Recently, after submitting a manuscript for publication, I received the following response:

Your manuscript, referenced below, has been considered for publication in XXX: "Article Title" Unfortunately, this manuscript on a fundamental topic does not fall under the range of topics that are covered by XXX, which focuses on the applied physical sciences. We recommend that you consider submission to an alternative venue.

My question is, what is the meaning of the sentence "We recommend that you consider submission to an alternative venue". To me, it sounds like a terse "good luck with that!" sign-off. However, that's an odd sentence, as they usually just write "no" in those cases. Does this imply anything particular about my submission?

  • 19
    "It's not you, it's me" :)
    – Suresh
    Dec 16, 2012 at 21:08
  • Would you please edit this question to give it a more descriptive title? Dec 16, 2012 at 21:28
  • I think @eykanal made usefully explicit what was too implicit previously... Good. And this does resonate with the potential problem that (not only) a novice may inadvertently misrepresent themselves by failing to be explicit about what seemed obvious to them, but was not obvious to others, etc. Not an easy error to overcome, but awareness of its possibility is very useful. Dec 17, 2012 at 1:33
  • It appears your paper is off-topic for the journal. An example would be submitting a paper on moduli spaces in Yang-Mills theory to an experimental physics journal. The former is dealing with the fundamental or underlying theory, whilst the journal is looking for experimental physics.
    – JNS
    Mar 5, 2015 at 11:49

3 Answers 3


From what you've said by itself, it's ambiguous. That is, if your paper really is on a topic not usually covered by that journal, then their remark is completely bland, just meaning what it says. If, at the other extreme, you are pretty sure that your paper's topic is exactly what is covered in the journal, then, yes, their "recommendation" is just a polite form of rejection.

If you are a beginner at this, it is possible that your understanding of what your own paper is about may have some quirks or limitations, or you've presented it in a way that dis-served you, or you've presented it in a way that confused or mis-directed the editors/referee, etc.

For example, giving inappropriate/inaccurate keywords can get a paper sent to an inappropriate referee, who may think the paper is misguided, while if you'd given different keywords, a different referee might think it was mainstream and wonderful.

Similarly, unfortunate choices in title, abstract, and introduction can set things off down the wrong path. Getting an opinion from an experienced person about the actual appropriateness of your paper for that venue is necessary before it's possible to understand the situation.


The journal is telling you that the paper you wrote does not fit the type of topics that they aim for. The recommendation at the end is to resubmit your paper to a journal which does fit the topic of your article. Looking at the comments, they are more an applied journal, while the paper you wrote deals with more fundamental issues.


The sentence "We recommend that you consider submission to an alternative venue" clearly means that your paper does not match the scope of the journal and should be submitted elsewhere. This indicates that your choice of journal was probably not right. There is a possibility that the editor was trying to suggest that you choose a journal that does not cater exclusively to the applied physical sciences.

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