In the comments section of our most recent "how can we help you?" post, Amanda writes:
Okay so most of us have experienced nasty reviews and wildly divergent reviews. However, I am dealing with a new low re papers and submission and stuff. I have this paper that plenty of senior people in the field have read and they tell me it's excellent, one of my best papers, etc. I have now submitted it to 6 journals, and not only has it been rejected every time, but rejected with criticisms of the type, "this is a completely hopeless project." I am hesitant to send it out again, because the reviews have been so bad I am worried one of my former reviewers will see it and that could hurt my reputation.
So does anybody have any experience or advice regarding what to do in situations like this? My paper is pretty controversial, so that might have something to do with it. I am fine giving up on a paper, not everything works. But I am just confused with the difference in feedback. And it really makes me wonder about our profession if professionals can't even come to remote agreement regarding whether a paper is half way decent. Of course, my colleagues could be lying to me, but that is a problem in itself. I would think they would just give me polite but critical feedback if they really didn't like it.
As fate would have it, I went through a similar case myself earlier in my career...