“We thank the reviewer …”

tumblr_nh74xu5LnB1s6le2wo8_250In our previous post we unpeeled the sticker a little bit on how the magic process of submission to … well, let’s just stick with ‘publication’ and be optimistic … happens.

Step 11 compresses the process of being offered a second chance into a few brief words. It’s probably a good idea to think a bit about how you respond to a reviewer’s comments to make life easier for all of us.

  1. Number the reviewer comments, if they haven’t already done so.
  2. Write a structured response letter based on this.
  3. Make your responses directly to their points.
  4. Be polite. It’s best to assume that the reviewers are genuine and trying to make your life paper better by giving reasonable suggestions.
    (It can be a nice idea to being things with “We thank the reviewer for noting the wide age range in this study and the inconsistencies between text and Table 2…”)
  5. If it’s a good point that you agree with, alter your report. If you can, make it easy for all of us by popping this into your response letter
    (e.g. “The age of 458 months in the Table is a typo, and should have read 48 months.”)
  6. If you disagree, or agree but can’t modify the study to directly answer the point, explain how you are incorporating or rebutting the issue:
    (… The possible implications of this are discussed in page 5, para 3, but we have expanded this to read:
    The responses may differ between the youngest and oldest children in this study, but there were insufficient data to undertake an analysis based on age.”)
  7. You can cross refer in your answers. Reviewers 1 and 23 may make the same point, so say that.
    (“Thank you; this point has been addressed in Reviewer 1, comment 42.”)
  8. SOMETIMES the Reviewers contradict each other.
    And the Editor hasn’t told you which one zhe thinks is right.
    So you’re in a quandary.

    See 5-7 above. Your responses are part of an intelligent discussion with the reviewers, editors and your team. They are not* slavish instructions from Nanny which must be obeyed.

  9. Submit this letter, along with marked and clean versions of the manuscript, to the Journal and then cross your fingers/sing a special song/wear those lucky pants and await the mail that may well seal your fate.


* Exceptions; formatting instructions from the Commander Of Journal Policy. Like reference format, acronym use, American English Misspellings etc.

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