A Note of Encouragement

I thought that the following might be of interest to your readers, especially the younger scientists. I recently had a conversation with a graduate student who was very unhappy because his first paper had just been rejected by a journal. This was not the first time that I had heard this lament. I tried to reassure him that reviewers can err and that he should resubmit it to another journal. I told him about one of my papers, which was turned down by the Journal of Biological Chemistry because

Bernard Erlanger
Apr 25, 1999

I thought that the following might be of interest to your readers, especially the younger scientists.

I recently had a conversation with a graduate student who was very unhappy because his first paper had just been rejected by a journal. This was not the first time that I had heard this lament. I tried to reassure him that reviewers can err and that he should resubmit it to another journal.

I told him about one of my papers, which was turned down by the Journal of Biological Chemistry because it "was not of general interest." It was later accepted, unchanged, by Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, considered to be a less influential journal.1

The paper was designated a "Citation Classic" in 19812 and has been widely cited since, with more than 70 citations in 1997 alone, 36 years after publication. Yes. Reviewers can be wrong, even those...

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