How to get your paper rejected quickly

I sent this rejection letter this morning about a paper submitted to the International Journal of Forecasting.


I am writing to you regarding manuscript ????? entitled “xxxxxxxxxxxx” which you submitted to the International Journal of Forecasting.

It so happens that I am aware that this paper was previously reviewed for the YYYYYYY journal. It seems that you have not bothered to make any of the changes recommended by the reviewers of your submission to YYYYYYY. Just submitting the same paper to another journal is extremely poor practice, and I am disappointed that you have taken this path. Reviewers spend a great deal of time providing comments, and it is disrespectful to ignore them. I don’t expect you to do everything they say, but I would expect some of their comments to be helpful.

I am unwilling to consider the paper further for the International Journal of Forecasting. Read the previous reviews to know why. And before you submit the paper to a new journal, take the time to consider the reviews you have already been given.


Rob Hyndman
(Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Forecasting)

I have written on this issue before. The peer-review system requires people to donate considerable amounts of time to writing reviews. In general, they do a great job and provide helpful comments. So it really annoys me when authors treat the system as a game with the aim to get a paper accepted with minimal work, and with no interest in learning from feedback.

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  • JMM

    Nice!! Are you rejecting it completely on principle? Or would you review it if you received an apology and a draft that incorporated previous suggestions?

    • I don’t want to comment on this paper specifically. In general, I would consider a resubmission in a case like this.

  • I’m glad that you rejected paper directly without passing it to the reviewers. I have had the experience of reviewing and rejecting the SAME paper at least three times at different places as a reviewer, which is definitely a waste of time. Because there are too many journals today, sometimes authors play the game of resubmitting the same manuscript to different journals to try the luck.

  • Paul Rubin

    I had the “dual” experience. My first paper was summarily rejected by the first journal to see it. The reviewers did not provide much actionable advice, but I fixed what I could and submitted it to a different journal. The review I received from the second journal, in toto: “I didn’t like it the first time I read it, and I still don’t like it.”

  • asdir

    I agree to your basic sentiment, but would like to add the following caveat.

    Imagine a case where peer-reviewers of the previous jouranl were chosen poorly and rejected the paper out of hand or on superficial matters (or, even worse, for political reasons). In theory authors should protest against the bad reviewer, but honestly, which journal will ever admit that a reviewer rather than the author is wrong (check you own feelings: did you think up to this point that I might be a rejected author purely complaining? What does that say about the patience of an editor in this case?).

    It would be simpler just to resubmit to another journal in the hopes to receive a reasonable review, don’t you think?

    • As an editor, I do not always side with reviewers. If the author comes back with a good explanation and cogent argument for why the reviewer is mistaken, I will sometimes be persuaded. It depends of course on how highly I rate the reviewer.

      I understand that authors will sometimes just choose to take their papers elsewhere, and as I stated in this post, I do not expect that they make all the changes a reviewer asks for. But if a reviewer has pointed out typos, or other simple errors, I think the author is obliged to at least fix those issues before submitting somewhere else.

  • asdf

    While I tend to agree with you in principle, I’d also have to suggest that maybe you should try to give people R&Rs if you want them to actually revise the paper if you think that the contribution is good but the execution is bad. If the contribution is bad then there’s no point for revisions. I’ve had the horrible experience of having my paper rejected by referee A in journal X, incorporated his comments and submitted to journal Y only to have my paper rejected by referee B whose comments go completely 180 from referee A. So no, I’m afraid that unless I get an R&R or I truly feel that there’s a revision that would genuinely improve my paper, I won’t take the time to revise before submitting elsewhere. The process is already ridiculously long as it is. I won’t just revise because someone wants me to run 3 more regressions or change a marginally important assumptions that have nothing to do with the central goal of the paper but they asked for it because they didn’t know what else to write as an excuse to reject my paper.

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  • S.Sharkawy

    What if the paper is rejected because it doesn’t meet the aim and scope of the journal, and the editor recommends submitting it to another journal (name is provided) without giving much details?

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