Why Your Manuscript Was Rejected

By Grace Hamburger on Jan 8, 2020
eContent Pro
Why Your Manuscript Was Rejected

Rejection is never easy, be it big or small. At some point every researcher has faced a manuscript rejection, and after the initial disappointment all of them asked the same question: “Why?” Some journals will give you a reason, but some might not, making the rejection even more frustrating. It can be difficult to know how to move forward when you aren’t sure what your manuscript needs. Here, eContent Pro will look at some of the most prevalent reasons a manuscript might get rejected, and help you avoid falling victim to these faux pas.


Plagiarism is a very serious offense, and if a journal suspects that a manuscript might be guilty of plagiarism, it will be rejected without hesitation. Most reputable journals run plagiarism checkers, which automatically scan a document and compare it to other published material. Running your manuscript through a checker such as BibMe or Grammarly gives you a chance to check your work for these issues. Even accidental plagiarism is criminal, so it is incredibly important to cite your work thoroughly and accurately.

Outdated References

In addition to references that are not cited correctly, references that are not recent throw up a lot of red flags. Old references are associated with information that can be outdated and irrelevant. Journals are looking for new, cutting-edge research, so it is imperative that your submission matches that. When gathering your research, keep in mind that up-to-date research must take priority. If you are unsure on what falls into the “recent” margin, consider looking at the journal’s articles to check the citations of accepted manuscripts for a gauge.

Poor Grammar and Spelling

When a document is submitted with fundamental flaws such as faulty grammar, spelling, or punctuation, it is almost always rejected. These issues make a document seem unprofessional, and a document needs to have readability and flow in order to be published. Thoroughly checking a document is an essential part of the writing process. An edited document comes off clean and sharp and gives your manuscript a competitive edge. Take advantage of services that will triple check your document for these discrepancies, like our English language copy editing service!

Incorrect Audience

Research isn’t always black-and-white, and sometimes knowing where to submit your manuscript can be a little confusing. The more niche your area of expertise, the harder it is to know where to submit, and sometimes a rejection is simply due to you pitching your work to the wrong audience. When you shop for the right journal, make sure to read the mission and scope thoroughly. More often than not, there is a person to contact with submission questions. If you are unsure if your manuscript fits the subject matter, don’t hesitate to ask. If you need help finding a relevant and suitable journal for your manuscript, be sure to utilize our Journal Recommendation services.

Data Discrepancies

Researchers tend to be very close to their work, so close that sometimes they can’t see flaws in their research. If your research seems incomplete or if some of your data just doesn’t measure up, your manuscript’s credibility will come into question and the work will be rejected. Academic work must be analyzed with a fine-toothed comb, and it is imperative to be as thorough as possible in your research. Even a small discrepancy in your research will cause a swift rejection, therefore having your work thoroughly vetted before submission is key.

Flawed Writing

Your manuscript may be well-cited, current, grammatically correct, and accurate, but if the writing and content is inadequate, your document may never get the recognition it deserves. This is where it becomes essential to have a second set of eyes on your manuscript to provide you with honest opinions and suggestions. Having qualified Academics in your field analyze your manuscript and give feedback on how to improve it is an invaluable tool, which we are happy to provide with Scientific & Scholarly editing!

A rejection may feel like a defeat, but it doesn’t have to be. The important things are to identify your mistakes, learn from them, and improve. Does your manuscript need more than just what one service can provide? eContent Pro is happy to provide packages, which combine our services with an additional discount. Check out Package 2, a merger of English language copy editing and scientific and scholarly editing, and give your hard work all-inclusive care!

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