After getting rejected from a selective journal, it’s common to revise the paper and then resubmit to a less-selective journal. This is often called “going down the ladder”.
But what about going up the ladder instead? I’ve never done this myself, but I can imagine circumstances in which someone might do this:
- Maybe you got a really good suggestion for a substantial revision, that the editor wasn’t sure you could carry out, hence the decision to reject the ms. If you do the revision and the ms is much improved, it’d be tempting to go up the ladder. A simple model of the reviewing process supports the intuition that it can be a good idea to go up the ladder when the reviews associated with the rejection let you greatly improve the ms.
- If you got a rejection with invitation to resubmit as a new ms, with no deadline (or a far-off deadline) for the resubmission, then you might be tempted to go up the ladder instead. Figuring that this isn’t submitting the same ms to two different journals, since after all the current status is “rejected”. And figuring that if you get rejected from the journal higher up the ladder you can just fall back on resubmitting to the original journal.
- Maybe other circumstances I haven’t thought of?
Note that I don’t consider revising and resubmitting to a higher-impact journal that covers different topics as going up the ladder. That’s more like changing ladders.
Have you ever gone “up the ladder” following a rejection? Looking forward to your comments.