Earlier this week I received an email from a journal editor. He wrote that he had read my paper but had decided not to send it out to reviewers. He then actually gave quite a long account of why he had made this decision.
Aware that on this blog, and in many workshops, I encourage people to be open about rejection, here goes.
Why was it rejected? I got what Pat Thomson has written about: Early Onset Satisfaction (an idea originally from Mem Fox). I had been encouraged by my research mentor to get out of my comfort zone and aim super-high – for one of the top three or four education journals by impact factor.
I had a major analytical breakthrough when I was in Sweden in September, and got really excited about some new ideas. I was up late typing frantically, and then took the emerging ideas to another research group. They seemed to be holding up. It wasn’t long (enough) before I sent the paper off.
I knew it was a gamble, but I thought at least I’d gone through with the submission, and I might get some good feedback. One thing I did want to figure out was how a journal like that one (which shall remain nameless) would respond to my kind of topic and my approach to research.
In a way, and with the benefit of a few days to mull it over, I feel pretty good about it. Since submitting the paper, the analysis has progressed further, and I would want to make some pretty major changes anyway. Furthermore, what the editor wrote to me was super-useful. I found out my topic isn’t the problem for that journal, but that the analysis I presented was too descriptive and too focused on one small (but very interesting and informative) part of my data.
Now I’ve got time to update the paper, refresh the argument with the latest outcomes of my analysis, and locate it in a slightly more focused scholarly discussion.
Wounded? Not really. Scratched, maybe. Sore? No. Keen to get stuck into the re-writing? Yup.
I wrote back to the editor and thanked him for the really helpful email. Then I went to another journal that I’d had in mind and downloaded a bunch of papers that form part of the conversation in that journal that I will be joining with my new, better, submission.
Will this one even be sent for review? Watch this space…