Q: How to improve a manuscript that has been rejected by 4 journals?

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I have submitted my manuscript to four journals and all of them rejected the manuscript before peer review process. The first mentioned that the manuscript lacks scientific impact, scope, originality, and significance to the discipline. The second said that this article is not of interest to their journal. The third said that the manuscript is beyond the aims and scope of the journal and is not suitable for the journal. The fourth rejected the manuscript due to poor English. Although the second and third journals told me that the work is out their scope, I am quite sure that my manuscript is in their scope because of three reasons: first, there are many similar articles in the journals that use the same keyword, methods, and subject; second, most of my references are from these two journal; third, I have read their aims and scope several times before submission. What could be the real reason for their rejection and how can I improve my paper (besides correcting the language errors) so as to make it publishable? I am waiting for your response. Thank you in advance.

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Answer:

Since all the four journals rejected the paper without peer review, I think you are either making a major mistake in the type of journals that you are selecting, or, which is more likely, the paper needs to be improved substantially for it to meet the standards of these journals. Regarding the second and third journal, it is possible that they have a standard rejection email that they send out for all desk rejections. That would explain why you found similar articles published in these journals. Going by what the first and fourth journal have said, your paper lacks in scientific impact, scope, originality, and significance to the discipline, and is also written in poor English. This means that the overall quality of the paper is not as per the journal’s standards. I think you should consult your advisor and do a complete rework of the paper.

Here are a few things you should consider:
1. Is your research question formulated well?
2. Have you chosen the right study design?
3. Have you used the right methods?
4. Do you need more experiments?
5. Can the results be generalized?
6. Do the results have theoretical or practical implications?
7. Does the paper follow the IMRaD structure?
8. Are the figures and tables accurate and properly labeled?
9. Is the language simple and clear enough for the reader to understand?

Revise parts of the paper that seem weak. Conduct a spelling and grammar check and proofread the document well before submission. You can consider hiring the services of a professional editing company if you feel the need to.

Good luck!

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