I got a rejection after one review cycle, with a comment that reviewer comments are useful and will help you in submission to another journal. Can I ask the editor's opinion on which journal to target?

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    You can ask, but be prepared not to get an answer. In the situations I'm familiar with, the editor won't have studied your paper in enough detail to give you a useful answer, so the best (s)he can do would be to pass the question on to the reviewer. But, considering the reviewer has already done some unremunerated work for the editor in reviewing the paper, the editor might not feel like bothering the reviewer again. – Andreas Blass Sep 20 '15 at 18:21
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    If you are a student and have an advisor, ask her or him. – Massimo Ortolano Sep 20 '15 at 18:27
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    Note that there's a difference between rejecting a paper because it's out of scope or doesn't meet quality level of this journal, and rejecting a paper because it doesn't seem publishable in general. In the latter case, the editor's statement that "reviewer comments... will help you in submission to another journal" may be just a way to cushion the blow of rejection, not an indication that the editor is actually recommending that you submit the paper (in anything like its current state) to another journal. – ff524 Sep 20 '15 at 18:41
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    Possible , I guess asking him to recommend a journal is one way to find out – dEEPAK Sep 20 '15 at 18:47
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    Being a native Chinese speaker, I can tell you this is not a Chinese proverb. You can refer to the question Is this a Chinese Proverb? on Chinese Language SE. – scaaahu Sep 21 '15 at 3:01

Sometimes a referee or editor will offer an unsolicited suggestion. When that doesn't happen, asking for suggestions would be unconventional. As an editor, if an established professional asked me for suggestions, I'd be a little annoyed (they should be able to figure that out themselves), and I'd give a terse reply like "Sorry, I'm not sure what the best place for your paper would be." If a beginning researcher asked me, or anyone dealing with a truly unusual situation, I would try to be more helpful. The response you get may depend on the editor, but the worst case scenario is probably annoying the editor a little and getting no reply. (I don't think there's any risk of dreadfully offending anyone, assuming you don't press the editor further if he/she doesn't reply or seems impatient.) I would ask the editor only if you don't have any mentors you could ask, but in that case it could be worth a try.


They are telling you "this isn't good enough for our journal". They will be very reluctant (for professional courtesy if nothing else) to give a list of "lesser" (or "better, for that matter) journals in their area. Perhaps in a informal conversation in an aisle somewhere, never in writing.

They might suggest some if the problem is that the paper is out of scope, but that is not your case as I understand it.

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