August 3rd, 2009

What About the Scholarly Rejects?

As you may already know, scholarly articles are typically found in peer reviewed journals. That means only those articles that gain approval from the reviewers are actually published. That leaves a lot of rejected articles.

So what happens to them?

Some are reworked and resubmitted elsewhere, and others just disappear. But so many articles are rejected at least once that a group of graduate students in mathematics have created their own open-access journal: Rejecta Mathematica. This journal only publishes articles that have been rejected by other journals. You can see the journal’s website and inaugural publication here.

This brings up some interesting questions about scholarly literature, which can affect your dissertation literature review and your own chances of being published:

  • How much research is lost because there isn’t a journal on the topic? (Many articles are rejected because they don’t match the usual content of a journal.)
  • If you are using articles from the 2nd tier of journals in your field, are you filling your literature review with rejects? And is that a problem?
  • Are authors aiming too high? Are we missing out on great research that just can’t fit in the top journal or two?

What do you think?

- Erin

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