manuscript rejection rates

Ann Magnuson magnuson at
Thu Oct 28 10:30:24 EST 1999

Hi all,

Although I don't want to advocate scientific sloppiness, I can't help
but thinking that women should learn from this "male" behavior. We tend
to take criticism a bit too seriously, and we try to cover up every tiny
little dark spot, when it might not be worth the time and effort. Not
all studies benefit from further experiments, but a study of lesser
importance may still contain some observations of interest to the field. 

 From a different angle, can it be that women always take referee reports
at face value instead of trying to read between the lines?
It may be a good idea to analyze the tone in the referee report. Has the
referee understood the reason why this study should be published at all?
Is he/she perhaps a serious competitor trying to delay publication?? I'm
only a postdoc, but from what I have understood, the most common reason
for rejection is negative peer-reviewing. If it is obvious that this is
the case, then the best solution is simply to turn to a different forum
where your competitors don't go down on you so heavily. The message is:
Stop trying to break down the wall by banging your head against it...

Ann Magnuson

Valerie Cardenas Nicolson wrote:
> 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.
> Valerie

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