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I have received a decision letter from a Q1 journal with following remarks:

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.

However, you may submit in the future better revision after resolving all these drawbacks mentioned by the reviewers, and as new revision

While a reviewer has mentioned "major revision", is this decision advising for resubmit after revising the paper? Does this mean "Reject and resubmit"?

  • Welcome to Academia SE. Can you please edit your question to clarify what exactly your problem is? The decision letter seems pretty clear and you seem to have understood it. Where and why are you doubting your interpretation? – Wrzlprmft Apr 13 '17 at 8:22
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While a reviewer has mentioned "major revision", is this decision advising for resubmit after revising the paper? Does this mean "Reject and resubmit"?

Yes, this means your manuscript is rejected, but you are free to submit a new version once you addressed the mentioned problems.

Note that whether one of the reviewers voted for Major Revision rather than Reject is completely irrelevant - it's the editor's decision that counts.

  • To add to your answer. R&R many times means something along these lines: "your paper is interesting and could potentially be published in our journal, but there are many issues to be taken care off". In otehr words, it is not a bad work, and we could see it published in our journal, given that you work more hard on the manuscript. – PsySp Apr 13 '17 at 9:02
  • I don't know if I'd say it's as encouraging as that, but more that it's making explicit the otherwise ambiguous question of whether the journal would permit a new submission of the same article. Some rejections are with prejudice: don't try again, you're wasting your time. – Fred Douglis Apr 13 '17 at 10:39
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    That is to say, I don't read this as advising in favor of resubmission. It is explicitly not rejecting the possibility. – Fred Douglis Apr 13 '17 at 10:41
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    No, I would never assume that a Reject & Resubmit is advising resubmission. It's a reject. They don't like it. If they would like it, they would probably have asked for a Major Revision. – xLeitix Apr 13 '17 at 11:22
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    @xLeitix some journals just don't ask for Major Revisions, since this will likely take quite a while which means that the time between receiving and publishing a paper goes up quite a bit. If they reject it but tell you to resubmit once the problems are resolved, they can keep the review time and time between receiving and publishing quite low, since they treat it as a new submission, which looks much better. "Angewandte Chemie" does this for example and they definitely want you to resubmit it to them. – DSVA Apr 13 '17 at 17:00
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(Edit: I just realized that DSVA already mentioned this as a comment to an answer; in any case I think it deserved to be made an answer)

Your question is important, because interpreting this editorial decision can shape your choice of resubmission, as mentioned in Nicole Ruggiano's answer.

It is therefore important to realize that "reject with invitation to resubmit" currently may really mean "major revision needed".

Of course, one wonders why an editor would not tell "major revision" if it is what he or she means; the point is that major revisions may take a long time to be implemented, so that the paper could end up being accepted, and published, very long after submission. But average time from submission to acceptance is now used by some authors when choosing where to submit, so to attract more submissions journals have an interest on making this number as small as possible. One way of doing that with little cost is to reject and invite to resubmit instead of asking for a major revision before reassessment: the official submission date will then be the second submission, not the first.

I think such a practice is unethical, of course, but that does not make it less real and one needs to be aware of it.

  • In my opinion both as author and reviewer, "Major revision" should only be used if the editor/reviewers are quite confident that the paper will indeed reach the required level for publication if the suggested revisions are made. I have seen editors recommend "Major revision" and, after a protracted multi-round process, reject the paper because it wasn't that good after all or the results of the new experiments weren't great. This is a miserable waste of time for everyone. In case of doubt, erring towards "Reject" is better. The possibility to resubmit is always there after all. – Al-Khwarizmi Apr 15 '17 at 14:24
  • I think there's a bit more difference between "major revision" and "reject and resubmit". In a major revision, there are standard deadlines (e.g. your revision is expected in 2 months) which don't apply to reject & resubmit. The editorial management system continues to track a major revision paper, but not a r&r one; a r&r paper is more likely to be reviewed by different reviewers as a result. Finally, a major revision decision means the first journal still expects a revision; r&r means you can submit elsewhere without having to withdraw. – Allure Apr 12 at 6:35
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Without additional information, I would take this response as a full rejection. It is possible that the editor finds your topic relevant, but that the comments from the reviewers warrant an entirely different paper, rather than revising parts of the manuscript you submitted. Typically, there would be a designation of "Major revision" if the editor felt as if the reviewers would be satisfied with changes to areas of the current manuscript. As for the re-submission comment, it may be that the editor feels that once the paper is rewritten, it could be submitted as a new, original manuscript. However, I typically incorporate the reviewer feedback in cases like this and submit it somewhere else after making edits - I rather have it published in a journal that isn't Q1 than wait month after month for more rejections at a top-tiered journal. You can always submit something else there at a later time. Good luck!

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I am sharing my experience here so that it could be informative for others.

As my paper was rejected from a Q1 journal, I addressed all the reviewer's comments and resubmitted to the same journal. After a week, I received rejection again from the editor with the following comments:

The article is rejected on mid April and resubmitted after a week or so, Still the issues stated by reviewers are not clearly resolved, This is not revised paper, and sending again to reviewers in this fashion is not recommended. You have to make considerable efforts to revise the paper and make it in the journal potential.

After this rejection, I immediately submitted the article to another Q1 journal having the similar reputation. After almost a month, I have received the minor revision and after one revision my manuscript was accepted.

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