all kinds of stuff. 6 months is excessive (but not unheard of) but 6 weeks isn’t that bad.

Next, it could well be that the editor asked a couple of people to function as referees and these guys replied something like “not interested”, so the editor had a look and decided it wasn’t up their alley, or it wasn’t worth the trouble considering how many submissions they receive.

Finally, if the manuscript was desk rejected, why would you want to fight this? Do you really expect the editor to change his or her mind after 6 weeks? Even if you convince the editor and the manuscript goes to regular refereeing, do you really expect the the paper will be quickly published? In other words, if you fight this you have no guarantee it will be published (remember the editor chooses the referees), and even if it is published it might take quite a long while. So pragmatically why not find another journal?

  • Thanks for the answer. Yes know I have to move on and I have. I am not arguing with that editor and do not expect to reconsider the decision . My point is, in a fast moving technology world 6 weeks is a lot of time. May be a long review time is justified for fundamental branch of science because fundamental science age very slow. But in tech world things become obsolete very soon. So editors waste authors time and still expect "cutting edge research manuscript" in their journals. That's sort of contradictory Oct 3, 2021 at 17:07
  • Your expectations might be a little high when it comes to review times, whether or not you think your work is time-sensitive . Do you yourself depend on work published in the last 3 months? If you really believe you work is this critical, consider uploading it on a preprint repository (v.g. arXiv) so the result is public before it is peer reviewed. Oct 3, 2021 at 17:10
  • First, all those published papers that I have read, I can't comprehend how many of those work will actually land as a product either by the researcher or by some company. I understand the need for novelty. But I can't understand how editors judge "level of novelty". Is there any mathematical or logical scale that judgement? Oct 3, 2021 at 17:16
  • @ZeroToHero.Tech is time sensitive. Any engineering background person will know ...6 month is a very long time in tech world ...Ask any developer how often they need to update skills of they want to be on top of things Oct 3, 2021 at 17:17

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