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Author Topic: My paper got rejected, it is a complicated situation: Am I doomed now?  (Read 1792 times)
New member
Posts: 3

« on: December 11, 2012, 2:59:49 pm »

I submitted an abstract to a conference that was being held at the number one university for my research area in the UK, it got accepted and I presented at the conference. My presentation didn't go very well, in my opinion, others said it was fine. Anyway, the papers that got accepted to the conference could be sent to a special edition of a journal that the same university is putting out. I sent my paper and got a very detailed feedback from the editor, I then revised my paper and sent it in again, as I was asked to do. I just got "desk rejected", the paper wasn't even sent for review, because it has structural issues and some other problems as well. I got another e-mail with detailed feedback, it was nice, but it was a rejection anyway. I am already over being rejected, this was my first submission anywhere, but the one of the three editors at this journal is a professor I want to work with when I apply for a PhD at this university. I am assuming that they will remember my name, how bad is my situation? Should I not apply to this school? I feel like it is a very embarrassing situation and I don't know how this will affect my PhD application. Any ideas?
Still a
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 1,851

« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 3:04:13 pm »

It depends on whether this professor thought your work was promising. You apparently aren't even in a Ph.D. program, and if you're submitting papers that get desk rejects, after revision, then you need some more guidance from a research mentor. This might be obvious to this professor, or this professor might just see poor work.  We don't have enough information to tell between the two.
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 5,102

« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 3:32:03 pm »

Just because your one paper was not yet professional enough for the special-issue journal doesn't mean that you're not qualified for a PhD program at the university.  Most people don't publish at least until they're advanced in their PhD.  So that in and of itself should not discourage you.  It sounds as if the paper could use more guidance for the revision process, but you can get that as you go forward.  I wouldn't be discouraged.  Rejections will happen all along the way for even the most high-flying academic.  Continue doing your best work and see how things develop.

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
Junior member
Posts: 85

« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 6:41:32 pm »

If anything, I would imagine that people at that university look on you favorably if you are not even in a PhD program yet are presenting at conferences and being considered for inclusion in these kinds of journals.  That they ultimately rejected your paper is entirely predictable and not at all embarrassing.  You need to relax.
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 1,395

« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2012, 10:56:17 pm »

There's three people on the panel that rejected your paper.  The prof you want to study with did not make the decision alone.  So you can't say s/he was the one who rejected you.  S/he could very well have accepted your paper, but was outnumbered by the other two.  Plus, my guess is that there's many submissions and perhaps your topic did not fit with the rest of what they want to put out as a collection.  Relax.  Don't think too hard.  Apply and see what happens.  This rejection could be an indication that the prof won't work with you, it could not.  YOu will find out when you apply.
Posts: 123

« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2012, 9:29:32 pm »

Check out my thread "AFTDJ or nay", which discusses a similar issue pertaining to desk rejection.  I know it seems weird, but I've come to understand that editors encounter these situations all the time.  Apply for the program and you will be accepted or rejected on your own merits.
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 2,313

« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2012, 10:36:28 pm »

Two things to consider on top of what has already been said:

1) There's a big difference between publishable research and research that gets published. Your work could be very solid, worthy of a publication - but if it's not a very good fit for the journal you submit it to (or not on a sexy enough topic), it may be rejected regardless. Wait a little after the rejection, then look at your paper again. If you think the work is good, make whatever changes were suggested (if any) and submit it to a different journal that might be a better match. If not, you still got a conference presentation out of it. For someone who hasn't yet entered a PhD program, that's a good start.

2) Dealing with rejection is a big part of academia. In very good programs, students are used to being at the top of their class, handling all the material that's thrown at them with ease, and (most importantly) getting praised rather than rejected. Well, that ends with PhD programs. Everyone is awesome, too, so now the bar is that much higher. On top of that, when you publish in good journals, you're competing with people who have been in the field 20+ years longer than you have. It's ok if you don't displace their submissions.

If you speak to famous academics in your field, I'm certain you will find that they get rejected all the time, too. That's why even high-impact papers sometimes end up in some middle-of-the-pack journal. It's not like the authors didn't try their best to get it in the top journals, it's just that they were ahead of their time and it took some years to recognize the contribution's value.

Of course once you are famous, it tends to be easier to publish less-than-stellar research in the top journals. Such is academia...
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