I published an article few months ago in a journal. I sent another article to the same journal, in which I improved the design idea and enhanced the computation. I was told that my second article was sent to Prof. X (name was provided) as a topic editor.

After about 70 days, I got an editorial rejection due to the article not being within the scope of the journal. In the online submission site, it said that my article was under review for the last 70 days. In the end, my article was not even sent to referees... is that normal?


Yes, it is normal that articles get rejected as not in the scope of the journal. Yes, it can take a long time for the people in charge (often doing this pro bono) to get around to take a look at an article.

So you published something related before in the same journal. OK, maybe they just want "new results", not the elaboration/extra details on previous ones. Or they don't want "enhanced computation" (presumably more detailed results), and prefer description of methods. Without an awful lot of additional information, we can't tell. Besides, whatever the case may be, the powers that be at that particular journal have the last say. If we consider it normal or not, is totally irrelevant.

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  • Actually, my second article to the journal has a new design for the same device, and some improved calculations of the mathematical model. The main issue is that it took them 70 days for editorial rejection which was suppose to be after 10-15 days. Also, the journal website should not say it is under review if it is not even sent to a referee. These are miss leading and inaccurate information that lead to more delay in publication process.... – zoweil Sep 5 '15 at 16:48
  • @zoweil referees are not the only people who review which is information included n the answer. Editors are also often involved. – virmaior Sep 5 '15 at 16:56

It's absolutely normal to experience some degree of inconsistency in how a journal judges its scope. From what you have described, it seems likely that both of your papers were somewhat borderline, and the first editor made the judgement call one way while the second made it the other way. That's entirely normal and reasonable, because judgements differ between editors, no matter how consistent one might attempt to be.

What's not normal is being forced to wait 70 days for a desk rejection. In my experience, editorial rejection is typically very fast, within a couple of weeks at most. More than two months time is enough for a full peer review.

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  • I was complaining about the 70 days period, for a decision that takes only 10 days, beside this I did not even get a feedback from any referees. Rejection is ok, but not getting any feedback from referees that is not ok after this long time.... – zoweil Sep 6 '15 at 4:42
  • @zoweil I agree: the edit should not have sat on the article for 2+ months. Unfortunately, some journals are not very responsible about their workflow. The best thing to do is to avoid those journals, if you can. – jakebeal Sep 6 '15 at 5:11

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