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Ben Lennertz

I corresponded with someone on the editorial side about this because I, too, was confused about how it worked. I'll paste the relevant parts of the correspondence below. Perhaps I'm missing something, but from what they said, there seems to be no benefit to authors beyond avoiding the actual submission site again. Reviews and editorial decisions work in the standard way. Here's what they said:

We would like to inform you that we will not pass on reports of previously conducted peer review to the next journal. Your manuscript will undergo the regular editorial process upon submission to the next journal. In case you would like the next journal to have a look at the review reports, you can include them as supplementary material when finalizing your submission. . . Your submission will be considered as a New Submission and will undergo a peer-review process. The time required for review process may vary from journal to journal and it depends on the discretion of the receiving journal.

Phil Osopher

It's just a lame trick by Springer to simultaneously (i) reject your paper from one of their journals while (ii) trying to ensure it eventually winds up in another of their journals. Why? Answer: publishers are increasingly in competition with one another.

Is the transfer process beneficial to authors? Of course not. There's no fast-tracking, back-door entry into any journal. That would clearly violate editorial integrity. As Ben Lennertz confirms, things work in the normal way.

Personal story: I had a rejected R+R from Phil Stud get recommended to fairly mid-to-low-ranked Springer journals like Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. No recommendation for Synthese or Erkenntnis. I was peeved to say the least and I have no faith that the administrators at the other end of the emails really have any idea about philosophy.

tl;dr Desk Transfer is a scam and Springer sucks (of course individual journals may not…)


I once went through with this just to see what the deal was (wasn't in a rush with the paper in question). It initially got desk rejected at Phil Studies and transferred to Linguistics and Philosophy. Looks like L&P spent a couple of months trying to find a referee before rejecting it (the paper did eventually find a good home if you are wondering). Seems like the editorial procedure was basically the same as you'd expect anywhere else. That said, I wouldn't do it again as I prefer the editors not to know my paper has been previously rejected by another journal. And it was not really any less work than a normal submission.

William Peden

It's never benefited me or anyone else I know. It seems to be somewhat more of a thing in other disciplines, where desk rejections are more common.


Also unimpressed. I had a rejection from a psych/phil journal, carefully selected for being one that's actually interdisciplinary. The transfer desk recommended a bunch of purely empirical journals where the paper would have been desk rejected.

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