AACR Manuscript Transfer Service
For authors of Research Articles that have been declined for publication at an AACR journal, the AACR offers the corresponding author the option to easily transfer his or her manuscript files and supporting information, such as peer review comments and reviewer identities, to a second AACR journal of his or her choice for consideration.
The Transfer Process
A link to the manuscript transfer service web page in the SmartSubmit submission system will be included in the decision letter for declined Research Article manuscripts. Here authors may select a second or “recipient” AACR journal to which they would like to transfer their rejected manuscript. Authors may also elect to upload a rebuttal letter that outlines for the recipient journal editors how the authors propose to address any reviewer and editor concerns if offered the opportunity to revise the manuscript prior to peer review, or re-review, at the second journal. After the author confirms their journal selection, transfer of the manuscript to the second journal is complete and the link in the decision letter is disabled (i.e., the authors can no longer use the same link to transfer their manuscript to a third AACR journal). Authors will receive an email confirmation of the transfer from the recipient journal. In summary, the authors must complete the following steps to ensure transfer:
- Click transfer link in decision letter
- Select second or “recipient” AACR journal
- Upload a rebuttal or “response to reviewer comments” letter (optional)
- Confirm selection
If the editors of the second AACR journal decline to publish the transferred manuscript, the authors may repeat the process to transfer their manuscript to a third AACR journal, and this process may be repeated for successive journals.
All transferred manuscripts will undergo an initial assessment by the editors of the selected journal and the AACR cannot guarantee publication or peer review of transferred manuscripts. By electing to participate in this service, authors agree that neither their manuscript nor any part of their manuscript has been submitted to another journal. The manuscript, in whole or in part, must also not be under consideration, in press, published, or reported elsewhere. This includes the posting of a manuscript or any similar manuscript on the study sponsors' or authors' institutional websites. If the transferred manuscript is ultimately accepted for publication, authors will be responsible for the publication and applicable color figure fees associated with the journal to which their manuscript was transferred. A list of journal publication and color figure fees is available at Publication Fees and Reprints.
Can you show me an example?
An author submits a research article manuscript to Cancer Discovery, and the manuscript is declined for publication after undergoing peer review. The corresponding author clicks the link in the decision letter to access the manuscript transfer service page, chooses Clinical Cancer Research as the recipient journal and uploads a rebuttal letter that outlines how the author team proposes to address the reviewer and editor concerns in a revised version of the manuscript.
The editors of Clinical Cancer Research (CCR) receive the transferred manuscript and rebuttal letter, as well as the decision letter, reviews, reviewer identities and metadata associated with the Cancer Discovery record. A new manuscript ID is assigned to the manuscript (e.g., CCR-16-1234-AT), and a confirmation email with the new manuscript ID is sent to the corresponding author.
After reviewing the transferred manuscript, original reviews, and rebuttal letter, the CCR editors invite the authors to submit a revised version of the manuscript that would incorporate the proposed changes included in the rebuttal letter. Upon submission of the revised manuscript, the CCR editors send the revision to the peer reviewers of the original submission at Cancer Discovery. After receiving new positive peer review comments and evaluating the revision, the CCR editors determine that the manuscript meets the criteria for publication in CCR and formally accept the paper.
Note: If the transferred manuscript had been declined for publication in CCR, the corresponding author would have the option to transfer his or her manuscript to any of the remaining AACR journals using the link included in the CCR decision letter.
Is there a limit to the number of AACR journals to which I can transfer my manuscript?
No. You may transfer your rejected manuscript to each of the AACR journals, in succession, using the transfer link embedded in each of the journals’ decision letters. However, we ask that you review the available journals carefully to select the recipient journal most appropriate for your submission. The Select an AACR Journal page is a useful place to start for this information.
What is transferred to the “recipient” journal?
All manuscript files, the rebuttal letter uploaded with the transfer (if applicable), decision summaries (including reviews and reviewer identities, if applicable), SmartSubmit manuscript information metadata (i.e., the author-supplied information for the manuscript record stored in our submission system), and the decision letter and all correspondence between staff members and authors are transferred.
Will the editor handling my manuscript discuss it with editors of other journals?
Although it is not typical, editors may reach out in confidence to the editors of another AACR journal to gauge their interest in considering the manuscript for publication. The manuscript and any peer review comments and reviewer identities will be shared. If the editors of the recommended journal invite the transfer, your decision letter will include language encouraging transfer to that particular journal. You are under no obligation to submit to the editor-recommended journal.
I received a rejection letter for my review article, but a transfer link was not included. How can I use the transfer service?
At this time only Research Articles are eligible for transfer.
My Research Article manuscript was rejected without peer review. Can I still use the transfer service?
Yes. Transfer links are included in the “reject” and “reject without review” decision letters for all Research Article manuscripts.
Am I required to upload a rebuttal letter if my manuscript was rejected without peer review?
A rebuttal letter is not a requirement of the automated transfer process, even if the manuscript was sent out for peer review. In cases where a manuscript is rejected without review or where the decision letter does not contain substantive comments from the editor, authors may elect to transfer the paper without a rebuttal letter.
I received a rejection letter for my Research Article and would like to use the transfer service, but I have a few changes that I would like to make to the manuscript before it is transferred. I would also like to address the reviewers’ comments. Can I make these changes?
If you elect to use the transfer service, our system will automatically transfer the original submission “as is” to the journal of your choice. You cannot make edits to the manuscript files or to the SmartSubmit manuscript record, and the Editorial Office will not accept any new or revised files unless they are requested by the editors. If you would like to address the reviewers’ or editor’s comments, we encourage you to upload a rebuttal letter that includes a proposal for how you plan to address the reviewers’ and/or editor’s concerns in a revised version of the manuscript. The option to upload your rebuttal letter is included on the manuscript transfer page.
Can I upload my revised version of the manuscript with my rebuttal letter?
No. The recipient journal editors will determine whether to invite a resubmission based on the original manuscript, peer reviews (if applicable), and your proposal to address the reviewers’ and/or editor’s concerns in the rebuttal letter.
A few months have passed since I received a rejection letter for my Research Article, but I’m now interested in transferring the article to another AACR journal. Is this possible?
Yes. The transfer link embedded in the “reject” and “reject without review” decision letters does not expire. Note that the link is disabled as soon as the transfer process is completed (i.e., you cannot use the same link to transfer your manuscript to more than one AACR journal).
Can I use the transfer service to appeal a decision?
No. The transfer service should be used only to transfer a rejected Research Article to another AACR journal. Authors who wish to appeal a manuscript decision must do so by sending correspondence to the staff member(s) of the journal to which they are requesting reconsideration. Manuscripts under appeal may not be transferred to another AACR journal until a decision on the appeal is reached.
The decision letter includes language encouraging me to submit my manuscript to another AACR journal. Am I required to transfer my paper to this journal?
No. The editors of one AACR journal may believe a manuscript is better suited to another AACR journal, and, prior to drafting the decision letter, may reach out confidentially to the editors of this journal to gauge their interest. If your decision letter contains a recommendation for another AACR journal, it means the editor-recommended AACR journal has evaluated your manuscript and is encouraging its transfer. (Note that this does not guarantee publication.) This is a suggestion – you may choose to transfer your manuscript to any journal in the AACR publishing program.
Am I required to use the transfer service to submit my manuscript to another AACR journal?
No. The transfer service was designed to automate the transfer process as a service to the authors. If you do not wish to transfer information about a previous review process, you may instead submit the manuscript directly to the second journal using the usual submission procedure. Please note that the manuscript will be considered a new submission, not a transfer, and any reviews or correspondence associated with the manuscript’s previous submission record will not carry over.
My manuscript and reviews were transferred to another AACR journal. Will it need to undergo another round of peer review?
All transferred manuscripts will undergo an initial assessment by the editors of the selected journal. The transferred manuscript may be sent out for peer review or a decision may be rendered without additional review, at the editors' discretion. The AACR cannot guarantee publication or peer review of transferred manuscripts.
If the recipient journal editors decide to send my revision out for additional review, will it be sent to the original peer reviewers?
It depends. The original reviewers may not be available to perform a review of the revision or the editor of the recipient journal may choose to send the revision to a new set of reviewers. Although we cannot guarantee that the original reviewers will be used, we will, in most cases, try to secure them.
I transferred my Research Article manuscript and received a rejection letter stating that my manuscript was “out of scope.” Why did this happen?
Each AACR journal’s publishing profile is unique. We ask that you review the scope statements and submission guidelines for each journal to select the recipient journal most appropriate for your submission.
I transferred my manuscript using the transfer service, but now realize I have changed my mind. What do I do?
If you choose to opt out of this program while the manuscript is still under consideration with the recipient journal, the corresponding author should reply to the transfer acknowledgment email he or she received from the recipient journal and state that the author team wishes to withdraw their manuscript from the journal. Upon receipt of this message, the transferred manuscript will be formally withdrawn, and the corresponding author will receive an email confirmation.