Inorganic Chemistry Explores the 5 Stages of Rejection

Inorganic Chemistry Explores the 5 Stages of Rejection

Manuscript rejection is a normal part of the scientific publishing process. It happens to all researchers, from novices to Nobel Laureates, at one time or another.  Intellectually that makes sense—especially when it happens to someone else—but what should you do when a rejection notice shows up in your inbox?

“First, take a breath. Take a deep breath,” advise Inorganic Chemistry Editor-in-Chief William B. Tolman and Associate Editor P. Shiv Halasyamani.

How Chemists Can Use Manuscript Rejection to Improve Their Work

In their May 7, 2018, editorial, these veteran researchers and journal editors offer their take on rejection psychology with the “Five Stages of Rejection”—Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance —modeled after the “Five Stages of Grief,” developed by psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Tolman and Halasyamani’s therapeutic commentary may seem light-hearted, but it offers serious advice on how chemists can find solace during the rejection recovery process and use that experience to become better researchers. The editors note that rejection is a time for reflection on how to improve your manuscript, or whether to return to the drawing board to start anew because better ideas could be in the offing.

They hope their editorial will help improve the publishing experience for authors, editors, reviewers, and readers.

“Editors at Inorganic Chemistry not only handle hundreds of papers per year, but also are active research scientists who submit manuscripts themselves,” Tolman and Halasyamani write. “Each one of us has experienced these five stages when our own papers have been rejected. We understand.”

Read the full Inorganic Chemistry Editorial “Five Stages of Rejection.”

Downloadable Poster: 5 Stages of Rejection

Click on the image below to download this infographic on the “5 Stages of Rejection” and print it out as a poster to hang in your lab.

5 Stage of Rejection for Chemists
Click the image above for a high-resolution PDF version.

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