8

Given the editor's comments reported below, is it worth appealing this rejection or one should submit to another journal?

At the rate of improvement that has occurred over the last revision, the paper will not be acceptable within a reasonable number of revisions. Consequently, your paper is being declined. The reviewer comments are very helpful and should assist you to prepare the paper for consideration in another journal. Reviewers' comments on your work have now been received. You will see that they are advising against publication of your work. Therefore I must reject it. For your guidance, I append the reviewers' comments below. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider your work.

  • 17
    Move on to another journal. There is no reason to appeal a rejection, particularly when the reviewers and the editor agree on the rejection of your manuscript. – Alexandros Sep 20 '15 at 14:06
  • 17
    A reject is a reject. Reject != major revision. There is nothing more to discuss with this journal or this editor – Alexandros Sep 20 '15 at 14:21
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    I don't think the problem is a delay in submitting the first revision; it sounds to me as if the problem is the quality of the first revision. Specifically, the editor seems to say that the first revision produced so little improvement in the paper that, if further revisions produce equally little improvement, then an unreasonable number of revisions would be needed to bring the paper up to publishable quality. – Andreas Blass Sep 20 '15 at 18:24
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    The way that I am reading this, the editor is not happy with how things went, and that may include parts of your correspondence with him. – Carsten S Sep 20 '15 at 21:14
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    rate indicates both time and the quantum of revision — The intended meaning is clearly the latter, because the sentence ends with "...a reasonable number of revisions", not "...a reasonable amount of time." – JeffE Sep 20 '15 at 22:25
34

Appeals are usually intended to be pursued when you think there was a serious procedural problem with the way your paper was handled, resulting in a decision that was not properly based on your paper's content. Some examples I might think of:

  • Reviewers were not qualified to judge the paper, or their reports were of extremely low quality (suggesting they may not have read the paper or given it serious consideration)

  • Editor or reviewers have a conflict of interest

  • Editor or reviewers show evidence of bias or prejudice against the author

  • Other unprofessional behavior on the part of editors or reviewers

None of that seems to apply here (unless there is something you haven't mentioned). It sounds like the reviewers read your initial submission and said it wasn't acceptable for publication as it was; it needed significant revision. You made some revisions but they are not satisfied. So you still don't have a version which they consider suitable for publication. If the editor thought it was worth the time to keep revising it, he could let you do that, but he doesn't. So your paper is rejected.

It sounds to me like this decision was properly made based on the reviewer's opinion of the paper's content, with which the editor concurs. You may disagree with that opinion, but simple disagreement isn't grounds for appeal - you'd have to show the editor and/or reviewers did something objectively wrong.

So submit to another journal. But first, go through the reviewers' comments carefully, and make the changes you feel are appropriate. They might need to be extensive. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the reviewers didn't think that your revision did a good enough job of addressing their concerns, so maybe you need to think more carefully about what they said. The reviewers for the new journal may well have the same concerns.

  • Does it make sense to ask the editor's suggestion regarding which journal to target for re submission.( Given his suggestion for submitting to other journal) This is a high impact top tier journal – dEEPAK Sep 20 '15 at 18:19
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    @dEEPAK: I don't think so. Finding the right journal for your paper is your job, not his. If he had a specific journal to suggest, he would have already mentioned it. – Nate Eldredge Sep 20 '15 at 18:23

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