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I think so. But what do others think?


I don't think the editor will begrudge you for trying but it's extremely unlikely to work.

Jonathan Ichikawa

I have never done this, and I think it would take an extremely unusual set of circumstances for it to feel to me like a good idea.

Something that I think a lot of authors misunderstand is that referees don't make decisions about whether to accept papers. Referees give editors advice, and then editors make the decisions. The editor who received the split report and decided to reject did so on the basis of their best judgment, given all of their evidence. Editors sometimes make incorrect decisions on the basis of bad advice, but, given the obvious self-interests the author is considering, it's not as easy as authors sometimes think to recognize when this has happened. (Authors don't typically know everything the reviewer has told the referee, or how closely the editor themself has examined the submission.) And even when this has happened and the author knows it, it's EXTREMELY difficult to make it clear to an editor that this is what has happened. Editors, understandably, will start with the default assumption that the author is biased in favour of their paper. Rather than trying to take on that task, and the accompanying complex navigation involved in trying to convince the editor to backtrack on a mistake in their judgment, I would almost always rather just submit somewhere else instead.

Sometimes, in egregious cases, I think it's important to let the editor know how incompetently a reviewer handled my submission. This isn't because I want to try to make them change their mind, but rather because I want them to know not to trust that reviewer with similar projects again. I recall one occasion where I sent the editor a long response to the referee report AFTER submitting the paper to a different journal, so I could say that I had done so and make it clear that I wasn't asking them to reconsider.

The only time I'd be much tempted to try this, I think, is if all of the following conditions were met:

1) There are very obvious mistakes in a referee report.
2) These matters seemed to be central to the decision to reject. (If the report says "this paper was just not very interesting, and I also have objections X, Y, and Z," where Y is something you can show is an obvious mistake, that's not central enough.)
3) There is something in the reports that indicates that someone was quite positive and excited about the paper. Maybe one report is enthusiastic, and another says no for a bad reason. If they're looking for specific things to explain why they didn't like the paper and doing a bad job finding them, they still didn't like the paper.
4) There's some specific reason that it has to be THIS journal. Given the choice of someone I have to convince that my paper is good, I'd almost always prefer to ask someone other than the person who just passed.

Metaphysics grad

Certainly not in the case that the questioner describes. Journals are so over-loaded right now that anything less than two very positive reviews generally means rejection. I recently had a paper get one glowing review and another that said it was promising but needed revisions and the editor's decision was reject. I found this rather surprising, so I spoke to my advisor about it and he confirmed that this was increasingly quite common given the state of the journals right now.

well ....

I did once have a verdict overturned by pushing the issue. In my case it was an R&R, and the journal had taken about a year with the revision. There was a change of editors. Incidentally, that paper has been cited over 190 times.

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