This week we had this enviable record of two academic papers on health topics being rejected the day after submission. The first paper was submitted on Monday to Issues in Mental Health Nursing. Our paper reported the Content Analysis of a review of the nursing curricula on mental health and maternity care issues in Nepal. The journal editor emailed us the next day to inform us that the topic was interesting, but not relevant enough to the journal’s readers.
The second paper submitted by a different configuration of staff was submitted last Friday to the Journal of Youth & Adolescence. The second paper reported a qualitative study on students views on abortion in the south of England. This journal’s rapid reply came the next day (yesterday) stating that:
Unfortunately, the editors have completed an internal review of your study and have deemed your manuscript inappropriate for our journal. Although your manuscript has important strengths, the journal has moved away from supporting qualitative work (unless it would be part of a journal special issue). Please rest assured that our decision has nothing to do with the quality of your study or findings.
On both occasion we had discussed potential journals and we thought we had targeted appropriate journals for the respective manuscripts. Moreover, in both manuscripts we managed to cite at least one paper published in the journal to which we had submitted it. The general message to my colleagues is that it does not matter how many papers you have written and submitted, you will: (1) occasionally opt for the wrong journal; (2) continue to face regular rejection by journal editors; and (3) have an opportunity to submit to another journal.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health