Reasons You Rejected a Paper

Reasons You Rejected a Paper


The discussion of journal practices is continuing, but, at the suggestion of Tom Dougherty, I am posting this as a place to gather “frequent reasons for rejection” of articles. Here is his comment from the other thread:

If many of the papers getting desk-rejected by journals are rejected for common reasons, then I wonder if it might be in everyone’s interests for the journal to have a “Frequent Reason for Rejection” page that elaborated on these common reasons. I suggest this tentatively, as I wouldn’t want to propose anything that meant a net increase in an editor’s workload, given how much service such a role must involve. But it occurred to me that it might in the long-run be a time-saver for editors, if it ends up pre-empting some authors from submitting something inappropriate.

And perhaps this sort of generic feedback might address some of the concerns people raise about not getting comments: a desk-rejection without specific comments would still provide evidence that one of the generic reasons-for-rejection applied to one’s paper.

I do think some sort of feedback, even generic, is a good thing for the profession. Reviewers and editors would presumably spend less time reviewing and editing if authors were more selective about what they submit in the first place. But it’s genuinely hard for inexperienced philosophers to learn how to be selective, unless they get feedback about why the papers they’ve been submitting aren’t making the grade.

Alternatively or additionally, if it appealed to Justin, perhaps we could have a separate thread on a topic like “Reasons Why I Reject a Paper” in which readers list the most typical reasons why they’ve been rejecting papers? That might lead to a group effort that provided this generic feedback.

I agree this would be valuable. Please share the typical reasons you, as editor or referee/reviewer, have used to justify rejecting a paper.

(image: “Felissimo 500 colored pencils”)

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