#7: How Successful Academic Faculty Use Journal Paper Rejections As A Method For Building Their Resilience

Academic faculty are increasingly expected to produce high quality research outputs at a significant volume. Publishing research results is vital for successful careers in academia.

But as many faculty know, academic journals with excellent reputations do not accept articles easily.

Once the hard work of research has been completed, the process of publishing the results can be fraught with difficulty, disappointment and frustration.

As a profession, academia has a significant proportion of individuals who grapple with self-doubt and imposter syndrome.

Add in some rejections from journal editors, and despondency can creep in and erode the self-confidence of faculty.

However, with the correct mindset, rejections can be reframed into opportunities to develop personal resilience.

This article describes 7 principles to establish that help academic faculty transform journal article submissions into a method for building personal resilience.

Become more resilient and thrive in your academic environment.

1. Acknowledge And Embrace Failure

  • Understand that rejection is an inherent part of the academic journey.
  • Acknowledge your feelings of disappointment, but do not let them define your worth or capabilities.
  • Embrace failure as a stepping stone towards improvement and success.

If you don’t submit articles for publication, you can’t succeed.

Rejections mean that you are engaging with the process.

Being consistent leads to more opportunities for eventual success.

2. Learn From Feedback

  • Analyse the feedback provided by reviewers constructively.
  • Identify specific areas for improvement in your research or writing.
  • Use feedback as a roadmap to enhance the quality of your future submissions.

Not all feedback is helpful.

But don’t be despondent.

Focus on the feedback that helps stimulate new ideas for how you present your work.

And if you submit more articles, you’ll receive more feedback.

3. Cultivate A Growth Mindset

  • Adopt a growth mindset by viewing challenges as opportunities to learn and develop.
  • Understand that intelligence and abilities can be cultivated through dedication and hard work.
  • Embrace challenges with a positive attitude, focusing on the journey of improvement rather than fixating on immediate success.

Disappointment is an emotional reaction. Work to remove the emotion from your thinking and take the rejections at face value.

Long term success comes from a succession of incremental positive steps.

Use the rejections to create your own personal improvement plan.

4. Build A Supportive Network

  • Connect with colleagues and mentors who can offer guidance and share their own experiences with rejection.
  • Establish a support system that encourages open discussions about setbacks and resilience.
  • Seek advice from those who have successfully navigated through similar challenges.

The single biggest factor that successful faculty cite is their experience of working with role models or mentors.

Find someone who has more experience than you.

Talk to them.

Engage them in productive conversations.

Help them where you can.

Over time, your network will grow and the benefits it can provide will compound.

5. Set Realistic Goals

Ambitious faculty often have ambitious goals.

Make sure that you have smaller goals that enable you to achieve and experience success.

6. Diversify Submission Strategies

  • Explore different journals and publication outlets to increase your chances of acceptance.
  • Consider interdisciplinary collaborations to broaden the scope and appeal of your research.
  • Adapt your writing style to align with the preferences of different journals.

Realise that journal editors are actually running a business. They need to publish articles that engage their audience.

So, invest time in reading back-issues of a journal to familiarise yourself with it – your articles can then be presented to match the style that the audience wants to read.

7. Prioritise Self-Care

  • Recognise the importance of mental and emotional well-being.
  • Take breaks when needed and engage in activities that bring joy and relaxation.
  • Foster a healthy work-life balance to prevent burnout and maintain long-term resilience.

It can be tempting for academic faculty to go ‘all-in’ when establishing a publication track-record.

A concerted effort to improve is essential for success. But don’t become obsessed, otherwise the quality of your work is likely to suffer.


By reframing journal paper rejections as opportunities for growth, academic faculty can cultivate resilience that serves as a powerful asset in their careers.

Embracing failure, learning from feedback, fostering a growth mindset, building a supportive network, setting realistic goals, diversifying submission strategies, and prioritising self-care are actionable steps that can empower faculty to overcome setbacks and achieve lasting success in the dynamic world of academia.