A study of some 80,000 papers submitted to 932 journals over a two-year period has found that having your paper rejected may not necessarily be a bad thing. A computer programme that sent an email to the corresponding author of over 200,000 papers asked them if they previously submitted the paper to a different journal and if so the name of the journal. From the 100,000 replies received, it was found that the highest impact-factor journals receive the majority of first submissions and that, once rejected, authors then sent their manuscript to a journal with a lower impact factor journal. It was also found that around 75% of papers are accepted on their first submission, a feature that indicates scientists are efficient at picking the right journal for their paper. There were also a couple of surprising results from the study. Papers that had been rejected and then resubmitted to another journal had more citations than a paper that was published into that journal on the first attempt. It was concluded that the process of rejection, where a researcher is forced to rewrite and possibly do follow-up work to gain better results, actually improves the quality of the paper.
- Calcagno V., E. Demoinet, K. Gollner, L. Guidi, D. Ruths & C. de Mazancourt. (2012). Flows of research manuscripts among scientific journals reveal hidden submission patterns. Science, 338, 1065-1069