European Science Editing 47: e51999, doi: 10.3897/ese.2021.e51999
Rejection rate and reasons for rejection after peer review: a case study of a Russian economics journal
expand article infoEvgueniya A Balyakina, Ludmila A Kriventsova§
‡ Insitute of Economics UB RAS, Ekaterinburg, Russia§ Institute of Economics UB RAS, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Open Access

 Background:  Peer review remains the only way of filtering and improving research. However, there are few studies of peer review based on the contents of review reports, because access to these reports is limited.

Objectives: To measure the rejection rate and to investigate the reasons for rejection after peer-review in a specialized scientific journal.

 Methods:  We considered the manuscripts submitted to a Russian journal, namely ‘Economy of Region’ (Rus Экономика региона), from 2016 to 2018, and analysed the double-blind review reports related to rejected submissions in qualitative and quantitative terms including descriptive statistics.

Results: Of the 1653 submissions from 2016 to 2018, 324 (20%) were published, giving an average rejection rate of 80%. Content analysis of reviewer reports showed five categories of shortcomings in the manuscripts: breaches of publication ethics, mismatch with the journal’s research area, weak research reporting (a major group, which accounted for 66%of the total); lack of novelty, and design errors. We identified two major problems in the peer-review process that require editorial correction: in 36% of the cases, the authors did not send the revised version of the manuscript to the journal after receiving editorial comments and in 30% of the cases, the reviewers made contradictory recommendations.

Conclusions: To obtain a more balanced evaluation from experts and to avoid paper losses the editorial team should revise the journal’s instructions to authors, its guide to reviewers, and the form of the reviewer’s report by indicating the weightings assigned to the different criteria and by describing in detail the criteria for a good paper.

academic publishing, content analysis, peer review, rejection rate, Russian academic journals