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Dear Editor, why have you rejected my article?

  • Jonathan Pimm (a1)
Summary

The experience of rejection of an article submitted for publication to a scientific journal can be particularly anxiety provoking, especially when the furtherance of an academic career or the gaining of a permanent post might be riding on getting it published. Many papers fail to get past the first hurdle and are not sent out for peer review, often as a result of the most basic of errors: the results are not generalisable, the paper adds nothing new to the subject, there are flaws in the study design or inappropriate statistics were used. Attention paid to formulating a clear research question and the adoption at the outset of a doable, interesting project will often help to avoid disappointment.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Jonathan Pimm (tp@rcpsych.ac.uk)
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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Thrower, P. Eight reasons I rejected your article. Elsevier Connect, accessed August 2013 (http://elsevierconnect.com/8-reasons-i-rejected-your-article).
2 Springer Journal Author Academy. Common reasons for rejection. Accessed August 2013 (http://www.springer.com/authors/journal+authors/journal+authors+academy?SGWID=0-1726414-12-837829-0).
3 San Francisco Edit. Eleven Reasons why Manuscripts are Rejected. Accessed August 2013 (http://www.sfedit.net/rejection.pdf).
4 Campbell, MJ, Machin, D, Walters, SJ. Medical Statistics – A Textbook for the Health Sciences (4th edn). Wiley, 2007.
5 Barratt, H, Kirwan, M. Systematic reviews, methods for combining data from several studies, and meta-analysis. Health Knowledge, 2009 (http://www.healthknowledge.org.uk/public-health-textbook/research-methods/1a-epidemiology/systematic-reviews-methods-combining-data). Accessed August 2013.
6 Greenhalgh, T. Papers that summarise other papers (systematic reviews and metaanalyses). BMJ 1997; 315: 672–5.
7 Lennox, BR, Coles, AJ, Vincent, A. Antibody-mediated encephalitis: a treatable cause of schizophrenia. Br J Psychiatry 2012; 200: 92–4.
8 National Research Ethics Service. Ethical review requirements. NRES, accessed August 2013 (http://www.nres.nhs.uk/applications/approval-requirements/ethical-review-requirements/).
9 Crinson, I, Leontowitsch, M. Section 4: Conducting Qualitative Research. Health Knowledge, 2006 (http://www.healthknowledge.org.uk/public-health-textbook/research-methods/1d-qualitative-methods/section4-conducting-qualitative-research). Accessed August 2013.
10 Calcagno, V, Demoinet, E, Gollner, K, Guidi, L, Ruths, D, de Mazancourt, C. Flows of research manuscripts among scientific journals reveal hidden submission patterns. Science 2012; 338: 1065–9.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Dear Editor, why have you rejected my article?

  • Jonathan Pimm (a1)
Submit a response

eLetters

Psychiatry 2014

John Elliott, FRCPsych
20 January 2014

I welcomed the recent issue of the Psychiatric Bulletin (1).

The juxtaposition within it of the views of the Editor and the reprint of an interview with Professor Lishmann gave me hope that there may be a stronger attempt to address the "complete disconnect between research and clinical practice with a relentless tendency over many years to downplay the medical and biological aspects of mental health care".

These are the words of Peter Tyrer, then Editor of the British Journal of Psychiatry, inits bicentennial volume (2).

The nearer mental illness - not mental health - can be made congruent to the position in society held by other physical illnesses, the sooner will its stigmatisation lessen. This happened with cancer, tuberculosis, epilepsy, and now belatedly is being applied to AIDS. As indicated in the current Editor's critique, the same standards must be applied tothe criteria used to select matter for the Psychiatric Bulletin as is used in other scientific medical journals.

Prior to this edition I was consistently dismayed by the preponderance of matters related to quantitative differences in services and individual traits rather than research for reliable, generalisable tools of diagnosis and treatment. Psychiatry is to do with the qualitativeanalysis of disease, not to support the vagaries of personalities within society. The latter are the province of education, psychology, sociologyand the law.

Of course all the professionals of these disciplines require the sortof psychotherapeutic skill that Professor Lishmann uses - distributive - that helps people to be brought into useful relationship with the therapist and his special tools. His career epitomises to me what psychiatry, psychological medicine, is properly about.

Incidentally my own slight difference with Professor Lishmann relatesto his view of Willhelm Greisinger. Greisinger throughout his book emphasises that humanitarian care is a given in serving the needs of the mentally ill. In the first paragraph of his chapter on therapeutics he applauds the "great principle of humanity" in psychiatry. However, he made it clear that in the light of the increasing knowledge of the "morbid action of the brain" humanitarianism will not of itself correct the abnormalities of brain function that underlie disease.

Sadly this has proven true. Mental illness has remained one of the last areas to develop effective treatments. This is the basis ofthe remaining stigma. Furthermore, the overarching use of the term "mental health" has unfortunately set psychiatry into a 'non-disease' ecology and has thus inmy view obfuscated the way of progress within the speciality. We need to address "this relentless tendency to downplay medical and biological aspects" of mental health care.

References:

1. Pimm J. Dear Editor, why have you rejected my article?Psychiatric Bulletin 2013; 37: 313-314.

2. Tyrer P, Craddock N. The bicentennial volume of the British Journal of Psychiatry: the winding pathway of mental science. Br J Psychiatry 2012; 200: 1-4.

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Conflict of interest: None declared

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