The Unsubmitted Pedant or the Newspeak of Journals


Over the last week I’ve been trying to send a revised paper into a journal – honestly this post is not about the REF. I thought I had done so correctly but received an email from Manuscript Central saying my paper had been ‘unsubmitted’. Which got me thinking: what does that mean?

So I looked up ‘unsubmitted’ in the OED. It only seems to list ‘unsubmitted’ in ‘un-‘ where it states: ‘Expressing negation. The prefix has been very extensively employed in English, as in the other Germanic languages, and is now the one which can be used with the greatest freedom in new formations’.

If I understand this correctly, this the same as saying that one ‘uncuts’ a wound or ‘unpenetrates’ whatever one penetrates. ┬áThe pendant in me wants to say that the paper was not unsubmitted, it was submitted incorrectly and has been withdrawn. ┬áBut the Orwellian in me wants to highlight this as a small, and very insignificant piece of Newspeak.

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