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192

While you might be able to appeal to the editor, once you've been rejected, you're probably not going to get a change in decision. I would instead recommend focusing on a new submission to another journal. Before you do so, however, I would strongly advise performing a major revision on your presentation of the proofs. Assuming that your proofs are in ...


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'.


106

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 ...


105

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 ...


94

From what I've heard the NSF fellowship is not an easy one to get, and having one seems to carry some sort of prestige. Sure, the program may have accepted you on the ground that they don't have to pay you, but the fact that you have an NSF fellowship may have changed the admission committee's perception of your ability, which could be what tipped the ...


87

If you were asked to re-review an "unchanged" manuscript there are a number of things you can do (e.g., Asked again to review a paper, when the authors don't wish to modify it). The issue is that this is not the case. You are no longer part of the review process. The first thing you should do is STOP. The behavior you have engaged in so far has been ...


85

Getting a rejection sucks. There is not much you can do about it. My wife and I have talked about this a lot and as candidates the only thing we wanted to know was how close we were and how we stacked up against the people who beat us. When sitting on search committess we have had various levels of success trying to inform candidates in the rejection letter ...


80

You don't say what your field is. I think you would get a better answer if you did, as cultural norms differ. My answer is from the perspective of a pure mathematician. The first thing I want to say is that, given absolutely no specific technical information about your situation, your post gives me the impression that your work is most likely not correct. ...


78

@Fomite's answer is spot on. I would like to expand further on the differences between a biased review, a lazy review, a significantly erroneous review, and a negative review, and which do/don't warrant an appeal. The examples given in this post come from a contest held by the always-excellent FemaleScienceProfessor. Quite a few are real reviews, or based ...


76

Probably not what you want to hear, but... There's the option of submitting it somewhere else?


75

You seem to be conflating "Bias" and "Negativity". Bias would imply that your paper was being reviewed unfairly, either because of its content, or its authors - if they were known or divined by the reviewer. It's entirely possible, and fairly standard, to get negative reviews you disagree with. When it comes down to it, your paper was rejected, and the only ...


74

There isn't anything between the lines. It's simply a rejection. The editor and reviewers feel that your paper is clearly not strong enough for this journal, and they're telling you so. Note that JAMS is an extremely selective journal, generally considered one of the top four out of all the many hundreds of journals in mathematics. It is very very hard to ...


74

Top journals, and JAMS is at the very top (most mathematicians probably will not have ever seriously considered submitting there), typically have 2 first passes before a proper peer-review (referee): (1) editorial consideration and (2) "quick" opinions from experts. Which is to say, there are 2 common ways for a paper to be rejected before it is sent for a ...


70

Higgs's 1964 paper on the Higgs mechanism was rejected by Physics Letters (where his preliminary paper on the subject was published). He was told that it was not suitable for rapid publication and that he should send it to another journal. However, he reportedly heard that the paper had been rejected because the editors felt that "it was of no obvious ...


67

First, a note: the editor (or editors, or editorial committee) is solely responsible for the decision to publish or reject a submitted manuscript. Reviewers are often (not always) called in and their reports provide help to the editor in evaluating the manuscript. But, at the end of the day, it is the editor who makes the call, so the situation you describe ...


64

A "major revision" decision generally implies that, if the reviewers' concerns are addressed, the paper will probably be published. (See this related question, What does a "major revision" mean?) Sometimes when a paper is poorly written, it's hard for reviewers to judge its technical merits. (Because the presentation is so poor as to make it ...


57

"Following a review of the manuscript by the editorial board, we have regretfully decided not to consider this work for publication. We thank you for your interest in our journal and..." This sounds like an editorial ("desk") reject more than anything else. Hence, there typically is no formal, written review that the editor could forward to you. It is just ...


56

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 ...


53

F'x has ably covered one possible reason: that it's not you, it's them. I'm going to cover the other side of things. That is, starting from the assumption that the editor has made a good decision. The authors should consider rewriting the abstract and introduction. If two peer reviewers didn't understand the paper, the paper may just need a savage ...


52

I feel the only way out is to resubmit it for another conference in near future. That about sums it up. Negative reviews and rejections are hard to swallow. They are common in academia and you cannot let them get to you. The best thing to do is step away from the manuscript. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to scream, scream. After a while, generally ...


51

I think: if I inform the professor right after I am aware of the decision, then I may hurt his/her feeling, because he/she was for me; if I inform him/her later, then the same concern takes place and I cannot justify why I procrastinated letting him/her know it. You shouldn't worry about this at all: Faculty members generally aren't particularly ...


49

There is an extremely simple rule for dealing with reviews that make you unhappy. Here is the rule: it's not them, it's you. This rule of thumb implies, it is never the reviewers' fault. Rather, it is always your responsibility. Oh, you say the reviewers didn't seem to understand the paper? Well, that's your fault. It is your responsibility to make ...


47

In short, no. In long, this is a normal stage of going through a PhD: nobody gets all of their work published all of the time. The best case scenario is that the reviewers have given you some useful feedback to work with, in which case now you're in a better position than you were before. Worst case, you got a flat reject with no helpful feedback (which ...


42

Should I put any endeavor in contacting the PC Chairs and ask them to explain this strange stand? Should I explain my stand that the work has been drastically changed and improved from what it was when submitted? I think an email to the PC would be appropriate. Don't expect the answer to change, however, and it may very well have been an administrative ...


42

Between the two reviewers, you've created quite a nasty situation. First -- the author did NOTHING wrong. Second, you and your colleague have done something very wrong. The fact that you know nothing substantive has changed means you were essentially handed the manuscript, which is very bad behavior on both your parts. My recommendation is that the new ...


40

It is your responsibility, not the referees', to make sure that a published proof is correct. The reviewers should make sure that the results have some merit; some check proofs line-by-line, and some merely check that the result is plausible and that the proof methodology looks sound. Sometimes errors slip by. Nevertheless, if the result later turns out ...


39

Journals and conferences tend to have a particular standard for novelty. Some (especially high-impact journals) have a very high bar for novelty, and will only accept papers that have exceptionally high significance and novelty. Others have a low standard for novelty; they'll accept most original papers, as long as they are within the scope of the journal ...


39

It's not particularly unusual for authors to be added during a revision of a paper, but for them to be removed is quite unusual and often linked with something improper going on. Since this submission is a different publication than the original version that you saw, the editors do not have this history in front of them, and I think that it is indeed a ...


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