Recently, one of my papers was rejected from a prestigious journal published by a well known publishing house. I received two reports. Both of them made the same MISTAKE by claiming that I assumed a restrictive condition (which was assumed only in an AUXILIARY result, not for the final result of the paper). This INACCURACY was the main reason for rejection. Is there a possibility to bring this complaint to the attention of the publishing house? P.S. I must add that both reports (that I suspect that is from only one person) say that the paper is very interesting and contains many relevant results. P.P.S. It looks like all the answers you suggested deal with very honest editors. What about cases in which they publish their collaborators and their students papers. By the way their students papers are not subsequently cited in the literature, but they keep publishing those authors. Besides, they kept my paper almost one year before sending me the so called reports.


1 Answer 1


If you think the reviewers have badly misunderstood your paper, the usual course of action would be to contact the editor who handled the paper, explain the mistake made by the reviewers, and request that the editor either have the reviewers reconsider the paper or send it to other reviewers. This is not the sort of thing that one would normally escalate to the publisher, since they are not usually qualified to review technical issues or professional opinions, and in any case would (should!) be loathe to interfere with the journal's editorial independence.

Be prepared, however, that the editor may simply let the rejection stand, on any of the following grounds or others:

  • It was your responsibility to write the paper in such a way as to clearly state its results. If the reviewers misunderstood your result, then that indicates that it is not clearly written, and hence not suitable for publication.

  • The editor feels, based on other points in the reviews or on his/her own opinion, that the paper is not strong enough.

As such, you may want to just drop the matter, revise the paper to state your results even more clearly, and submit somewhere else.

Your suspicion that the two reviewers were actually the same person is a much more serious allegation, as that would be an abuse of the peer review process. If you honestly believe that is the case, you should contact the journal's editor-in-chief with your evidence. I would only escalate to the publisher if the editor-in-chief does not appear to investigate the matter appropriately, or if the handling editor is the editor-in-chief. However, you should clearly separate that from your paper - if it seems to those in authority that your concern is mostly with your paper, rather than academic integrity in general, then your claims may be taken less seriously. (The indiscriminate use of words in all capitals will also not help your claims be taken seriously. Just a suggestion.)

And keep in mind that even in this case, you may well still want to submit your paper somewhere else. The outcome of that process won't be the automatic acceptance of your paper - at best, it will be a long investigation, a shake-up of the editorial board, and then, maybe, an offer to reconsider your paper from scratch.

  • Thanks Nate. I just did what you suggested and I am waiting for their answer. What if they don't answer? Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 2:40
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    Thanks again Nate. The reason why I want to make a "little fuss" about this is that I have reasons to suspect a very cliquey behavior and I want to stop it if I can. My younger colleagues deserve a more honest academic environment. Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 2:50

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