Studies have shown that 21% of papers are rejected without review, and approximately 40% of papers are rejected after peer review.
Since the rejection is inevitable, researchers should not focus on avoiding rejection but on what their options are after rejection.
- Appeal the decision
If you feel that the decision to reject was unfair, or there were major flaws in the review process, then as the author you have the right to appeal. Most journals will have a publicly described policy for appealing editorial decisions.
- Make the recommended changes and resubmit your manuscript to the same journal
- Make changes and submit your manuscript to a different journal
- Make no changes and submit your manuscript to a different journal
This is an easy option, but one that you should probably avoid. To begin with, any suggestions made during the first round of review could lead to improvements in your paper; not considering these suggestions would be missing the opportunity to increase your chance of acceptance at the next journal.
- Discard the manuscript and never resubmit it
You might decide that it is not worth the trouble of resubmitting your manuscript, but remember that your work is still valuable. It may be that the data you have collected is useful to someone else, or that your paper could help another researcher avoid generating similar negative results.