manuscript rejection rates

Valerie Cardenas Nicolson valerie at
Fri Oct 22 11:23:20 EST 1999

This is in response to Lisa Vaillancourt's post of Oct. 12

>Does anyone know if any studies have been done of the relative
>rejection rates of manuscripts by women versus men? I have sometimes
>wondered if this could account for some of the differences in
>publishing rates between the two groups, and for the reports that
>women's papers tend to be longer and more "complete".

I don't know of any studies, but I think UCSF did an informal
survey on the subject of #manuscript of men vs. women (not
rejection rates).  The men tended to have more publications than
women, and the underlying cause seemed to be that when a
man got a paper rejected, he would just turn around and
send it to a different journal with no revisions.  When the women
got rejections, they tended to take the reviewers' comments
seriously and would go back and rewrite the paper, do more
experiments, whatever.

This is, of course, a generalization, but it makes sense to me.
I know that I once reviewed a paper and had some serious
reservations (the authors came to some conclusions that I thought
were unsupported, they had gotten some assumptions wrong,
etc.).  I later saw the paper published in a different journal (so I
assume it was rejected by the journal I had reviewed it for),
and it was almost exactly the same as the paper I had reviewed.


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