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I sent in a Manuscript to a journal apart of the Taylor and Francis group. The manuscript was rejected, but today I received an email from an editorial assistant from another journal associated with the Taylor and Francis group.

The email includes the manuscript number and includes a bit in the email stating that this email is regarding the transfer of your manuscript, with the journal name of the journal that rejected the manuscript initially as well as the title of my manuscript.

I went to the journal from where the editorial assistant emailed me, and the editorial board listing does not include editorial assistants, but the email extension for the editorial office matched hers.

Basically, I have no idea what to think. I have never heard of this happening personally. I don't know what to do, if I should email back, or even if I have anything to worry about. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, Thank you.

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    Maybe the journal you submitted to has an automatic "if paper is rejected but it's a close call, we submit it to a weaker journal" clause? (I'm not commending or criticizing the practice, but I believe it exists.) – darij grinberg Dec 20 '16 at 0:35
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Journals published by the same publisher generally have a shared editorial system. They may actually share some or all of their editorial staff. So the second journal's editorial staff may be aware of what has been submitted to the first journal.

Moreover, different journals have different levels of prestige. A top-tier journal is not going to be able to publish every correct paper they receive, only the most interesting/important ones. If the same publisher has lower-tier journals in the same area, it often makes the most sense to resubmit papers that are rejected by the top journal to its less prestigious sibling. The peer review process can be streamlined, since the publisher typically already has access to at least one round of referee reports. This head start on the review process can speed things up, which is generally advantageous for all concerned.

So if a paper is rejected by a top journal, not because it has serious problems with the content, but because it is deemed to be not important enough, a less-prestigious sibling journal may contact the authors and suggest submitting it to the second journal instead. Sometimes, depending on the what the referees have already had to say, the lower-tier journal may offer to publish the paper without any further rounds of reviewing. (I had this happen to me once; and, in fact, I got the offer to publish the paper without change in the lower journal a few hours before I even got the rejection from the better journal.)

In this case, the editorial staff may have jumped the gun by assuming that you are automatically planning to resubmit your paper to the next journal down on the prestige ladder. However, their is otherwise nothing untoward going on. Clearly, the lower-level journal is interested in your paper, and there's a good chance that submitting it there will the best course of action to take.

  • also another question, from what I have described with the knowledge of my manuscript ID and the level of detail known about my manuscript, should I be confident that the email is legitimate? – Eric L Dec 20 '16 at 2:40
  • @EricLawson: Yes, from what you describe, I see no reason to beieve that the e-mail is not legitimate. – Buzz Dec 20 '16 at 12:37

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