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 manuscript files and supporting information, such as peer review comments and reviewer identities, to a second AACR journal of their choice for consideration.
The Transfer Process
When an author receives a decision letter declining publication of a Research Article, they will be provided with a link to the AACR manuscript transfer web page. To assist authors in selecting an appropriate journal, the manuscript transfer page ranks the available journals using subject terms and other journal metrics. This page also provides information about each journal, such as publication costs, handling times, out-to-review rates, and acceptance rates.
When selecting a recipient journal for their transfer, authors will also be asked to indicate whether their manuscript should be transferred in its current state or following revisions that they would like to make prior to consideration at the new journal. If the author chooses “transfer as-is,” the only change they will be able to make to their submission is to upload an optional rebuttal letter that explains why they think their work is appropriate for the journal and outlines how they propose to address any reviewer and/or editor concerns if offered the opportunity to revise the manuscript prior to peer review, or re-review, at the second journal. If the author chooses “transfer requires edits,” they will be able to make any changes they want to the manuscript before they complete submission to the new journal.
In general, the “transfer as-is” pathway is appropriate when the manuscript was declined without review. The “transfer requires edits” pathway is recommended when the manuscript includes comments from reviewers that would be appropriate to address before submitting the work to the new journal. If any changes are made to the manuscript itself to address reviewer comments, a detailed reviewer response letter must be provided to explain these changes. Failure to include a detailed explanation when impactful changes are made to the manuscript is likely to result in confusion and delays in conducting an accurate assessment at the new journal.
After the author confirms their journal selection and transfer pathway, the unmodified manuscript materials are transmitted to the second journal 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 notification of the transfer from the recipient journal. If the author chose “transfer as-is,” the email will indicate that transfer of their manuscript has been completed. If the author chose “transfer requires edits,” the email will tell them that they must click the included link and complete their submission to the new journal.
Please Note: Cancer Research Communications only offers the "transfer requires edits" pathway.
In summary, the authors must complete the following steps based on their transfer pathway:
- Click transfer link in decision letter
- Select the "recipient" AACR journal and the "transfer as-is" pathway
- Upload a rebuttal or "response to reviewer comments" letter (optional)
- Confirm selection
Transfer Requires Edits
- Click transfer link in decision letter
- Select the “recipient” AACR journal and the “transfer requires edits” pathway
- Confirm selection
- Click link in transfer acknowledgment email and complete submission to the recipient journal
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 not be under consideration, in press, published, or reported elsewhere, except as a permitted and described at Online Posting. 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 other fees associated with the journal to which their manuscript was transferred. A list of journal fees is available at Publication Fees and Reprints.
Can you walk me through 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 (CCR) as the recipient journal, and "transfer requires edits" as the pathway. A new manuscript ID is assigned to the manuscript (e.g., CCR-21-1234-AT), and a confirmation email with the new manuscript ID is sent to the corresponding author. They click the link in the confirmation email to view and revise their submission at CCR. They replace their old cover letter with a new one that explains their work and why they transferred it, upload a rebuttal letter listing all the reviewer comments and how they have or will address them, and replace any manuscript files they decided to immediately revise in response to certain reviewer comments. Finally, they review all the submission information that has been carried over from Cancer Discovery and approve their submission to complete the transfer.
The editors of CCR receive the transferred and revised manuscript, as well as the decision letter, reviews, reviewer identities and metadata associated with the Cancer Discovery manuscript.
After reviewing the transferred manuscript and original reviews, the CCR editors agree to consider a revised manuscript and invite the authors to submit a new version of the manuscript that has been further revised to incorporate the results of a new experiment the authors offered to conduct in their rebuttal letter that would address a criticism of one of the Cancer Discovery reviewers. Upon submission of the revised manuscript that includes the results of the new experiment, the CCR editors send the revision to the peer reviewers of the original submission at Cancer Discovery. After receiving new positive peer review comments, the CCR editors determine that the manuscript meets the criteria for publication in CCR and agree to accept the paper for publication.
Note: If the transferred manuscript had been declined for publication in CCR, the corresponding author would have the option to transfer their manuscript to any of the remaining AACR journals using the link included in the CCR decision letter.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 journal's decision letters. However, we ask that you review the available journals carefully to select the recipient journal most appropriate for your submission. The manuscript transfer page ranks possible destination journals by estimated suitability and provides links to further information to assist authors.
What is transferred to the "recipient" journal?
The following materials are transferred to the recipient journal: All manuscript files, the optional rebuttal letter uploaded with the transfer (if applicable), decision summaries (including reviews and reviewer identities, if applicable), manuscript information metadata (i.e., the author-supplied information for the manuscript record stored in the submission system), the decision letter, and all correspondence between staff members and authors.
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 reviewer 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 and Cancer Discovery Research Briefs 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 decision letters for all rejected 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 manuscript 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 there are any changes you want to make to your manuscript prior to consideration at the new journal, please select the “transfer requires edits” transfer pathway. You will then be provided with a link to access your manuscript at the new journal, make any changes you desire, and complete the submission. If you use the "transfer as-is" pathway, it will not be possible to make any changes to the manuscript, other than uploading a rebuttal letter, before the editors at the new journal make their decision.
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 manuscript, but I'm now interested in transferring the article to another AACR journal. Is this possible?
Yes. The transfer link embedded in the 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 manuscript 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.) The recommended AACR journal 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?
Although we cannot guarantee that the original reviewers will be used, we will, in most cases, try to secure them. 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.
I transferred my 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. In an effort to reduce the number of transfers to inappropriate journals, the manuscript transfer page uses the subject terms assigned to the manuscript and other information to rank the apparent suitability of the other AACR journals for that particular manuscript. Authors are encouraged to make use of this rank score when deciding where to transfer their manuscript.
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.