Manscript rejected after reviews…boo!

“I regret to inform you that the reviews of your manuscript do not support its publication and I must therefore reject it”.

My week could not have gotten any better nor more complete – we just got a co-authored manuscript rejected! So in a week when I got a paper accepted and won a grant , I end it with a paper being rejected in the same journal the other paper got accepted. Welcome to my world – and the academic world. You win some, you lose some, some high days, some low days…all underlined by daily sweat and hardwork.

Shout out to Reviewer 2 who even though rejecting our manuscript on the basis that our contribution to knowledge and theory is marginal has this to say…

Thanks you for inviting me to review this manuscript. The paper is well written and is thorough in its review of the extant literature. However, the decision as to whether to recommend publication or not is a difficult one. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with the paper itself per se. The authors have conducted a systematic review of the literature (pages 1 to 8) as outlined in the stated purpose of the work. They then devote the better part of four pages to outline what they feel are future research needs. As far as this effort goes, the paper is publishable.

So, the key issues then exist are ‘do we need a strict literature review paper? and ‘should such a paper be considered by Annals? The answer to the first question is equivocal. There is a need for a meta-analysis paper to show how research in the field has evolved and become/not become more sophisticated over time. But, what is the contribution of this paper? It is marginal.

So, the long and short of it is that this referee does not feel the paper is suitable for Annals..

So this is where we are…my co-author, Sun (Seonyoung) and I will go through the stages of rejection grief, regroup and get back to work in finding a suitable outlet. The acceptance and successes in an academic’s life are always tempered with the rejections. We get more rejections over the course of a week, month, years and a career than acceptance. This doesn’t sting so bad because the reviews are very constructive and I am riding on a very positive wave at the moment.

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