Help!

[Cross-posted at Cliopatria.]

I have a favour to ask of you. Would you mind please having a look at this and telling me what's wrong with it? Thank you.

To be somewhat less cryptic, it's an article for peer-review which I am having no luck getting accepted anywhere, and I don't really know why. I've had some bad luck. I wrote the first version about a year before I finished my PhD, in the hope that it would be on my CV by the time I entered the job market; in the event the journal I submitted it to took well over a year to reject it. But I've made some bad choices too. In its original form it was too ambitious and far too long; after three rejections I decided to cut it in two and rewrite each piece as a standalone article. As it (or at least the first part) was now shorter and sharper, I was again hopeful that I could find a home for it. But I've now received a second rejection for this version. This last rejection was helpful in that the reviewer provided detailed criticism, but while much of it is well taken, that some of it is not suggests that the point of my article did not get across. That's my fault as a writer; it might also be that I've been sending it to the wrong journals. But as I say, I'm not really sure why it's so difficult to place; it doesn't seem to me to be any worse than my first or even my second peer-reviewed articles.

So I'm taking a leaf out of Katrina Gulliver's book (though not her actual book!) by putting the article up on Google Docs and requesting feedback from anyone who has the patience to wade through it. You can comment on the article itself, either anonymously (if you don't want to be mentioned in the acknowledgements) or using your Google account; or you can send me an email. (No comments here though, please, unless they're about the crowdsourcing itself.) I'll take it down after a week or so.

How can I improve the article? What am I doing wrong? Where should I send it? Or should I just accept that this one is a dud and forget about it? It's up to you! Well, it's still up to me, but I'll be grateful for any and all suggestions.

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4 thoughts on “Help!

  1. Post author

    An update: I've been overwhelmed by your responses so far, very constructive and very helpful! There's a lot to take in but I'm getting a good picture of where and why the article fails to get my arguments and ideas across. I've responded to the comments on Google Docs but I haven't had time to respond to all the email comments yet. Thank you and please keep them coming!

  2. Post author

    Thanks again to everyone who had a read and took the time to comment on my article. I've closed access to it now, and will move on to thinking and rewriting...

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