Policy on Rejected Manuscripts
A manuscript previously rejected by an AMA journal will not be reconsidered by that journal and thus should not be resubmitted to that journal. (Previously rejected manuscripts include those whose rejection decisions were appealed unsuccessfully.) A revised version of a previously rejected manuscript should also not be resubmitted to the same journal. A new manuscript on the same topic may of course be submitted. The key is that the paper should reflect a sufficiently new paper. This could take a variety of forms, including new theory, predictions, data, models, and implications. Not all of these are required, but the paper should be sufficiently new to be sent in as a new paper. The re-submission cover letter should describe the most important changes made to the paper that constitute “sufficiently new” and note the paper’s relationship to the prior version in the box, “Has this manuscript or an earlier version been previously submitted to the journal?” The editor in charge of the paper will use the author’s input and compare the old and new papers to make a decision about whether the paper should reenter the review process.
How and When to Appeal a Journal Decision
No review process is perfect, which means that occasionally a review decision is in error. The purpose of an appeal process is to provide authors with an opportunity to overturn reviewing errors. The following guidelines may be useful in determining when to appeal a review decision.
- Do not appeal the decision if your primary disagreement is with the judgment of the Editor, AE, or reviewers. For example, if they think that the paper is not important, that it represents an inadequate contribution to the literature, or that the methods used are inappropriate, those issues are matters of judgment; and they are not grounds for appeal.
- Do not appeal if you think you have addressed the Editor’s, AE’s and/or reviewers’ comments, but they do not.
- Do not appeal if you think the AE or reviewers comments are mostly positive toward the paper, and thus the decision is unfair. Review teams are encouraged to be constructive and so comments may seem supportive when the team’s private comments to the Editor are less positive.
- Do appeal if you believe that the decision resulted primarily from a technical error on the Editor’s, AE’s or reviewers’ part, and you can conclusively demonstrate that an error was made.
- Do appeal if the primary reason for the reject decision, as given in the decision letter from the editor, can be clearly and unambiguously refuted.
If you wish to appeal the decision on the manuscript, you should send a letter of appeal to the Editor in Chief (EIC) of the journal in question using the official email address managed by the AMA Support Office. The appeal must be filed within three months of receiving the final decision letter. The letter of appeal should be two pages or less, in Word or PDF form, and should have three parts:
- A description of the specific error that was made.
- Evidence from the decision letter that this particular error was the difference between the paper being rejected and not rejected.
- Conclusive evidence that the specific error identified was, in fact, an error.
The EIC will review the letter of appeal and will respond with a decision about whether to accept or reject the appeal. The EIC may seek the input of outside expert, including members of the journal’s advisory board or former editors. The EIC’s decision is final. If an author submits an appeal that is subsequently rejected, that author forfeits the opportunity to submit any new appeals for the duration of the EIC’s term. If the appeal is accepted, the EIC will decide on an appropriate disposition of the manuscript, which may be to accept or conditionally accept the manuscript, to request further revision, or to solicit an additional review.