If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.
175

Feel free to edit this answer to improve it, in particular to add other names you know to be used for the individual steps or to extend the maximum typical durations from your experience. The source for the diagram can be found here. Overview Initial Check This step is usually performed by the journal's administrative staff. It may include for example: ...


142

Check with the journal. Especially do this if the rejection email you received looks like an auto-generated email. No rational journal would act in such a way, so my gut feeling says there was a mistake somewhere, most likely human error. It is possible that, e.g., the final status of your manuscript was accidentally set to 'reject' instead of 'accept'.


112

These two issues are separate: if they reject your paper without comments, that's where you have to complain. They did not do a good job, reputable or not, and you are entitled to an explanatory review, especially since they wasted your time. But you should not link the issues. If you think the journal is not as good as it used to be, you can decide not to ...


104

Don't bother with more analysis, there is no point, since the paper should be withdrawn or rejected because of the plagiarism (if it isn't decline further review for this journal). Write a brief report along the lines The manuscript contains 7 pages which are almost verbatim copied from < plagiarized paper >. In view of this I refrain from any further ...


104

This is unacceptable. If this is a reputable journal, then you can make the point that they made you wait and the research results become stale, and that you have every right to expect them to honour their approval for publication. They simply cannot retroactively change whether the paper fits into aim/scope of the journal - that decision had been taken ...


71

You could try contacting the editor in chief of the journal to see if they could get the problem fixed. This worked for me when I had similar problems with a paper last year.


67

It's absolutely not usual practice and a clear case of the editor in charge being asleep at the wheel. This should not be happening: An editor's job is to find impartial reviewers and asking an author (or even someone close to the author) is definitely failing at this job. Just the same, it is unethical for you to accept such invitations. Politely point out ...


67

Because they are incompetent. That's about it, really. But don't lump all publishers/journals as one - the typesetters for one journal might not be the same as that for another journal, even one published by the same publisher, and of course there are good and bad employees everywhere.


59

Is it weird that the journal is now thinking me capable of reviewing a manuscript? Not really. Almost all scientists have their papers rejected on a regular basis and if this disqualified them from reviewing, journals would be running out of reviewers extremely quickly. Moreover, highly ranking journals reject papers mainly for their lack of importance, not ...


51

Submit somewhere else. The accept/reject decision is made by the editor, based on the recommendations of the referee(s). In this case, the editor felt that the referee's opinion of unsuitability, even without any explanation, was sufficient to reject. Maybe the editor felt that the unsuitability was self-evident upon inspection. Maybe the editor trusts ...


48

It varies by journal I'm sure but sometimes the line between "minor" and "major" revision is set by whether the reviewers wish to see the changes authors make in response to their comments before recommending acceptance. A "minor" revision would go straight back to the editor and then to production while a "major" one goes back to the reviewers first. This ...


48

If the review itself is not signed, it sounds like the unblinding was not deliberate. I would: Reply as if the review were anonymous Notify the editor in a separate, private message saying there may have been an error in showing the reviewer name


31

It is probably a good thing to do, just for the experience. It will also get you on the good side of the professor. However, make sure, in accepting, that the professor and others know that you haven't finished your degree yet. That might cause them to withdraw the invitation, of course, but it should be made clear.


30

Based on your comments, the typesetting problems are not just about ugly formatting, but they actually change the meaning of the article (and significantly increase the chance that people will misread it). This is not explained clearly in your question. Did you explain it clearly to the journal manager? He might think that you are a perfectionist who is ...


29

Just make the required changes and send the paper back to the editor. Don't worry about what it's called – it makes no difference to your situation whether it's called a major revision, a minor revision or a super-special changey thing. As to why it was described as a major revision, only the editor really knows that. Maybe it was even just a ...


29

As with any other serious issue, you don't need to waste your time with the paper that is obviously not publishable. Please note that 7 pages is a extreme case of plagiarism, and there is absolutely no way that such paper could be accepted in any serious journal. Reviewer's time is precious and I am sure editors know that. As with papers that are ...


28

Is it weird that the journal is now thinking me capable of reviewing a manuscript? No, it isn't. Rejecting your papers was a judgement about those specific papers, not about your personal abilities as a scientist. It doesn't indicate that the journal somehow thinks you, personally, aren't good enough for their journal, it just means those particular ...


28

I've had this happen before to a coauthor (they were neither the first nor last author in a list of ~6), who contacted the editor replying that obviously they couldn't review the paper. We had a little chuckle over it and moved on. Probably the editor was a bit embarrassed by their error, otherwise no harm done. I presume they used a list of previous ...


26

This is pretty disturbing. You should immediately contact the editorial board of the journal and explain the situation. I would also doubt the quality of the mentioned journal by looking at the series of events.


25

There are several factors that can play into this: Some journals have a strong editorial hurdle, i.e., a high desk-rejection rate, and the editor is expected to actually spend some time on the paper to judge its suitability for the journal. Thus editorial handling includes more than just finding a reviewer. Some editorial systems only indicate that a paper ...


22

I suspect you ticked the "available for reviewing" box when you submitted your earlier work via Elsevier's editorial system. Your name then showed up in a list of potential reviewers based on the keywords you entered at that time. It's possible that the people who handled your papers are different from the ones asking you to be a reviewer. While I ...


22

"Decision pending" means that the decision... is pending. They haven't decided yet. There isn't any secret code to deciphering the submission tracker. Things just always take much longer than we think they would.


22

I would ignore the inadvertent disclosure of the referee's name. It is unimportant. Do not name the referee in your manuscript.


19

Yes, it is fine to submit revisions early. The timescale doesn't really come into it. Either the revised paper is good enough for publication, or it is not. The logistics of when you carry out the work and how long it takes are entirely up to you. The important thing is that, in your covering letter, you explain in detail why you have chosen not to follow ...


19

Obviously, one should never, ever receive an invitation to review one's own paper, since that would make a mockery of peer review. Indeed, reviewing one's own paper is a good reason for retraction. On a paper with a vast number of middle authors (e.g., one of those 1000+ author papers), I can certainly imagine this happening by mistake. In a typical ...


18

As a relatively newfangled academic editor of PeerJ Computer Science, I can tell you that actually finding suitable reviewers is substantially more difficult than what I used to give it credit for. For many papers that I get on my virtual desk I am not actually an expert, so I need to invest some time to look over the literature of the area to figure out who ...


18

In addition to the Kerkyras answer, here is what happens all the time when I receive an invitation: The potential reviewer needs to find the time to skim the paper to form a well founded decision to accept or decline to review. I want to accept a review when I am sure that I have the expertise and time to do a good review. It takes about 2 minutes to ...


17

Chances are the editor noticed you authored a paper on a similar topic and is inviting you based on that. There's no harm doing this. You might feel you're not qualified, but you're being invited, therefore the editor thinks you're qualified. You shouldn't worry about writing a bad review either - full professors can write crappy reviews also, and if you ...


17

The fact that they addressed you as "Dr." doesn't mean anything. In situations like a reviewer invitation, where the editor is sending an email to someone they don't know well, it's common that they will address the email with some generic title like "Dr." or "Professor" even though the title may not actually apply to the recipient. It's just too much ...


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