Two out of three reviewers rejected the paper I had submitted saying that it is not of high scientific content. But the third reviewer suggested "publish after minor revision."

The paper is open for revisions. Does my paper stand a chance of acceptance after revision?

Why is it open for revisions when majority 2/3 of the reviewers had rejected it?

5 Answers 5


Does my paper stand a chance of acceptance after revision?

Yes. If it didn't, it would have been rejected. Now how good of a chance it has is another question entirely.

Why is it open for revisions when majority 2/3 of the reviewers had rejected it?

Because peer review is not voting. Perhaps the editor disagrees with the other reviewers. Or found the third reviewer's arguments particularly compelling. Or is in a generous mood today, and wants to leave the paper open for a "Hail Mary" revision that dramatically improves the paper.

  • 8
    Fomite is spot on. Reviewers make recommendations and the Editor decides. I can think of cases in the past in which the Editors for journals I help edit have decided against adopting reviewer recommendations. For example, this happened when the Editor wanted to draw attention to the subject matter because it might impact policy or funding in the field.
    – user65587
    Dec 13, 2016 at 7:05

I believe your paper has substantial chances of getting finally accepted, if you can address adequately all the three reviewers' concerns.

Regarding the reason for the apparent discrepancy between two reviewers and one reviewer and the editor, I think it has to do mainly with priority and the actual reasons provided by the reviewers.

If your paper is not that perfect but perceived by the editor (and reviewers) as being scientifically hot, it may be deemed suitable for publication, even if only to foster scholarly discussion.

In addition, if the reasons accounting for the rejection recommendations are addressable, at least in the eyes of the editor, then such recommendations may seem less stringent.

Furthermore, it might be that the two rejecting reviewers are seen as less competent or independent than the other one.

In any case, this scenario tells you that this editor likes to manage the journal with some subjectivity, which is not a bad thing in itself.

One question though: did he ask for a de novo resubmission?


Sometimes conference management software has glitches, or it might be human error, or - indeed, it may very well be the case that your paper might still be considered after revision.

What you should really do is just ask the program committee chair or contact people. Tell them: "XYZ happened and now my paper is open for revision. Is this a technical glitch or will it be considered after revision?" - and they'll give you the definite answer.

(of course, until they've answered, assume you should submit a revision so as not to waste time.)


There is no really a systematic way or standard reasons for acceptance or rejection. Actually, it's all about the personal judgment of the editor-in-chief. Myself, I had once 3 reviewers who said accept as it is and one said it should be rejected because his colleague in the math department told him mathematically the approach is wrong. So the editor-in-chief decided to reject not even a major review.

I have seen more crazy cases where papers were rejected because of only one reviewer. One reviewer for instance said literally "sorry for wasting your time. I don't like your work" and this was enough for the editor-in-chief to reject the paper. Then the paper was accepted in a way better and very prestigious IEEE transactions journal.

To summarize what I said, unfortunately this process is not and will never be fair, however, the scientific community is doing its best to make it as fair as possible. On the other hand, there is a bright side in this story which is wherever you publish your work even in a low quality journal or conference it should stand for itself and it will attract too much attention if the work is of a good quality.


The reason that it was not rejected is, that the reviewers are advising a decision. They don't make the decision per se. Apparently the editor likes your paper and think it is significant, therefore try to revise the paper and adress the issues the reviewers raised. Also include or adress the issues by the reviewers who rejected the paper. This is vital but sometimes tedious because the reviewers usuallaly critize things you think are not important to the paper, but this is part of the process...

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