Review decisions on papers come in five forms: accept, accept with minor revisions, accept with major revisions, revise and resubmit, or reject. The below table provides further detail on the various forms of review decisions.
|Decision on paper||Definition|
|Accept||Journal publishes your paper in its current state.|
|Accept with minor revisions||Journal is willing to publish your paper given you or the co-authors make minor corrections as suggested by the reviewers or Handing Editor.|
|Accept with major revisions||Journal is willing to publish your paper given you or the co-authors make major corrections as suggested by the reviewers and or Handing Editor.|
|Revise and resubmit||Journal rejects your paper in its current state, but is willing to consider publishing it following major revisions and a new peer review cycle.|
|Reject||Journal will not publish your paper in its current state or any alternative or modified states.|
One of the above decisions on your paper determines its fate for that journal and whether or not you can resubmit to the same journal. Receiving an outright rejection decision on your paper from a journal is usually the final decision at the Handling Editor’s or Editor In Chief’s discretion. Therefore, if rejected, your only option is to submit to another journal. Only in extenuating circumstances can authors contest a paper rejection.
Practical example for Life Sciences
Most journals within the life sciences employ the same paper acceptance criteria listed above. Here is a useful link: https://www.slideshare.net/GRFDavos/elsevier-author-workshop-how-to-write-a-scientific-paper-and-get-it-published
Practical example for Social Sciences
Journals within the social sciences reply on the general criteria outlined above. With the exception of cases whereby you can demonstrate that the reviewer/s are subject to unfair bias or have misunderstood the research. Generally, however, it is ideal to pursue a new journal following rejection, by submitting to the next highest-impact journal on your list of preferred publications for the research.