The Journal of Universal Rejection

Into one’s academic career, the momentous question inevitably arises: Where To Submit This Paper? To which I have generally followed—and advised my students to follow—the hallowed strategy of first sending it to the most prestigious journal, then if (when) rejected, work you way down by a kind of gravitational process, until your ms eventually comes to rest somewhere. Anywhere. In a sense, it is the inverse of the Peter Principle, whereby “in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

In biology, this typically meant starting with Science or Nature, to which my students would ask, “Do you really think they might publish it?” and I’d reply “Probably not—but we know for sure that if you don’t send it, they won’t.” I’d also point out, reassuringly, that at least the high-prestige journals are quick with their rejections, after which one can get down to the serious business of sculpting the offering to make it appropriate for its ultimate repository, The Lesser Journal of Irrelevant and Unread Miscellany.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single or multi-authored manuscript in possession of a good data set must be in want of a suitable publishing outlet and that the prestige thereof varies inversely with the probability of acceptance (not unlike college admissions).

Accordingly, imagine my delight in being able to share with you the existence of a peer-reviewed research journal—open to scholars in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences alike—that is so prestigious that it guarantees to reject your submission! Not only that, but it promises to do so promptly, so you can then go on with the serious business of getting it published where it belongs.

This godsend is the Journal of Universal Rejection, whose website announces:

The founding principle of the Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR) is rejection. Universal rejection. That is to say, all submissions, regardless of quality, will be rejected. Despite that apparent drawback, here are a number of reasons you may choose to submit to the JofUR:

  • You can send your manuscript here without suffering waves of anxiety regarding the eventual fate of your submission. You know with 100-percent certainty that it will not be accepted for publication.
  • There are no page-fees.
  • You may claim to have submitted to the most prestigious journal (judged by acceptance rate).
  • The JofUR is one-of-a-kind. Merely submitting work to it may be considered a badge of honor.
  • You retain complete rights to your work, and are free to resubmit to other journals even before our review process is complete.
  • Decisions are often (though not always) rendered within hours of submission.

Instructions for Authors

The JofUR solicits any and all types of manuscript: poetry, prose, visual art, and research articles. You name it, we take it, and reject it. Your manuscript may be formatted however you wish. Frankly, we don’t care.

After submitting your work, the decision process varies. Often the Editor in Chief will reject your work out of hand, without even reading it! However, he might read it. Probably he’ll skim. At other times your manuscript may be sent to anonymous referees. Unless they are the Editor in Chief’s wife or graduate school buddies, it is unlikely that the referees will even understand what is going on. Rejection will follow as swiftly as a bird dropping from a great height after being struck by a stone. At other times, rejection may languish like your email buried in the Editor in Chief’s in box. But it will come, swift or slow, as surely as death. Rejection.

Submissions should be emailed to Small files only, please. Why not just send the first couple pages if it is long?


An individual subscription may be secured for £120 per year (four issues). Institutional and library subscriptions are also available; prices will be provided upon inquiry. It is unknown whether the subscription will be delivered in print or as electronic content, because no one has yet ordered one.

I am very optimistic about the Journal of Universal Rejection. It should be a particular boon to those colleagues—and we all know a few—whose publishing records languish because they have been paralyzed by inability to write up their research findings. Knowing in advance, with utter certainty, that their ms will be rejected should do wonders to reduce stress, eliminate writer’s block, facilitate data analysis … in short,  provide that kick-in-the-butt confidence that all true scholars need, at some time in their lives.

And so I say to friends, colleagues, and competitors alike: Go ferrit!

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