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My manuscript underwent peer review at a big journal. The manuscript was revised but ultimately rejected due to language issues, even though the reviewers acknowledged the study was of good quality.

I am wondering whether it would be appropriate to write an email to the reviewers, or in my case, the editor (since the review was single-blind), to inquire if they would be interested in collaborating with me to improve the paper?

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    The answer to the question in the title is yes, but the problem with your proposed course of action is that helping you fix languages issues in a manuscript does not entitle them to be co-authors. Jan 16 at 14:32

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I see no problem with this --- in fact, I think there are often situations where the reviewers would make good coauthors if they are interested in the paper. You should note that reviewers may be quite senior in the field in some cases and may be uninterested in acting as coauthors, but it is worth a try.

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If the reviewer(s) did not disclose their identity, it is already a sign they do not want to be pursued further about the paper under discussion.

My advice is to read again carefully their review and take their message literally: do a thorough review of the language/style in the writing of your study, the material is of good quality, but it is poorly communicated.

The reviewers are expert in the field, they may have interest in supporting and cooperating towards expansion of the scientific knowledge. However, they clearly do not see a need to improve the scientific quality of your work, so they are unlikely to contribute.

If you nonetheless contact the editor, take into account that the editor may have good reasons to shield their pool of experts from authors interactions, at least but not at last to avoid undue influence (authors may be well known influential professors and reviewers may be temp postdoc on a thin line...).

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    In most blind reviewing systems that I know of, professional ethics FORBID reviewers from disclosing their identities (to prevent the author from trying to influence them). So, I do not agree that anything the reviewers say would suggest anything positive or negative about their openness to such collaboration.
    – Tripartio
    Jan 16 at 10:45
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    @Tripartio In most blind review system I am familiar with, the reviewers have the right to anonimity. It is not an obligation. Reviewers can renounce to this right anytime they want, and they sometimes do, after final decision (like in this case).
    – EarlGrey
    Jan 16 at 13:34
  • I guess we operate in different academic communities. But I think my view here is probably more prevalent (e.g., see the accepted answer here: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/14358/…). Regardless, I doubt that it is very common in practice that reviewers would take the time to sign their names even after peer review is over, even if it were considered acceptable. I am genuinely curious: is that actually a common practice in your discipline?
    – Tripartio
    Jan 16 at 14:13
  • @Tripartio "sometimes", I never said it is common. But it is a possibility. And one that is given by the reviewers to the authors. If the reviewer wants to show an opening to collaborate/discuss in person, they provide their identity at the final review.
    – EarlGrey
    Jan 16 at 14:21

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