I have a zombie paper. This is the paper that should have been published many months ago, but since then, has accrued numerous rejections.
Needless to say, the last couple weeks have been horrible. Someone in my family was at the ER, that same night my grandmother passed, and I've been accumulating manuscript rejections like its nobody's business.
As for this manuscript, the science behind it is awesome. We've demonstrated something that people could only demonstrate under highly specialized conditions. Now, we can do it more broadly, and that allows there to be some sort of application. The manuscript was first submitted to a high IF journal, it went out to review, and was rejected. The reviews were all-in-all reasonable, but one review came from someone outside my field who didn't quite "get it". I sent the manuscript to a slightly less high IF journal and it was rejected without review. Third, I sent the the manuscript to a slightly less high IF journal than the one before hand, it went out to review, and was rejected this morning. Two reviews were outside the field and didn't "get it" and one reviewer was in the field and "got it."
Perhaps it is the angle on which I am selling this work, but it is not getting the reviews it deserves. When I present this work at conferences, lots of people get excited. It's formed the basis for a few collaborations and lots of exciting ongoing work. I cannot publish subsequent manuscripts until this zombie paper gets out, and a back log is resulting.
I am considering just writing the most recent editor and asking for another reviewer to see if that gets any more traction. I am also dreading the moment at which I will have to tell my student for the third time that his paper has been rejected.