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Without the Feel-Good Aspect

A recent report in Science found that rejected and revised papers often make their way into higher-impact journals where they become more highly cited, which The Scientist characterized as "an upside to this routine disappointment." Casey Bergman, though, blogs at I Wish You'd Made Me Angry Earlier that the difference in median citations between rejected and resubmitted papers and others is minimal.

By examining a graph in the study, Bergman concludes "that papers that are rejected then published elsewhere have a median value of [about] 0.95 citations, whereas papers that are accepted at the first journal they are submitted to have a median value of [about] 0.90 citations." He notes that the scale of the graph is not clear, and, if it is a log10 scale, he says the number of citations that a rejected and resubmitted paper has will increase by less than one. "While statistically significant, this can hardly be described as a 'significant increase' in citation. Still excited?" he asks.

It's the other point of the paper that Bergman says is most interesting — most papers are published by the first journal to which they are submitted. "As a scientific community we should continue to maintain and improve this trend, selecting the appropriate home for our work on initial submission," he says.

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