How to Deal with Rejection from Journal Editors

You worked so hard on your manuscript, edited it strictly according to the journals’ guidelines, re-studied it for days and finally submitted it to them. You waited for weeks and finally you receive a letter from them but it states that they cannot accept your work. Now, what to do? Other than not giving up, take care of yourself, then try again.


  1. 1
    Control your emotions. When you receive a rejection letter from the journal editors, it is really hard to not get angry and feel frustrated. It is completely normal but you have to remind yourself that the decision taken by them is professional in nature and not personal. So, don’t take it to heart and curse yourself or them. Try looking from the positive angle here, as to how you can improve your paper further and how to rectify the mistakes in it rather than assuming that your paper is perfect.
  2. 2
    Revise your work. Once your frustration has subsided, read the letter again and go through all the comments made by the editors. Read them twice and decide on how to correct your work through that feedback. Make sure that your argument is effective, formatting is as per their requirements, outcomes and conclusions are listed clearly in your paper. Scrutinize your paper carefully to be assured that it is error free, even from the tiniest mistake.
  3. 3
    Send to a different journal. You could very well consider sending your article to another journal in case you feel that your paper has been rejected based on only some assumptions which the editors don't seem to grasp. Or, if you think that the controversial issues in your paper are not being well received from those journal editors, another journal may be more enlightened. If you are sending your work to another journal, revise your work again and thoroughly so that there is no room for mistakes and it gets accepted in the first go only.
  4. 4
    Write a rebuttal letter. You can write a rebuttal letter to the editor if you want to appeal your rejection. If you think that the comments received are not relevant to your study or they have failed in understanding the purpose behind your study, you can try this approach. But be sure with your decision, as this letter is often rejected. If the comments made by all editors are same, maybe a problem does exist and needs addressing––in which case, your energies are better spent dealing with that than arguing with the editors.

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Categories: Handling Rejection | Journal Writing