Got completely slammed yesterday by reviewers of a Participatory Action study I sent for consideration...it represents three years hard work by a large team of 10 people in disability services..smashed!!!! Why are they so bloody rude...
Responding seems to involve the following:
1. Shock and disbelief
4. Read again
6. Gradual normalisation
7. Recognition that they may have a point
8. Determination to make changes
9. Look on the net for the journal with the next highest Impact factor
10. Start again
Lots of interesting issues raised though and once I got through the emotions i could see this much more clearly....not enough clarity in terms of participant demographics, too many quotes and not enough analysis and modelling, didnt account for the British audience enough, one straw man argument in the discussion which never goes down well...time to go through it again and make it better for the next journal down the rung..
Found this beauty of the web about publishing..ancient but still massively relevant
How to Win Acceptances by Psychology Journals: 21 Tips for Better Writing
What You Say
1. Start strong. Smith and Jones (1986) found that 83% of readers never got beyond the first paragraph of the majority of articles they began to read. This opening is an example of how to be boring, as are these: Past research shows..., or It is interesting to note that...(says who?). A strong start asks a question or states a problem pertinent to the theme of your article: Why are so many psychology articles safe and cheap substitutes for sleeping pills?, for example, or Dullness blunts the impact of many potentially interesting articles. Tell readers what the article is about in a provocative way that catches their attention.
2. Tell readers why they should be interested. These findings are interesting and important. Therefore, you should support my promotion to tenure. Don't expect readers to know why you find a topic interesting or why they should find it interesting. Show them! Keep your audience in mind: The more you can relate your topic to concerns of your reader, the more interest you will generate. If you are writing for perceptual psychologists, make contact with the theoretical issues that concern people in this field. If you are writing for teachers, show how your findings can be used to improve teaching.
3. Make sure the article does what it says it will do. In this article, I will characterize the meaning of life, solve the problem of world hunger, and reveal at long last Richard Nixon's secret plan to end the Vietnam War. Many articles are declined by journals because they do not deliver what they promise. They claim much, but deliver little. For example, experiments should follow from the theory you present. Make sure you frame your article in terms of what you have really accomplished, not in terms of what you wished you had accomplished.
4. Make sure the literature review is focused, reasonably complete, and balanced. Thus, both studies showed that high levels of reasoning performance require people to wear propeller beanies on their heads. Other studies, showing that high levels of reasoning performance require pocket protectors, are irrelevant. Reviewers are infuriated by literature reviews that are biased in favor of a single point of view, especially if it's not their own (and chances are good that at least some of the reviewers will have different views from your own). Reviewers are even more upset when their own work is clearly relevant but not cited (can you say, Sayonara to acceptance?). And reviewers do not want to read about every marginally relevant study ever done. Make your review complete and current, but also keep it focused and concise, so that it encompasses but does not overwhelm what you are studying.
5. Always explain what your results mean don't leave it to the reader to decipher. ...
see here for the other 15 points