Why Do Manuscripts Get Rejected? A Content Analysis of Rejection Reports from the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine

Vikas Menon, Natarajan Varadharajan, Samir Kumar Praharaj, Shahul Ameen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


Background: A proportion of manuscripts submitted to scientific journals get rejected, for varied reasons. A systematic analysis of the reasons for rejection will be relevant to editors, reviewers, and prospective authors. We aimed to analyze the reasons for rejection of manuscripts submitted to the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, the flagship journal of Indian Psychiatric Society South Zonal Branch. Methods: We performed a content analysis of the rejection reports of all the articles submitted to the journal between January 1, 2018, and May 15, 2020. Rejection reports were extracted from the manuscript management website and divided into three types: desk rejections, post-peer-review rejections, and post-editorial-re-review rejections. They were analyzed separately for the rejection reasons, using a predefined coding frame. Results: A total of 898 rejection reports were available for content analysis. Rejection was a common fate for manuscripts across the types of submission; figures ranged from 26.7% for viewpoint articles to 72.1% for review articles. The median time to desk rejection was 3 days, while the median time to post-peer-review rejection and post-editorial-re-review rejection was 42 days and 96 days, respectively. The most common reasons for desk rejection were lack of novelty or being out of the journal’s scope. Inappropriate study designs, poor methodological descriptions, poor quality of writing, and weak study rationale were the most common rejection reasons mentioned by both peer reviewers and editorial re-reviewers. Conclusions: Common reasons for rejection included poor methodology and poorly written manuscripts. Prospective authors should pay adequate attention to conceptualization, design, and presentation of their study, apart from selecting an appropriate journal, to avoid rejection and enhance their manuscript’s chances of publication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-65
JournalIndian Journal of Psychological Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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