Few intending authors appreciate how the editors of medical and scientific periodicals work. The British Journal of Psychiatry rejects about two-thirds of the papers submitted to it, and many of those accepted have to be partially re-written before they appear in print. Some explanation of the editorial reasons for this behaviour may be helpful. I, for one, am often saddened at having to refuse a contribution which is clearly the fruit of several people's hard work—a script which has been carefully written and retyped, diagrams beautifully drawn—and even more so when the study has involved many sessions of clinical interviews or many hours of laboratory effort. The author may be offering a little bit of his individual creative self, and in refusing his paper I am rejecting him. Of course there are plenty of journals in the world, and his piece may find a home elsewhere, but before turning it down we do often ask ourselves whether the observations and results it contains could be salvaged in some form for us.
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