Revising your paper and responding to reviewer comments

When revising your manuscript and responding to peer review comments:

  • Address all points raised by the editor and reviewers
  • Describe the revisions to your manuscript in your response letter
  • Perform any additional experiments or analyses the reviewers recommend (unless you feel that they would not make your paper better; if this is the case, explain why in your response letter)
  • Provide a polite and scientific rebuttal to any points or comments you disagree with
  • Differentiate between reviewer comments and your responses in your letter
  • Clearly show the major revisions in the text, either with a different color text, by highlighting the changes, or with Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature
  • Return the revised manuscript and response letter within the time period the editor tells you

Examples:


Reviewer comment: “In your analysis of the data you have chosen to use a somewhat obscure fitting function (regression). In my opinion, a simple Gaussian function would have sufficed. Moreover, the results would be more instructive and easier to compare to previous results.”


Response in agreement with the reviewer: “We agree with the reviewer’s assessment of the analysis. Our tailored function does make it impossible to fully interpret the data in terms of the prevailing theories. In addition, in its current form, we agree it would be difficult to tell that this measurement constitutes a significant improvement over previously reported values. We have therefore re-analyzed the data using a Gaussian fitting function.”


Response disagreeing with the reviewer: “We agree with the reviewer that a simple Gaussian fit would facilitate comparison with the results of other studies. However, our tailored function allows for the analysis of the data in terms of the Smith model [Smith et al, 1998]. We have added two sentences to the paper (page 3, paragraph 2) to explain the use of this function and Smith’s model.”


Note that in both comments (agreeing and disagreeing) the author is polite and shows respect for the reviewer’s opinion. Also, in both circumstances the author makes a change to the manuscript that addresses the reviewer’s question.


Remember, the reviewer is probably a highly knowledgeable person. If their suggestion is incorrect, it is likely because they misunderstood your manuscript, indicating that you should make your text clearer.


TIP!


Use our Response letter template to make writing your reply easier.


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