Savvy Grad Student Rejects Own Paper to Save Time

Tantin, D. et al

A graduate student blessed with the ability to generate verbose sentences that say as little as possible decided to save himself months of time by writing his own editorial rejection letters.

“I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this hack before,” said Steven Santos as he rapidly fired off rejection after rejection to himself. “My first paper took two years between when we thought it was reasonably complete and when it was finally accepted. The first six months we spent just trying to get it reviewed. With this trick, I can bypass all those fruitless months of work.”

Santos wrote three complete signed and dated editorial rejection letters with varying levels of disinterest. Each began with platitudes thanking him for submitting to the journal. The first added that “while we are sure the work was well done, so far as it goes, after careful consideration we do not feel that your manuscript rises, at the present time, to a level of broad interest suitable for publication in our journal.” 

His second was less positive, obliquely scolding himself for not having convinced his boss to greenlight more expensive experiments: “Although we found your manuscript interesting, upon extensive consultation with our colleagues, we have decided that, lacking demonstration of functional relevance, we, unfortunately, must return it to you so that you may, therefore, submit it to another, more specific, journal.” 

The last letter offered vague assurances of better prospects with a lower-tier sister journal: “We have, however, closely discussed your manuscript with our colleagues at our open-access baby sister journal,” he wrote to himself, “and as we feel that it could be a better fit there, you can use our super-special cross-pollinator system to transfer your manuscript instantly by clicking the link below.”

Satisfied with the amazing rapidity of the result, the student submitted his  manuscript to his next choice, where it was accepted two months later.

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About Author

Dean Tantin

Dean Tantin is a professor and part-time humorist. He has interests in immunology, stem cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, etc. In his imagined spare time, he dabbles in reading, writing, music, running, hiking, etc. He has also written for The Scientist.

About Dean Tantin 2 Articles
Dean Tantin is a professor and part-time humorist. He has interests in immunology, stem cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, etc. In his imagined spare time, he dabbles in reading, writing, music, running, hiking, etc. He has also written for The Scientist.