How to Respond to Reviewers

You will receive a letter with some comments from the editor after the submission of your manuscript to your target journal. This letter either means to accept or reject your submitted manuscript. But how to respond to reviewers?

If the editor has decided to reject your manuscript, he usually gives some reasons for the decision. Here you should consider the given comments and see whether they will accept your manuscript if you make certain revisions. Typically, the comments mean to help you produce a high quality manuscript.

There is no point in taking the reviewer’s comments personally. It might be that they have received your manuscript in a bad time, for example, after the journal has just accepted or published a similar work. It is always possible to submit your manuscript to another journal. In such cases, it is best to consider the reviewer’s comments. Even though you may believe that the reviewer has misunderstood something in your manuscript, others might commit the same mistake as well. If your manuscript has been rejected for the reason of incongruity with the scope of the journal, you won’t have any option but to submit to another journal.   

If the editor has accepted your manuscript provisionally, you need to do some revisions in order to gain full acceptance. Therefore, you have to revise your manuscript. Respond to the reviewers’ comments and resubmit.

The following steps helps you to respond to the reviewers’ comments and resubmit your manuscript:

  1. Read all reviewer’s comments carefully.
  2. Don’t respond immediately. Reflect on the comments a few days.
  3. If you can use the comments from the editor and reviewer to improve your manuscript, make those amendments by all means.
  4. If your manuscript has been rejected and you believe that it deserves to be published, send it to another journal immediately. Some data become less relevant with the passing of too much time.
  • If the journal has accepted your manuscript provisionally, it is better to respond promptly.  Draft a polite, unambiguous and detailed response at the first opportunity.
  •  Your response tone should not be aggressive or defensive.  Get the useful information from the comments. Employ useful suggestions to advance your manuscript and in cases that you disagree, politely explain your point of view.
  • Give a complete respond to each comment in an orderly and itemized manner and if required replicate in your letter any major changes that you have made in the manuscript.
  • It is not needed to make every suggested change, only modify your manuscript where it makes sense. If you have objection to a suggestion you should give evidence backed reason why you do not accept it.
  • Since reviewers might have different opinions on the same issue, you need to make a choice.  Decide which suggestion is more constructive and in your letter to the editor mention that you are given conflicting advice and you have made the modifications that you considered best for your work.
  •  If you decide that the reviewer is obviously wrong and made a mistake, you can give facts that can be referenced.
  • The reviewers might have asked you to reduce the length of your manuscript, in this case you better take the advice and cut the fat of your work as much as possible.
  • You should make sure you have done to the manuscript what you claim in your letter to the editor. It affects the editor’s decision when they notice that comments made in the response to editors’ letter do not match what is in the manuscript.

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