Top Five Reasons Your Article Was Rejected
It can be frustrating to do the research, write an article, submit it, and then have it rejected without ever reaching peer review—because it failed the technical assessment. Why does this happen?
What is technical assessment
Technical assessment is the process of screening article submissions. Because so many articles are submitted to journals each year, this preliminary step is necessary to identify which articles pass a journal’s quality threshold and which ones fit the journal’s scope. This reduces the workload of peer reviewers. Articles that pass muster will be sent on for review; articles that don’t will be sent back to the author.
So, what causes an article to fail the technical assessment?
1. Your article was submitted to more than one journal.
Common wisdom states that a paper rejected at one journal can find a home at another. But submitting a paper to two different journals at the same time is a different matter entirely. This can create more work for journals and reviewers and potentially deprives worthy articles of a chance at publication. Many journals frown on this behavior, and some even explicitly prohibit it.
2. The English is too poor for the peer-review process.
Your data is good, but the prose needs work. This can be a problem even for native speakers of English, but doubly so for authors who are nonnative speakers. If the language is so inaccurate or unclear, the editor may struggle to understand the article and its true merit and reject the article for publication.
3. Your article is incomplete.
Important information may be missing from your article (for example, articles typically require title, authors, affiliations, main text, references, and all relevant tables and figures). However, incompleteness can occur even if all key elements are present. Perhaps the majority of your references are years out of date or your literature review doesn’t make the case for your research.
Such problems are not insurmountable, but editors do not want spend time coaching authors for the development and inclusion of missing elements. This can lead to valuable time being wasted for journals and publishers. If you submit such an article, they may decide to pass you over for another submission that is already complete.
4. Your article does not follow the journal’s submission guidelines.
Many journals require style adherence, and each journal has its own style and expectations. Even if your article has all the key elements, it may require revision to meet journal guidelines. Adherence to journal style can increase your chances of acceptance and publication.
5. Your article needs major revisions.
Your article is written in clear, award-winning prose. All the key elements of an article are present. Unfortunately, your organization needs some work. The discussion section is buried in Methods and Results, the study design and conclusions do not match up, and overall, it is difficult to comprehend. Major restructuring is required for your article to make its case effectively. Your article may be of interest, but if the article requires more work than can be accomplished in a standard revision period, journals may reject your article for publication.
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