Journal of Experimental (?) Biology

Admitted, we did not see the Journal as it describes itself: “the leading primary research journal in comparative physiology“. Thus we maybe should not have been as surprised when we got our editorial rejection this morning, citing the journal’s priority as “prioritizes experimental research that addresses fundamental mechanisms of general importance to comparative physiology and biomechanics“.
In our opinion, we have presented a fundamental mechanism as well as experimental research, but it’s synthetic not comparative. The journal historically has published quite some biomechanics, which the editor admits, but states further that this research “must provide mechanistic insights that are broadly applicable in a comparative context.”

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Odyssee 2022

Submission to Physical Review E

1. June 2022

Editorial rejection from JEB

31. May 2022

Submission to the Journal of Experimental Biology

19. May 2022

Rejection by Physical Review Letters

18. May 2022

We have considered your manuscript and conclude that it is not suited for Physical Review Letters. We make no judgment on the correctness or technical aspects of your work. However, from our understanding of the paper’s physics results, context, and motivation, we conclude that your paper does not meet the Physical Review Letters criteria of impact, innovation, and interest. Our criteria require a clear justification for consideration of the paper by PRL, rather than by a specialized journal. Your work appears better suited for submittal to the latter.

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Submission to Physical Review Letters

6. May 2022

Rejected by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

13. April 2022

the results of our assessment have led us to the decision to decline to consider it for publication at this time… In your case, our assessment is that your manuscript does not meet one or more of the principal aims of our journal and on this basis we expect that the likelihood that detailed review will lead to publication is low. This decision is necessarily subjective and does not reflect an evaluation of the technical quality of your work. In this case, the Editorial Board indicated your manuscript is better suited for a specialty journal. The Editorial Board member, however, encourages you to submit to PNAS Nexus,…

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Submitted to Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

1. April 2022

Rejected by Current Biology

31. March 2022

Thank you for sending us your paper “Over the hump – foot function is a key to understand global walking dynamics”, but I am afraid that, after discussion with my colleagues on our editorial team, we cannot offer to publish it in Current Biology. We appreciate the interest in the issues you are addressing, but I am sorry to say that we are not persuaded that your paper would be a strong enough candidate for publication in Current Biology. As an alternative to Current Biology, I am pleased to be able to offer you a fast direct transfer of this work to our sister journal iScience, a selective multidisciplinary open access journal from Cell Press, covering life and physical sciences.

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Submission to Current Biology

29. March 2022

Rejected by PLOS Biology

28. March 2022

Submission to PLOS Biology

25. March 2022

Rejection from Journal of the Royal Society Interface

23. March 2022

“Unfortunately, in view of the considerable pressures on publication in the journal, we are obliged to decline manuscripts that do not achieve the highest standard of referees’ report. Therefore, the Editor of J. R. Soc. Interface has decided to reject the paper. A resubmission will not be considered.” I am not including the reviews, but my response to them:

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Transfer to Journal of the Royal Society Interface

24. February 2022

“All manuscripts are assessed by a member of the Editorial Board and unfortunately, based on this assessment, your manuscript has been rejected at this stage.

On a more positive note, based on the advice of the Associate Editor/Editor who handled your manuscript we would like to offer you the opportunity to transfer your manuscript file to another Royal Society journal,”

Rejected by PRSB

18. February 2022

“All manuscripts are assessed by a member of the Editorial Board and unfortunately, based on this assessment, your manuscript has been rejected at this stage. On a more positive note, based on the advice of the Associate Editor/Editor who handled your manuscript we would like to offer you the opportunity to transfer your manuscript file to another Royal Society journal, Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

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Submitted to Proceedings of the Royal Society B

18. February 2022

Rejected by Science Advances

21. January 2022

“Because your manuscript was not given a high priority rating during our initial assessment, we have decided not to send your paper for further review. Science Advances aims to publish significant, innovative, original research that advances the frontiers of science and extends the high standards of excellence established by the Science family of journals. We receive many very interesting submissions, more than we can possibly send out for in-depth review or publish. Our decision regarding your manuscript is therefore not necessarily a reflection of the quality of your work, but rather of our constraints and goals in publishing high impact results across a broad and balanced array of disciplines.”

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Transfer to Science Advances

14. January 2022

Rejection by Nature Communications

14. January 2022

In this case, while we do not question the validity of your work, I am afraid we are not persuaded that these findings represent a sufficiently striking advance to justify publication in Nature Communications. Although we cannot offer to publish your manuscript, I recommend you transfer it to Scientific Reports…

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Nature Communications – transferred

6. January 2022

Nature Physics – rejected by editor

5. January 2022

As you may know, in deciding which papers to publish we have to make an editorial judgement about the immediacy of interest to our readers and the degree and nature of the advance demonstrated. In practice, this means that we decline a majority (and ever increasing proportion) of manuscripts without sending them to referees, in cases where we feel that, even if referees were to certify the manuscript as technically correct, there would not be a sufficiently strong case for publication in Nature Physics. I am sorry to have to say that we must take this view concerning your submission.   In the present case, we have no doubt that your mathematical description of the dynamics of human walking will be of inherent interest to fellow researchers working on this and related topics. However, I regret that we are unable to conclude that your paper provides the sort of new fundamental or general insight in physics, with sufficiently broad implications, that would excite the interest of a wide, non-specialist audience of physicists. Therefore, we feel that the paper would find a more appropriate home in a specialist journal.   Although I regret that we cannot offer to publish your paper in Nature Physics for editorial reasons, it may be appropriate for our sister journal Nature Communications, and we encourage you to transfer it there. If you would like to do this (or transfer to a different Nature Portfolio journal), a link to initiate the process can be found in the…

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Nature Physics – transferred

8. December 2021

Nature – rejected by editor

7. December 2021

As you may know, we decline a substantial proportion of manuscripts without sending them to referees, so that they may be sent elsewhere without delay. In such cases, even if referees were to certify the manuscript as technically correct, we do not believe that it represents a development of sufficient scientific impact to warrant publication in Nature. These editorial judgements are based on such considerations as the degree of advance provided, the breadth of potential interest to researchers and timeliness.   In this case, we do not feel that your paper has matched our criteria for further consideration. We certainly have no doubt that your model will be of value to others seeking a deeper understanding of human gait; and we don’t question that the insights so obtained could be relevant in a variety of therapeutic and artificial contexts. But as the broader implications of your findings have yet to be elucidated, we are unable to conclude that the paper offers the sort of striking advance that would be likely to excite the immediate interest of Nature’s broader audience. We therefore feel that the paper would find a more suitable outlet in another journal.   Please be assured that this editorial decision does not represent a criticism of the quality of your work, nor are we questioning its value to others working in this area. We hope that you will rapidly receive a more favourable response elsewhere.

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Submitted to Nature

30. November 2021

Science – rejected by editor

23. November 2021

Submission to Science

15. November 2021
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Natural selection

While only seven days after our submission to Nature the editor stated

We certainly have no doubt that your model will be of value to others seeking a deeper understanding of human gait; and we don’t question that the insights so obtained could be relevant in a variety of therapeutic and artificial contexts.

he also said

But as the broader implications of your findings have yet to be elucidated, we are unable to conclude that the paper offers the sort of striking advance that would be likely to excite the immediate interest of Nature’s broader audience.

and advised us to transfer the manuscript to Nature Communications. Which we did not do but instead transfered to Nature Physics first, hoping to receive feedback before Christmas. This did not happen and after 28 days the editor of Nature Physics told us

In the present case, we have no doubt that your mathematical description of the dynamics of human walking will be of inherent interest to fellow researchers working on this and related topics.

but at the same time stated

As you may know, in deciding which papers to publish we have to make an editorial judgement about the immediacy of interest to our readers and the degree and nature of the advance demonstrated.

and suggested to transfer to Nature Communications, which we ultimately did last week. We are still waiting for an editor to be assigned and meanwhile I am wondering who is this audience of Nature and Nature Physics (not to forget Science, of course)? Why are they reading these journals and what are they looking for? And how do the editors know, what this is? Very curious to me.

Sneak peak

Also Nature did decline our manuscript yesterday, though they at least made the effort to refer to the conents of our paper in their rejection e-mail and gave us the impression that they made some effort to arrive at this conclusion. The reasons given for the rejection were a lack of believe in its scientific impact as well as no confidence in the sufficent and striking advance which would excite a broader audience.

So, we still have no substantial reviewer feedback, but the next step is before us. As a sneak peak here is a yet uncommented illustration of our story

Back to Nature

Almost precisely after two weeks from the date of submission the editor of Science came back to us saying at our paper has not been selected for publication but offered to transfer it to a related journal of the science family.

However, at this point we opted to try Nature first, which required us to rewrite the abstract in a quite interesting style, change from American to British spelling and rewrite our letter to the editor. We have submitted yestereday and been assigned to an undisclosed editor today. Again, fingers crossed!

Confusion

The old, slightly embarassing feeling that the manuscript tracker is playing with you. This Sunday the status changed back to “to advisor” and this morning it is again “under evaluation”. A Science help document, quite buried on the internet, suggests that there are more status items to pass.

Progress

This process has been expected to be fast but its moving along at a stunning pace. Sometime last night we have been assigned our requested editor, the editor had set the status to “to advisor” which I assume involved the reviewing editors. The status has now changed to “under evaluation” which should have triggered the in-depth review by two outside reviewers. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned!

Talking about Science

Not about science in general but about Science Magazine, one of the high-impact, general purpose scientific journals. My notion of science is “When you do bad science you are not getting into Science. If you are doing great science, you are probably still not getting into Science.

However, I have submitted a research article manuscript to Science magazine yesterday and I would like to take you on the journey with me.

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Running speed

Wired magazin published an interesting article covering a recent paper of my dear co-author Dr. Michael Guenther which is worth reading

https://www.wired.com/story/why-even-the-fastest-human-cant-outrun-your-house-cat/

which bases on his recent paper

  1. Günther M, Rockenfeller R, Weihmann T, Haeufle DFB, Götz T, Schmitt S. Rules of nature’s Formula Run: Muscle mechanics during late stance is the key to explaining maximum running speed. Journal of Theoretical Biology. Published online August 2021:110714. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2021.110714

And there is also a very nice video about running top speed from WIRED’s “Almost Impossible” series