Skeptic noted the following on a prior post:
First time submitted to JN. Submitted revision with additional experiments. The editor sent the paper to a new reviewer and he/she asks additional experiments. In the editor's word, "he has to reject the paper because this was the revision."
This echoes something I have only recently heard about from a peer. Namely that a journal editor said that a manuscript was being rejected due to* it being policy not to permit multiple rounds of revision after a "major revisions" decision.
The implications are curious. I have not yet ever been told by a journal editor that this is their policy when I have been asked to review a manuscript.
I will, now and again, give a second recommendation for Major Revisions if I feel like the authors are not really taking my points to heart after the first round. I may even switch from Minor Revisions to Major Revisions in such a case.
Obviously, since I didn't select the "Reject" option in these cases, I didn't make my review thinking that my recommendation was in fact a "Reject" instead of the "Major Revisions".
I am bothered by this. It seems that journals are probably adopting these policies because they can, i.e., they get far more submissions than they can print. So one way to go about triaging the avalanche is to assume that manuscripts that require more than one round of fighting over revisions can be readily discarded. But this ignores the intent of the peer reviewer to large extent.
Well, now that I know this about two journals for which I review, I will adjust my behavior accordingly. I will understand that a recommendation of "Major Revisions" on the revised version of the manuscript will be interpreted by the Editor as "Reject" and I will supply the recommendation that I intend.
Is anyone else hearing these policies from journals in their fields?
*having been around the block a time or two I hypothesize that, whether stated or not, those priority ratings that peer reviewers are asked to supply have something to do with these decisions as well. The authors generally only see the comments and may have no idea that that "favorable" reviewer who didn't find much of fault with the manuscript gave them a big old "booooooring" on the priority rating.