Monthly Archives: January 2021

Editing responses to reviewers of papers

It is very competitive to get research published in top journals, but publication is vital to academic careers. As well as ensuring papers meet the journal’s requirements for both content and format in the initial submission, the review process is also important for authors.

Journals send submissions to reviewers with expertise in the field, and the reviewers comment on how to improve the quality and publishability of the paper. The review process can take time, as journals receive many submissions and many reviewers work voluntarily. There may be several rounds of review over months and often years.

Some tips to consider when resubmitting a paper and responding to reviewers:

  • Be polite and respectful. Politeness goes a long way, especially if disagreeing with a reviewer’s comment.
  • Make clear what has changed in the revised paper.
  • If you disagree with a comment, make clear what has NOT changed, and why not.
  • Paste in any revised text from the revised paper to the response to make it easy for the journal editor to see the changes.
  • Include references to page or line numbers of revised text in the revised paper.
  • Be clear whether referring to the original or a revised version of the paper.
  • Less is more: explain the reasons for your response succinctly.

It can be frustrating for authors to receive reviewer comments which suggest taking the paper in a different direction or with a different emphasis or which require extensive re-analysis or even new data. Reviewers may also not agree with each other and may make conflicting suggestions. Authors do not have to agree with all comments, but do need to justify and explain their decisions.

If a reviewer has commented on the language or the need for editing in a paper, authors should ensure the response to the reviewers is also well written and edited.

As well as editing papers for initial submission, academic editors can also edit response letters to the journal editor and reviewers. Editors can check whether all the comments have been appropriately addressed and check the response has an appropriate tone. This can save time in the review process and enhance the likelihood of publication.

See my related blogs on writing papers:

See my related blog on feedback:

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