By Grant Jacobs 16/12/2015

Every year the British Medical Journal produces a special Christmas edition of, ah, ‘less formal’ science.

This year one article tackles that curse of academia: rejections.

Every year scientists throughout the world face descriptions of their research for scientific journals or their grant applications being thrown back at them – rejected.

An article by Cath Chapman and Tim Slade in BMJ offers a remedy for rejections.

Reject them.

They offer a form letter template to expedite the process, whose body text includes –

Thank you for your rejection of the above manuscript.

Unfortunately we are not able to accept it at this time. As you are probably aware we receive many rejections each year and are simply not able to accept them all. […] Please don’t take this as a reflection of your work. The standard of some of the rejections we receive is very high.

We do wish you and your editorial team every success with your rejections in the future and hope they find safe harbour elsewhere. To this end, may we suggest you send one to [insert name of rival research group] for consideration. They accept rejections from some very influential journals.

Please understand that our decision regarding your rejection is final. We have uploaded the final manuscript in its original form, along with the signed copyright transfer form.

We look forward to receiving the proofs and to working with you in the future.

(For full letter see the original.)

Astute readers will notice that their form letter template does not list all nations, but only a subset of them –

[Insert country here—that is, Australia/New Zealand/small European Country/Canada]

I further notice that this contribution was not peer-reviewed –

Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.


Other features include a review of zombie infectionsdebunking the curse of the rainbow jersey, and “Gunslinger’s gait” (featuring President Putin and other other highly ranked Russian officials).

Other articles on Code for life:

Monkey business, or is my uncle also my Dad?

Aww, crap.

Monday potpourri: maps, malaria in the USA, cholera in Dunedin and vaccines

Changing the GMO regulations – the ministry options

0 Responses to “I reject this”

  • Very witty.

    I read a sci-fi novel years ago that contained a similar idea: to find a group of astronauts/specialists, interviews were held with all the applicants. All of them were told “No, you missed out”. The ones that wouldn’t accept “No” as an answer were the ones that got to go.