Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Handling Rejection Letters

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Handling Rejection Letters

Article excerpt

This column is meant to assist authors with an issue that all writers face: how to deal with your work being rejected for publication. Next month's column will address the revision and resubmission process.

Most authors who have submitted manuscripts for publication probably have had some experience with outright rejection. Dealing with such rejection can be discouraging, especially to graduate students and early career professors who need publications to obtain tenure or promotion. There are few feelings more frustrating than waiting 3 months (the normal waiting period before a publication decision is rendered) to find out that the editorial board has mostly negative things to say about a paper you may have put months or even years into writing.

The first time I (Victoria) submitted a manuscript to a journal and received feedback like this, I took it extremely personally. I felt that the feedback did not have one positive comment and was thus biased. It turns out that in reality, I had aimed too high in terms of the journal impact factor and the quality of the paper, but I still felt paralyzed by such rejection.

However, since then I have learned that a rejection letter containing comprehensive feedback should be taken as a compliment that others took the time to review your work thoroughly. Additionally, the comments you receive from the reviewers will usually lead to a more substantial revision that is more likely to be accepted to a related journal. As stated by Roy Remer in an article published in GradPsych (Munsey, 2006), "Get mad then get working."

In the case of an outright rejection, some questions you might want to ask yourself and helpful strategies are as follows:

* Was this article a good fit with this journal? 'While some editors will quickly notify you that your artide is not within the scope of the journal's audience and will not be sent out for review, other times you might not receive this news until the 3-month waiting period is over. Many times, the editor will explicitly state this in the decision letter, but other times the reviewer feedback contains clues that the journal was not a good match for the manuscript. One useful strategy when deciding if you want to resubmit the article to another journal is to e-mail an abstract of your article to someone from the targeted journal's editorial board. …

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