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After submitting to one of the journals in Elsevier recently, we got a response as following:

I think the manuscript can be improved and should be resubmitted, but the changes will probably take too long to accomplish within a "major revision" timeline.

The editor wrote that they were only able to find one reviewer and the final decision was a "reject."

The reviewer had made detailed suggestions for improvement and asked for files and figs. Within a month, we re-submitted to the same journal addressing all the revisions, mentioning these point-by-point in the communication to the Editor.

The journal sent back an automated message without any comments or reason stating it has been rejected, after a week from submission.

Does anyone have a clue on what is happening?

Is this a technical issue? In the past, Elsevier's system seems to have been hacked.

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    If you really think it is a tech issue, contact the editor. More likely is that the editor isn't happy with the current version.
    – Buffy
    Jul 22, 2022 at 14:08

1 Answer 1

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It sounds to me like 1) your original manuscript was rejected, 2) you tried to resubmit anyways, and 3) the journal rejected your resubmission without further consideration.

The result (3) sounds completely normal to me given (1) + (2); the place where something went wrong is when you tried to resubmit a rejected manuscript. Doing so likely seems rude to the editor, though I don't think this was your intent. It's like you asked if someone would have lunch with you, they said "no, sorry, I'm busy", and then you arrived at their office anyway with sandwiches. Maybe you thought that bringing sandwiches would fix things - after all, if someone is busy, wouldn't it be useful if someone else made them lunch? However, the message they gave was really just "No", despite the extra words used.

The editor may share some blame here, because their reasons for rejection were not particularly clear and persuasive. It would have been better that they just say "reject" was the final decision and not make up reasons about timelines to revise. I suspect that they saw far deeper problems in your manuscript than you are appreciating, and that the changes you made are comparatively superficial. Importantly, you are resubmitting to the editor, not this other reviewer, so addressing the reviewer's concerns may not be sufficient. I think there is an implied statement in the rejection that is missing:

I think the manuscript can be improved and should be resubmitted (somewhere else)

I suppose if you are uncertain, you could write the editor and ask them what has happened, but I suspect all they will do is confirm that your manuscript was rejected and that this means "do not submit a revision here".

The next step is to submit the latest version of the manuscript to a different journal.

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    @007 It's not normal to receive offers for publishing in academia, the way things work is you submit (to one journal at a time) and they review. If you're getting unsolicited offers by email or something, those are likely coming from "predatory publishers". These are not really "offers for publishing" they are "requests for money and we'll put it on our non-reputable website"; they don't care about your content, they care about your money.
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 22, 2022 at 14:54
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    @007 Whether other journals will take your paper is not really a matter of concern for the editor of this one.
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 22, 2022 at 15:02
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    @007 Academic publishing can be very frustrating. I'd recommend getting input on your manuscript from other researchers that your group trusts for advice - sometimes it's hard to see weaknesses in the work you've put so much time into. It's hard to pretend to be an unbiased third party.
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 22, 2022 at 15:10
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    @Allure, I would be surprised if a mainstream/non-predatory academic journal had an acquisitions editor; usually they sit back and wait for submissions. Academic publishers certainly have acquisitions editors who find book manuscripts to publish ... can you point to an academic journal that has an acquisitions editor ...??
    – Ben Bolker
    Jul 23, 2022 at 18:22
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    OK, I take it back.
    – Ben Bolker
    Jul 24, 2022 at 20:25

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