Attributes of a Rejected Manuscript

John D. Archer, MD
JAMA. 1975;232(2):165. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250020039025.
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The Journal attempts to publish valid, readable manuscripts of interest and value to a general medical audience. Some editorial decisions are relatively easy. These involve submissions of obviously outstanding quality that conform to Journal format or, alas, those of little or no merit.

More often, however, editorial priorities are less easily set. Since we can publish only a small fraction of the manuscripts we receive, we must reject, although reluctantly, a substantial number of evident merit, on the basis of excessive length or narrow interest. Once such fairly clear-cut decisions are made, we must select among the many others competing for space in The Journal pages.

Our numerous expert consultants are of indispensable help in many of these selections. Ultimately, however, the editorial staff must make the decisions. It is interesting to examine certain characteristics common among the rejected ranks and likely absent from the accepted. In general, one or


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