Editors Complain about Letters of Complaint

Editors Complain about Letters of Complaint

So, Your Paper Was Rejected. Before Writing a Letter of Complaint, Read This.

Dealing with Rejection?

You put a great deal of time and energy into writing your paper, which you believe your target journal should elect to publish. However, you receive a letter informing you that the editors rejected it. You feel frustrated, cheated, and irate. What is your recourse? Some researchers answer a letter of rejection with one of complaint. We encourage you to pause and consider the following reasons not to send such a missive.

Reason #1: Most Researchers Don’t

Many papers get rejected, and very, very few of the other authors write complaint letters.

Reason #2: You Alienate Editors

Like you, editors are quite busy; reading and replying to your complaint letter will not endear you to them. In addition, complaint letters inherently call into question the judgement of the editors, an inadvisable blunder.

Reason #3: Many Miss the Point

A notable percentage of complaint letters perseverate on a few reviewer comments, which, most likely, were not the main rationale for rejection. This approach indicates that the author does not fully understand the peer review process.

Reason #4: It’s Futile, Anyway

Editors very rarely change their minds. Given the numerous cons of sending a complaint letter and the improbability of any upside, a quick cost benefit analysis would discourage against it.

Reason #5: You’re Not Alone

Top journals reject the vast majority of papers. If every rejection prompted a complaint, the entire system would collapse.

Reason #6: Your Opinion Counts for Less (Sorry!)

While you clearly find your research important, you cannot graft this point of view onto the rest of academia.

Reason #7: Damage to Your Reputation

Editors may become familiar with your name and unconsciously form negative associations, which will not facilitate acceptance of future submissions.

Reason #8: You Have Other Options

There are a whole lot of journals out there. Just move on.

People dispatch letters of complaint in the heat of the moment and, oftentimes, later regret this action. We advise that you write a letter, put it in a drawer, and then contact us at Superior Medical Editing. We can help. Our physician editors have both published in top imaging journals and served as editors, experience which offers invaluable insight into the publishing process. We would love the opportunity to connect you with these experts in order to promote the success of your research. Check out our services here.


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