Most Common Reasons for Journal Rejection- (A Complete Guide)

Most Common Reasons for Journal Rejection- (A Complete Guide)
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  • 03 Jan
Most Common Reasons for Journal Rejection- (A Complete Guide)

Most Common Reasons for Journal Rejection- (A Complete Guide)


Rejection is a common practice in academic publications. Even the top researchers have been rejected. Several peer-reviewed studies have investigated the reasons for journals rejecting papers. The following are the most common rejection reasons mentioned in these studies.


Lack of originality, novelty, or significance

- Use of outdated methods due to new techniques or technologies.

- Secondary analysis that extends or reproduces published findings without adding significant knowledge.

- Study that reports already known knowledge but positions it as new by extending it to new geography, population or cultural conditions.

- Unoriginal, predictable or trivial results;

- Results that have no clinical, theoretical or practical implications and/or are ungeneralised.


Academic journals are constantly seeking exciting and fresh research. Many authors tend to explain why their work is important because it has not been studied before. This is not enough; research must be placed in a broader context. The author should give specific reasons for why research is important, such as why it affects certain medical interventions, why it affects certain political debates, or why it changes conventional theories or beliefs.


Mismatch with the journal

- The findings of very narrow or specialized audiences.  

- The publication does not specifically address them.

- The content of manuscripts outside the intended and scope of the publication; do not suit the journal's format; and do not follow the format specified by the publication (for example, the case reports submitted to the publication explicitly specify that they do not publish case reports).


Many manuscripts are completely rejected by the magazine before peer review because they are not suitable for the audience of the magazine or do not fit the objectives and scope of the magazine. The remedy is simple: choose the accurate journal that will submit your papers and spend some time to do so. You can begin by creating a list of journals and reviewing options before deciding which journals to submit your manuscripts.



Flaws in study design

-Choice of an incorrect method or model that is not suitable for the problem to be studied.

- Poor conceptualization of the approach to answering the research question.

- Inappropriate or suboptimal instrumentation.

- Small or inappropriately chosen sample.

- Choice of a weak or unreliable method.

- Poorly formulated research question.


Even a well-written paper will not mask the shortcomings of the study design. Indeed, this is an essential problem that must be solved in the initial stages of research in order to conceptualize it. The best way to prevent such deficiencies is to thoroughly review the literature and determine the best methodology and practices of your own research.


Poor writing and organization

- Lack of explanation of the reasoning behind the study. 

- Inadequate description of methods.

- Lack of literature review.  

- Conclusions that are not supported by the data of the study. 

- Lack of comprehensive context.

- Repetition of results without interpretation. 

- Introduction that does not establish the background of the problem studied


It is very important that the author presents a convincing and rational argument in his papers. By writing, you should be able to convince readers that your research isa good one and that it is important.


Inadequate preparation of the manuscript

- Failure to follow the journal’s instructions for authors.

- Sentences that are not clear and concise.

- Title, abstract, and/or cover letter that are not persuasive.

- Wordiness and excessive use of jargon.

- Large number of careless errors like poor grammar or spelling mistakes.

- Poorly designed tables or figures.


Non-English-speaking authors often face another problem: peer reviewers do not always distinguish between manuscript content and style. Their manuscripts may therefore be negative, even if they are of high quality. However, all problems in this category can be easily fixed by asking a friend or colleague who speaks English to review the paper or by professional editing and formatting the paper.


Reasons for rejection that are not related to the quality of the manuscript.

The poor quality of the manuscript is not the only reason for rejection. Some of the main factors that can also influence journal decisions are as follows:


Space constraints

The rejection of high-quality manuscripts is not unusual in journals, and the main reason is the lack of space. The magazine is aimed at publishing articles on a range of subjects that represent the whole magazine's scope. Print magazines editors should choose the paper to publish, as they can only publish a limited number of articles. This consideration reduces the burden on open-access journals because they do not have a big problem with space.


Quality and experience of peer reviewers

The quality of peer reviews varies greatly depending on the professional experience of the reviewer, his or her educational background, research interests, etc.


Volume of submissions

For obvious reasons, journals that receive a large number of submissions will also reject a large number of manuscripts. For example, Nature receives 10,000 manuscripts a year, making it inevitable to reject even high-quality manuscripts.


Journal’s decision-making policy

This varies widely between journals. For example, some journals have a policy of rejecting manuscripts that require significant revisions, while others will complete another peer review if they are not sure of the quality of the manuscripts.


The journal editor is looking for something specific at a particular time

Sometimes, journal editors may wish to publish a thematic issue of the journal or may be interested in a current hot topic, in which case they might tend to accept more papers focusing on that particular topic.


The journal receives more than one submission on the same topic

In such cases, journals may choose to publish only one manuscript, and reject other manuscripts for reasons other than that they already have papers on the same subject.


Technical Reasons

Technical reasons usually require more work, such as experiments and analysis, before your work is published. Technical reasons for rejection include: incomplete data, such as too small sample size, absence or lack of control; improper analysis, such as incomplete statistical testing or total lack of statistics; inadequate methods for answering your hypothesis; older and more powerful methods to provide robust results; weak research motives, such as assumptions that are not clear and scientifically valid; and data that do not answer questions; and inaccurate conclusions on hypotheses that do not support your data; inaccurate conclusions on hypotheses that do not support your data; inaccurate assumptions that are not supported.



There are many reasons for journals refusing to publish manuscripts, some for research or manuscript quality, and some for completely avoidable reasons such as publication contradictions. In addition, it is not rare for magazines to reject even high-quality manuscripts simply due to space constraints or other problems. The above reasons are the most common reasons for rejection, but they are not the only ones. Other reasons include publication of salami, non-compliance with ethical policy and plagiarism.





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