Recently I got a rejection of my paper from a reputed journal. There were two reviewers who reviewed my paper.However reviewer1 accepted it while reviewer 2 rejected with some suggestions that can be well implemented. The strong reason for the rejection mentioned by the reviewer 2 was the some similarity with my earlier paper.

My Query One of the associate editor of this journal is the well known author working in my field and he has also received the mail notification regarding rejection of my paper. Perhaps he has reviewed this work as well. Shall I contact him to discuss about this rejection and ask for help to further improve our work as per his suggestions. I am fully confused and depressed with this rejection. As I was expecting this paper to be published in that journal.

I need help and suggestions. It would be of great help if someone could help me in such case how to write mail. As English is not my first language I find it hard to write a convincing mail.

  • The English in your question is fine. Compose and send the email.
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 2:07
  • 1
    Why not follow the suggestions of Reviewer #2 and resubmit it?
    – Bill Barth
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 2:18
  • @BillBarth Thanks for the reply. But, I want to ask is it wrong to contact to that editor (perhaps reviewer) of my work.
    – Srijan
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 2:24
  • Just out of interest: How do you know that the associate editor has received the mail notification regarding the rejection of your paper?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 7:33

2 Answers 2


No, you should probably not contact the Associate Editor.

First off, referees do not generally make decisions about accepting or rejecting a paper. Referees make recommendations to associate editors and editors, and they, in turn, make decisions. Thus, the associate editor who was cc'ed on the email to you is probably the decision-maker who read the reports from the referees and decided to turn down the paper. This person also knows who the referees were, and is in a situation where this input can be appropriately scaled by the referees review history, level of experience, etc. For what its worth, I consider it bad form when refereeing to make my recommendation known to the author. I give an honest assessment, describe my issues, and then make my recs to the editors in the appropriate fields. (I also make it my personal policy for manuscripts, at least, to never say anything that I wouldn't say to the authors face)

There may be check boxes in the reviews that you aren't privy to. Even your reviewer who seemed to recommend acceptance may not have been all that enthusiastic about it, or may not have thought the paper to be very important.

You should make use of the feedback you got, which suggested that there was too much similarity with another paper of yours. You should make the paper clearer as to what the new findings are. Take a step back and determine if, given the magnitude of this extension, is this worthy of a full paper, or perhaps the field would be better served by some sort of short report. Then pick the appropriate venue for publication.

There are some legitimate cases where you might drop the editor a note. Certainly, if something "very wrong" happened during the review process, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. My experience is that this is rare, and most reviews are fine.

Your most productive action at this point would be to discuss the reviews with a mentor.

  • Thank you very much for the answer. You are absolutely write looking at cced mail I guessed about the possible associate editor who might have recommended for the reject. What I wanted to ask is that the associated editor in the cc mail is a very well known author of my field. I was asking shall I contact to him about the possible improvement. Since he is the well known person of my area so I though of contacting him. And I want to know whether it would be correct to contact him.
    – Srijan
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 9:51
  • 1
    Still, the answer is probably not to contact him. Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 13:43

No, I don't think you should contact the editor. Journal editors are very busy people, and they don't have time to offer individual comments on every paper.

If you think that your paper did not get a fair review, for example if you have reason to believe the reviewer did not read or understand the paper, then that is worth contacting the editor about. But if you simply want to discuss the paper, the editor will likely view your request as not worth their time. They have already given you their comments on the paper, in the form of a rejection decision: in other words, the editor does not consider your paper appropriate for publication in the journal, and a discussion is not going to change that.

I also think asking for suggestions on how to improve the paper would be inappropriate, because you have already been given suggestions, in referee #2's report. My advice: make the improvements suggested by referee #2 and try submitting the paper to a different journal where it might be a better fit.

  • 5
    I would generally caution against acting under the motive that your reviewers "did not read or understand the paper." Make sure by checking with others in the field that the problem isn't in your writing.
    – virmaior
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 3:30
  • 1
    Also, if you resubmit the paper or submit it to another journal, you should try to make clear what the differences to your earlier paper are.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 7:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .