Q: What should I do if the same submission to a new journal is rejected because the information was not updated in the associated preprint system of the previous journal?
The previous journal rejected my manuscript but had it preprinted on Research Square. However, Research Square failed to update this rejection in a timely manner. So, my submission [of the same manuscript] to a new journal was rejected because they thought I was making multiple submissions (with the same manuscript). The reviewer also told me that I got rejected mainly due to the issue of multiple submissions. Incidentally, the information in the preprint system is still not updated; it still shows that my manuscript is under consideration by the last journal.
I have made an appeal and provided an explanation. I have also communicated with the preprint system to update the information. However, my appeal to the new journal has not got a reply. Does this mean they will stick to the rejection decision and not accept my submission again? Should I write to them again?
Before we answer your question, we need to point out an important difference. Research Square is a company and known mainly for providing a preprints platform. ResearchGate is a community of researchers/academics/scholars where you can also share published papers. We understand you are referring to Research Square and not ResearchGate, and so, have made the change.
Now, getting to your query. The situation is unfortunate, but understandable. You would have been eager to submit your manuscript to a new journal after the previous journal’s rejection, but may have known of the processes and timeline for the status to get reflected on the affiliated platform.
Anyway, the answer to your query lies here itself. Unless Research Square updates the information, it is almost futile to write to the new journal or any others. The new journal is in fact probably waiting for the information to get updated before it can think of reconsidering. So, you should wait for the update, and should follow up with Research Square as needed. You could tell them of the unfortunate situation it has caused and the possible impact to your manuscript (and to your professional goals). This may urge them to hasten things.
Until then, you could write a presubmission inquiry to another journal (not the one that has already rejected the manuscript). However, they too may say that you should let them know only after the information is updated and maybe if the second journal sticks to their decision of rejection. So, as you can understand, you need to ensure the Research Square action is completed first.
As there might be a fair amount of communication involved in all these actions, you may find it worthwhile to invest in this handbook that provides a variety of templates for various scenarios of communicating with a journal: A practical handbook of templates for communicating with the journal
All the best for a rapid resolution!