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The Sunny Side of Rejection

Being rejected by a journal may not be such a bad thing, says a survey published in Science.

The study, according to an article in The Scientist, found that a paper is more likely to be cited more often if it is resubmitted to another journal. It also found that papers that were submitted more than once tended to be published in journals with lower impact factors than the previous journal, with only a small fraction of resubmitted papers going to journals with higher impact factors.

The researchers postulate that one reason this might be happening is because the papers go through multiple rounds of peer review and revision, the article says.

In any case, Carl Bergstrom, a theoretical and evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, who was not involved in the study, says in The Scientist that the results suggest that "it really behooves people to more actively shop their papers around."

It also behooves editors to hang on to manuscripts, says Vincent Calcagno, an evolutionary biologist and ecologist at the Institute for Agricultural Research and a co-author on the study.

"When a journal has invested work and time from experts to make comments … it would be beneficial for that publisher or publishing group not to let the manuscript go to another competing publisher who will benefit from the improvements," he tells The Scientist.

These results were based on responses from 80,000 researchers, out of a pool of 200,000, who published papers across 16 fields between 2006 and 2008.

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