Is it possible to re-submit or re-consider a manuscript for a normal issue of the same journal that has rejected it for a special issue?

I am concerned about it since the subject of my manuscript partially overlaps with the topics of the special issue of the journal.

Would you opt for a normal issue or rather consider a special issue that relatively overlaps with your work?

  • The ones I have known about have been published in regular issues.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 17:48
  • What did the rejection say? it is different if it was rejected for poor fit to the special issue than if it was rejected for reasons of quality, etc.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 18:24
  • @Buffy It is not rejected. I have submitted it to the journal for a normal issue but there still is an option for it to be considered for a spacial issue and I am just not sure if I should opt for the available special issue that somewhat has overlap with our work (but not completely) or just ask the journal to consider the manuscript for a normal issue.
    – salehjg
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 18:39
  • Did the publisher give you this option for this paper explicitly?
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 18:43
  • @Buffy That is correct. But as far as I am concerned the topics overlap like 50%, maybe a bit more.
    – salehjg
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


If you submitted to a normal issue and an editor suggested that the paper might be appropriate for a special issue, then ask them about the consequences of rejection for the special on grounds of scope.

Different journals might have different policies on such things and you should know the policy of this journal before you take any action. Not being included in a special issue says little about the actual quality of the paper, as opposed to its subject matter.

The "issue" with special issues is that they are very limited in number of papers and pages and such. So, the journal will look for best fit by their standards. And there is probably more competition for special issues as they have a bit more prestige (by some measures). So, rejection from the special issue might not imply overall rejection. But it is the editor that will know these things. So ask. The editor will have a lot more scope for a regular issue than the special, provided that your paper passes the reviews.

  • 1
    This is the exact opposite of my general experience with special issues. In my experience, because their scope is so much narrower, they are typically less space constrained than normal issues.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 19:34
  • @jakebeal, but there are usually several normal issues, not just one. If there is no room in November, there might be in January. What is true for a single issue isn't for the journal as a whole, assuming it is periodic.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 19:37
  • Have you actually had the experience of being squeezed out of a special issue? What I've seen is that the SI is usually overly specific and the organizers really have to hustle to make sure they get enough to fill the issue.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 21:18
  • @Buffy Really depends on the field - in mine, special issue articles in some of the major journals are typically weaker. And some journals only have two or maybe four regular issues per year, and about as many special issues.
    – Lodinn
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 1:33

Submission to a special issue is generally the "best case" scenario for acceptance at a journal.

As long as you are correct that your topic fits within the scope of the special issue (which you can check by communicating with the organizers of the special issue), you are most likely to meet the thresholds for interest and significance and have the best odds of getting reviewers who are sympathetic, interested, and knowledgeable.

Thus, if you fit with a special issue, it is generally a good idea to submit to it, and if you get rejected from a special issue, you should probably plan to either restart the paper from scratch or else take it elsewhere.


Usually, you publish the manuscript in another journal.

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