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It can happen

I had recently a paper rejected for a special issue for reasons of fit, but both the editors of the special issue and, I presume, the editor of the journal advised to submit the paper as a stand-alone research article to the journal. Therefore, my impression is that it is something that editors would specify ('it's not ok for this special issue, but the journal is interested in the paper anyway'). But this was a middle-size journal run by an excellent editor, which hosts few special issues. If you consider a journal with lots of submissions and lots of special issues, maybe the editors may not have the time to read in details all the papers rejected for the special issues - therefore, they may miss your paper. In such a case, I'd send an email and ask.

On the point raised by Marcus about resubmitting a substantially revised version of the paper: I know for experience that a couple of journals have (at least) five options: accept, minor revisions, major revisions, reject, resubmittable. Resubmittable means that the paper is being rejected (and in fact in the editorial manager will appear as such), but the editor is happy to consider a revised version of the paper that address reviewers' comments. However, the revised paper is a new submission, it will be treated as such, and the editors ask to put the response to the reviewers' comments regarding the previous submission as a separate document. I was offered once this option.


I would say, send it in. I have had most to do with Synthese - publishing both in special issues and in regular articles. The editors of the special issues are NOT the regular editors of the journal. So the paper will be handle by different people. I would NOT mention that the paper was sent in before. But I would also NOT send in a merely lightly revised version of the paper that was rejected.


Ask the EiC. Or just submit it and explain the situation in the cover letter. The editor will decide what to do with it.


I would confirm in an email rather than mention it in the cover letter if you have any time pressure such that it would harm you to have it sit on the desk for a month

Michael Walschots

Journals often say explicitly in their 'instructions for authors' whether they will accept resubmissions after a reject and a) enough time has passed and/or b) the paper is substantially re-written, etc. It's often best to just ask the editor ahead of time if that's permissible (i've done this and have been given polite answers). However, my suspicion is that, given the insane number of submissions journals get these days, an article already having been rejected is an easy reason for an editor to desk reject and get through the pile of submissions.

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