Extreme rejection reply

As I started my last 100 days of editing JRSS B, I was reflecting on how few angry emails I got from rejecting papers. This may be in part due to our policy of strongly screening papers at the Editor’s level, as rejections then occur within a few days after submission. But extreme replies are bound to happen and, apart from “This is the most important paper since Bayes (1763)” sent quite a while ago about a philosophical paper and a twelve page explanation of all the points I had missed in a Monte Carlo paper, I got an angry reply last night, actuallly sent to me by mistake, that blamed my Bayesian bias as an Editor. (I think I have actually been harsher towards Bayesian submissions, for this very reason, and the number of Bayesian papers in Series B must have declined over the past years as a result.) Presumably because of my birthday (!), I coincidently received a second unhappy email from a rejected author.

4 Responses to “Extreme rejection reply”

  1. [...] Section Committee of the Royal Statistical Society, a consequence of stepping down as Series B editor. I will miss those meetings (as I will miss being editor), because their main purpose was to handle [...]

  2. Before Series B moved to Manuscript Central, I was sending paper letters to authors in addition to the customary email, both for ensuring the author(s) would get the reply (emails do get lost!) and indeed for giving a more humane aspect to the communication. The use of a web-based Manuscript Central has brought this to an halt as transforming the email into a letter would involve too much work w/o secretarial assistance, while all communications processed through Manuscript Central are stored and available to all parties involved. Obviously, the importance of writing personal letters to the authors remains, as strongly as before!

  3. Michael Last Says:

    I submitted a paper to JRSSB once (back in 2007) that was quickly rejected, saying that it was well-written, but not of general enough interest for the journal…well, the closest paper I could find in the literature was a discussion paper from JRSSB a few years before, but editors change:) It also included a list of other journals I should consider (*very* nice for a junior researcher) and a personally signed letter arrived in the mail a while later. Altogether a class act. It felt more like getting good advice from a senior colleague than rejection, and seemed to show that that the person had read the paper and thought about it rather than shooting off a form letter.

  4. Negative one day, positive the next: here is another email reply following a rejection, of a very understanding nature: “I am very much indebted to you for your e-mail with encouragement”, which actually is much more in tune with most replies…

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