I’ll never forget this great story my late professor at Berkeley, Dr. Larry Stark, told me. By then he was tenured, established and about to retire, but back in the day, when he was still getting his doctoral degree, he needed to get his technical papers published to establish his resume.
He had done all the research, run the experiments and written out his results. To better his odds, he had written up three different papers, hoping to get at least one published. He sent “Paper A” to “Journal A,” “Paper B” to “Journal B” and “Paper C” to “Journal C”. He waited anxiously to find out whether they’d been accepted for publication. Unfortunately, all three papers were rejected. Needless to say, Larry was pretty dejected.
Along with each rejection came suggestions from the editor on how he could change the paper to be publishable. So Larry set the papers aside, thinking eventually that he would get to them and make the necessary changes–maybe he would rerun some of the experiments. But then he had an idea. He decided to switch up the papers. So he sent “Paper A” to “Journal B,” “Paper B” to “Journal C” and “Paper C” to “Journal A”. And guess what? All three papers were accepted!