How to answer reviewers for a journal paper revision?

Today, I will discuss how to prepare the revision of a journal paper after receiving the editor’s decision that the paper will be accepted with minor or major modifications.

reviewer

As most people should know, when submitting a paper to a journal, the decision is usually “accept”, “accept with minor modifications”, “accept with major modifications”, “reject” or “resubmit as new”.  In the second and third cases, the author has to revise his paper according to the reviewers comments and to write a file generally called “summary of changes” to explain how the author has addressed the reviewers’ comments.

So let’s look at how to write a file “Summary of changes” to answer reviewers:

  • You should first say thank you to the reviewers for the useful comments that they have made to improve the paper.
  • Then, in the same file, you should explain how you have answered each reviewer comment that requires to do something.
  • To do that, I suggest to organize your document as follows. Create a section for each reviewer. Then, in each section copy the comments made by the reviewer and cite it as a quote (“…”). Then explain below the quote how you have addressed the comment.  For example, your document could look like this.

  SUMMARY OF CHANGES

        First, we would like to say thank you to the reviewers for the useful comments to improve the paper. We have addressed all the comments as explained below.

        REVIEWER 1

                     “Section 3 is too long”

               We have addressed this comment by deleting a few lines at the end of the second paragraph that were not necessary for understanding the algorithm.

         REVIEWER 2

                Reviewer 2 has reported several typos and grammatical errors.  We have fixed all of them and proofread the paper to eliminate all such errors.

  • But how to answer a reviewer’s comment?
  • First, if you agree with the reviewer, you should do exactly what the reviewer ask you to do, and mention that you have done it.  Then the reviewer should be happy. Second, you can disagree with the reviewer and explain why you disagree.  In this case, you only need to explain why you disagree. But you need to explain well why.  Third, it is possible that the reviewer has made a comment that is inaccurate or that you have already addressed in your paper (but the reviewer did not saw it). In this case, you also need to explain that.  So overall, it is important to answer all comments.
  • From my experience, usually 2 or 3 reviewers are assigned to review each journal papers.  In top journals, the reviewers may be expert on your topic.  In journals that are not top journals, reviewers may not be very familiar with your topic but may still be good researchers.
  • Usually, if your paper receive the decision “accept with minor modifications”, there is a high chance that your paper will be accepted if you address the comments well.  If the decision is “accept with major modifications”, there is a risk that your paper may not be accepted if you don’t address the comments well, so you may need to work harder to convince the reviewers.
  • Usually, there is one, two or three rounds of reviews.  Generally, after the first revision, most comments have been addressed. Therefore, the job become easier after the first revision.  Usually, the editor wants that the reviews converge to a decision after about two round of reviews (the editor will likely intervene if reviewers always ask for more things to do).

So these are the advices that I wanted to write for today. Hope that you have enjoyed this post.  If you like this blog, you can tweet about it and/or subscribe to my twitter account @philfv to get notified about new posts.

Philippe Fournier-Viger is a professor of Computer Science and also the founder of the open-source data mining software SPMF, offering more than 52 data mining algorithms.

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Comments

How to answer reviewers for a journal paper revision? — 86 Comments

  1. Dear Prof. Philippe,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and suggestions to deal with reviewers’ comments. This entry is very helpful for me since this is the first time I have opportunity to respond to the reviewers. However, I have a concern as follows: should we need to complete point-to-point responses? For example, the reviewer #1 mentions Section 2 is very lengthy but the review #2 doesn’t say anything about this section. It means that I still should delete some unnecessary sentences to satisfy the review #1. There is any risk that the reviewer #2 doesn’t feel happy when reading again?

    Thanks and regards,
    Dang Nguyen

    • Hello Dang,

      This is a good point. I would not worry too much about it though because if Reviewer #2 become unhappy, then you have a good reason to do what you did which is that Reviewer #1 asked you to do it. Then, in the next round of reviews, you could answer Reviewer #2 by stating that it is Reviewer #1 who asked you to do it and then you don’t want to undo what Reviewer #1 asked you to do. Normally, it should be ok.

      Another similar situation is that two reviewers may ask you to do two different things that contradict each other. For example, Reviewer 1 say that you should add more content in the introduction. But Reviewer 2 say that the introduction is too long. In this case, you would need to take a decision and then justify why you choose to do like Reviewer #1 or Reviewer #2 and to explain that you cannot satisfy both of them.

      Another case is that Reviewer 1 ask you to do something. Then you do it. Then he ask you to undo what you did. This has happened to me for an article. The reviewer say ” you should talk about this”. Then in the next version, he say “you should not talk about this”. In this case, what I did is to explain that Reviewer 1 ask me to do contradictory things and so I will not undo what I did, and it was OK. Actually, Reviewer 1 did not do that purposely. He probably just forgot that he had add something else before…

      Best,

      Philippe

      • Dear Prof. Philippe,

        Thanks for your detailed answers. I didn’t think that the process to respond to reviewers is too complicated like that. Luckily, two reviewers don’t ask me to do contrary things like you mentioned. One reviewer requests me to verify the performance of my proposed method on some special datasets. However, I already stated that task be one of my future works. So, do you think I should do that experiment now to make the reviewer happy or I explain him that point is my future work?

        Today, I’ve been notified my another paper was accepted for revision in a different Elsevier journal (SCIE, IF > 1.6). I hope I can prepare my two revised manuscripts in time.

        Best,
        Dang Nguyen

        • Hi,

          1) If the reviewer ask you to do it, maybe he want you to do it in this paper rather than in future works. If it does not take too much time to do it or too much space in your paper (if there is a page limitation), then I would suggest to do it. Alternatively, you could say that you don’t want to do it and keep it for future work. It this case you would should highlight the reason why you keep it for future work and it could be OK. But the more things that you do, the more the reviewer will be happy. So there a choice to make.

          Great, congratulations. By the way, for revising a paper, there is usually a deadline. However, if you need more time, you can always ask extra time by contacting the editor. Usually the editor can give you a few more weeks.

          Philippe

  2. Dear Prof. Philippe,
    Thank you so much for this nice suggestions, it really helps me.
    I have another problem with reviewing, the reviewer ask me to do a simulation on my proposed scheme changing one parameter to be random while I write in the paper that the parameter if fixed. Actually, when I check my simulation I found that the parameter is already set to be random but I make a mistake while writing the paper. What should I do in this case?
    regards

  3. Dear Sir,
    I recently received a comment from a reviewer saying that my paper is not fit for publishing as the work has been done before. But it is actually a misunderstanding. How do I convey to him that it is just a misunderstanding.

    • If the paper is rejected, you may try to contact the associate editor that has handled your article to explain what happened. Then the associate editor would probably ask another reviewer to review your paper. Or another way is to submit the paper again as a new article but to make clear either in the cover letter or in the paper that your paper is not a copy of previous work. Also if you submit again, you should still send an e-mail to the editor to explain your problem and make sure that your paper will be reviewed properly this time.

  4. Dear Prof. Philippe
    Please accept my sincere thanks for your comprehensive details and information. Recently, my manuscript took a major revision in a very high-quality journal in Elsevier. In this manuscript, a novel mathematical method and an improved formulation were proposed to address a significant issue in vibration. The manuscript was reviewed by two reviewers so that Reviewer #1 rejected my manuscript because he/she believed that my study has not a good novelty for publication in that journal!!!
    However, Reviewer #2 accepted the manuscript and gave a major revision. Now I have a few questions about this event.
    Is it necessary to reply to comments of Reviewer #1?
    What is your prediction about the risk of acceptation/rejection of my manuscript in such circumstances?
    How can I reply to reviewers’ comment?
    It is important to mention that the manuscript was “Under Editor Evaluation” after the review process.
    With warm regards

    • Hi,
      Thanks for reading and commenting on the blog. It is a good news that they ask you to revise your manuscript, although they ask for a major revision.

      In general, it is required to consider all the comments by all the reviewers and modify your manuscript according to these comments and provide some answers to these comments. If the reviewers ask you to modify something, then you should modify it and explain what you have done. Or if they ask for something and you really cannot do it, you need to provide a good explanation about why you cannot do it or don’t want to do it.

      For the reviewer 1, if he asked you to modify something, then you should do it or answer it. But if the reviewer 1 just complain that your work is not enough novel, then you do not really need to answer this comment. But it may be helpful to briefly explain why your work is novel. Also, you may want to modify the introduction of your paper to better highlight the contribution of your paper and why it is important. Perhaps that the reason why the reviewer 1 think that your work is not novel is that your introduction is not convincing enough. If that is the case, you may want to improve your introduction and explain to the reviewer that you have modified the manuscript to better highlight the contribution of the manuscript. And you may also want to cite some additional papers that show that your research problem is important.

      About “Under Editor Evaluation”, you should not mention this. It is a normal step of the review process. After the reviewers have submitted their reviews to the editor, the editor will check the reviews and make the decision about whether to accept the paper, accept it with revision, or reject it. It is the editor who take this decision. This is what is called “under editor evaluation”. This is just the normal review process so don’t mention it.

      My prediction? It depends how well you address the reviewer comments. If you address all the comments made by all the reviewers very well, then, you have a high chance of being accepted. But if you do not address the comments made by the reviewer well, it is still possible that the paper may be rejected or that there will be another round of reviews, and then you will need to modify the paper again, and after that there could still be another round of reviews. It is quite normal that there are a few rounds of reviews for a journal paper.

      Actually, the editor has asked two reviewers to read your paper. But in the next round of reviews, it is always possible that some of these reviewers are not available or do not want to read your manuscript again. In these cases, the editor may want to ask the opinion of some other reviewers that are not reviewer 1 and 2. So it is possible that in the next round of reviews, some new reviewer will read your paper and may raise some additional issues that were not raised by reviewer 1 and 2.

      So there are still some uncertainty and it cannot be guaranteed that your paper will be accepted at this stage of the review process. But no matter what happen, what you need to do is to make sure that you address all the issues raised by the reviewers well. You should do your best to convince them to accept your paper. That is all you can do.

      Hope this helps,

  5. Dear Philippe,

    What is the chance for accepting revise for rereview manuscript!!
    Recently I have got the above decision for one of my publication, which has been submitted to one of the ASCE journals . In general, one reviewer is positive and he required a minor revision and the second one is cautiously positive. I have tried my best to addressed all raised issues by them and response to all comments. according to experience who decide the final decision associate editor or editor! and usually, they go with the positive reviewer or negative one!!

    King regards,
    Adam

    • Dear Adam,

      Thanks for reading and commenting the blog. What may happen next is the following:
      – The two reviewers are happy with your modifications, and they will recommend to accept the paper. The decision will be “accept”.
      – One or both of the reviewers still have some issues with the paper. In this case they will ask for another revision. The decision will be “minor revision” or “major revision”.
      – The decision may be reject. This would be quite rare. But it can happens. A reason why a paper can still be rejected after the first round of review is that it is still possible that the associate editor or editor will ask for a new reviewer to read your paper to have a different perspective or for some other reasons. If this happens and that new reviewer does not like your paper, that reviewer could recommend that your paper is rejected, and then it could happen. Another reason why the associate editor or editor may ask for a new reviewer is that one of the original reviewer of your paper may not be available to read your paper again. In this case, the editor may have to ask someone else to read it. There might also be some other unexpected events that may happen.

      Now, I cannot really tell you what is more likely. It really depends on how well you have addressed the comments of the reviewers. It also depends on how good and competitive the journal is. But in general, if you have passed the first round of review, it is likely that the paper will not be rejected. In my opinion, it will be either accepted or there will be another round of review. Depending on the journal, it is possible that there can be several rounds of review. Generally, I see 1 or 2 rounds. But I have ever seen 4 rounds of review in some specific cases. It is quite rare that papers are rejected after the first round. I have seen it at least twice. But it is not very common. Of course, it may be different for different fields (I am in computer science).

      But actually, you are in a very good situation by having one reviewer that asked for a minor revision. This is one of the best situation. If you had two reviewers that do not really like your paper, it would be harder to convince them. But now, since you have a reviewer that already like your paper, it will put more pressure on the second reviewer if there is another round of review. For example, if there is another round and the first reviewer say accept, the second reviewer will have more pressure to also accept your paper.

      In general, the review process should always “converge”. If there are several rounds of review, the reviewers should not ask you to do new modifications after each round. They should rather ask you to fix the remaining issues. And after each round, there will be less issues, and in the end the paper will be accepted. This is the normal process.

      About the role of the associate editor and editor, it depends. Normally, it would be the editor who would have the final word on whether a paper is accepted based on a recommendation from the associate editor. But not all journal may follow this model.

      • Dear Philippe,

        Many thanks for quick response and providing all of these detail. Now I have better sight about the reviewing process. Actually, my field of work is water resources engineering and we submit our manuscript to the journal of water resources planning and management. Hope they accept it this time.
        A nother request and will appreciate if you can answer it!
        I am reviewing a manuscript and I had rejected the first version of the manuscript as the authors obtained results based on inaccurate methodology has many drawbacks and often leads to wrong results. Now they send the revised manuscript and they have tried to address my comments and issues raised by me by providing a number of papers that have published by one of the co-authors on the relevant area. However, from my personal experience on this methodology,I know it works only under very specific boundary conditions and simple networks. The problem the author shine the provided methodology and believe that work very well and could be applied to any network (which is not true) , and they didn’t mention any drawbacks and limitations of it anywhere in the manuscript. I don’t know how to response to the revision version!!
        Any suggestion and advice from you!

        Regards,
        Adam

        • Dear Adam,

          1) Glad my previous message was helpful. Wish you get some good news about the manuscript soon.

          2) I have edited your message to fix your name 😉

          3)
          That is a kind of tricky situation. Despite the suggestion of rejecting the paper, the editor has decided to give the authors the opportunity to revise their paper. Often, if one of the reviewer suggests to reject the paper, the paper will be rejected by the editor. But perhaps that in this case, the other reviewer(s) have given some good evaluation, so the editor may have decided to give a chance to the authors. Or it may also be because the editor is willing to accept many papers in the journal, and saw that on overall the comments seem not too hard to address. Or there could be other reasons.

          Now what to do in this situation? As a reviewer, you have the right to say that you are not satisfied with how the authors have addressed your comment. So you could either (1) reject the paper again, and explain in more details why the authors have not addressed your comment and they will not be able to address them (there is a fundamental flaw in their paper, so you need to reject it),
          or (2) you could suggest some modifications that would be acceptable to address your comments.

          Now, when you enter your review, you can usually also leave a confidential message to the editor to explain the situation. It might be a good idea to do this if you still think that the paper should be rejected because the author will not be able to fix the issue. But even if you suggest to reject the paper again, the editor may still decide to not listen to you for whatever reason. I have seen this happen before. In one case, there was a reviewer on one of my papers who continuously claim that my paper should be rejected but the editor continued to ask me to revise the paper until it was accepted despite that one of the reviewer was still not satisfied. It does not happen often. But it can happen. In my case, it was not a fundamental issue though.

          By the way, as a reviewer, we sometimes believe that some methods should not work well or should not be researched for some reasons, for example because most people think that a given method is worse than another method commonly used in the literature. But sometimes it is good also to let some papers be published on other methods that do not exactly follow the mainstream idea of what method should work. But if the method has some fundamental issues and it should not be used to draw incorrect conclusion, then it make sense to reject it. As I am not an expert in your domain, I cannot say what is good or bad. But I just want to say that you may consider whether there is something good in that paper that should still be published? And is there a way to fix it? Maybe that a solution is to ask the author to recognize some limitations of their work and in the worst case mention in the conclusion that they could be addressed in future work? Either way, I think that either rejecting the paper again or suggesting some modifications would be an OK decision. You need to think about which one make the most sense for that paper.

          Best regards,

          Philippe

  6. Dear Philippe,

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for this post as it has helped me immensely in writing response to the reviewer’s.
    I have a query too, I submitted a paper and now when got the comments back, one of the reviewer has asked to give some string diagrams for GC-MSMS analysis, but unfortunately I am not able to provide them, How should i put this forward to the reviewer?

    Please help.

    Kind Regards,
    Rishi

    • Hi,
      Glad that the blog post is helpful. In the case where you cannot provide the diagram, try to find a good reason to explain why you cannot provide these diagrams. Actually, you need to convince the reviewer that it is OK if you do not provide the diagram. I’m not familiar with GS-MSMS, but in general, here are some things that you could use to answer:
      1) You could say the truth and explain the reason why you cannot provide the diagrams. For example: We did not keep the data because the research was made a few years ago during my Ph.D. and obtaining the data again would require to run all the experiments again (which would take many weeks and would be very expensive). If you can give a reason like that or something else that the reviewer will view as reasonable, then, it can be ok.
      2) You could argue that most people in your field do not provide this type of diagram, and cite some papers in top journals as example that do not provide these diagrams or that say that these diagrams are not reliable or not very important. But this is risky. Maybe that the reviewer will still disagree.
      3) You could provide something else instead of the diagrams as a compromise. For example, you explain that you cannot provide the diagram for X reason but you provide another kind of diagrams or information that would replace these diagrams and give more insight in your research. Not sure that it would work. It really depends on how much you can convince the reviewer.
      4) When a reviewer ask to do something, another way is to mention it in your paper as a limitation of your experiment, and then mention that you could do it in future work. This is a good idea.

      So this is my opinion. In a similar situation, I would probably do 1) and 4). But it depends on the context. Personally, I have done 1) and 4) several times. For example, during my Ph.D. I was doing some experimental evaluation with users and I submitted the journal paper about that study more than two years after my Ph.D. Due to the agreement that I had with the human participants of my experiment, I had to destroy the data after two years (for privacy issues). Thus, I was unable to provide some additional details that the reviewer requested. I explained this in my answer to the reviewer, and it was enough to convince the reviewer.

  7. Prof. Philippe,
    I would like to sharing your experiences and suggestions to deal with reviewers’ comments. I received a major revisions for my manuscript with reviewers’ comments.
    The reviewer 1# said: The part of abstract is not readable and lacks the conclusion and research significance. MATERIALS & METHODS is writing very simple, poor, while logic is not strong, readability is not good. At the same time adding a little detail to MATERIALS & METHODS. Although, I wrote all methods in all experiments such as any paper according to authors and year. For example, Photosynthetic pigments in fresh leaves were determined according to (Lichtenthaler and Buschmann, 2001).
    What I can do? What detail…?
    Finally he said the parameter should be discussed together, all the data in the table are lack of standard deviation.
    Although, the statistical analysis of variance at the least significant difference (L.S.D.) between means were calculated at 0.05 level of probability in all tables.
    What can I do?
    He wanted to change all paper….
    In contrast, the reviewer 2# did not mention the above or any comment about abstract, material and method.
    But, comment about there is some misspelling in manuscript and asked me about the reason of some different in some data and how to explained it? These comments have made to improve the paper.
    What can I do? To reply with compatibility between two comments.
    Can you help me? I hope I can prepare my manuscripts in less time. I hope my paper “accept” in a journal.
    Thanks and regards,

    • Hello,
      I think that the comments could be worse. I can say a few things about this:
      – First, it is normal that two reviewers may have different opinion. A reviewer can ask you to do something, and another reviewer can ask to do something else. This happens all the time because not all reviewers have the same background, and so different reviewers will pay attention to different things in your paper. Also some reviewer may read your paper very quickly while another reviwer may look at the details. In that case, you need to try to do what they ask you. The only problem is if two reviewers ask you to do something that is the opposite of each other (for example, a reviewer ask you to make the introduction shorter but the other ask you to make it longer). In that case, you need to find a compromise as it is impossible to satisfy both reviewer. But in general, you need to try to address all the comments made by the reviewers.
      – In your case, I think that Reviewer 2 probably recommended to accept your paper with a minor revision while Reviewer 1 may be the one who asked for a major revision. Thus, you need to make sure that you do something to try to make Reviewer 1 happy.
      – About the abstract, I think it should not be too hard to fix. He wants you to talk more about the conclusion of the paper in the abstract and its significance. Also, maybe that the abstract is not so well written. So I suggest to take the time to rewrite perhaps by looking at how other abstracts are written in your field.
      – Adding more details to the method section should not be too hard. Actually, you just need to give more information. Try to add more sentences and paragraphs to explain in more details.
      – About readability, it may be a problem of your use of the English language or how it is written. You may take more time to try to improve the paper by yourself or also ask a friend to help you revise the language. For example, if you know some native English speaker or someone who writes well, he could perhaps help you for that.
      – About the experiments, basically, I think that he wants you to calculate the standard deviation and other things. If you can do it, then it is better to do it, just to make the reviewer happy.
      – In general, you do not always need to do what the reviewer ask you. But if you choose not to do it, you need to provide a very good reason for not doing it. And the reason should not be something like : because I don’t want to do it or because I don’t have time. But if you have a good reason like the reviewer is wrong about something, then of course you don’t need to do it because it is wrong and you can explain it.
      So, I gave you my opinion. But I am from the field of Computer Science. So I could not give you very specific advices related to your field. Hope this helps. Wish you success for your paper!

      • Prof. Philippe,
        Thanks very much for your opinion and a quick response. Thanks for reading and give me your attention to help me. I will try to modify my manuscript according to these comments.
        Regards,

  8. Dear Prof. Philippe,

    Thanks for the sharing. I think the information and the tips shared throughout the comments and replies also very helpful.

    Recently I had a manuscript went through the 1st round of review and required major revision in 10 days. I did my best to revise the manuscript (even with additional data) and response to the 2 reviewers. However, it turned out to be rejected after 1 week. The 2nd round of comment from reviewer #1 is simply that the manuscript is not significant for the journal while there is no further comment from reviewer #2. I felt disappointed because I would rather they reject it for the very first time. I didn’t have to rush for the additional data and reply to address their questions while the reviewer already made up his mind to reject.

    Now I have another manuscript. It was given major revision after 1st round of review. Reviewer #1 listed a number of questions while reviewer #2 just asked 2 very general questions. I think I addressed or at least replied properly for all questions. After that I received notification for 2nd round revision, major revision again, this time given only 5 days. When I read through the comments, reviewer #1 basically thinks I addressed the comments (only 1 typo pointed out) and recommended for acceptance. Reviewer #2 asked another 2 questions again where actually in 1st round revision I added method comparison because he said not enough, now he said test data not enough. I think because of reviewer #2 rating, the editor gave “major revision” despite reviewer #1 pretty much accepted the paper. In this case, what’s your advice? I couldn’t possibly keep adding data each round and it costs a lot of time and effort. Sometimes it is not possible to be done because we did not keep the experimental setup. Also, what’s your view regarding this? If I could not answer one of the question from reviewer #2 where additional experimental data required, is it likely my manuscript will get rejected even though reviewer #1 accepted?

    • Hello,

      Glad that the blog is useful.

      Yes, it is uncommon that a paper is rejected after being accepted for a revision. But it happens. I remember that it happened to me at least once, several years ago. There can be various reasons for that. In my case, the reviewers was not very satisfied with the experiments as we did a very small experiment to validate our proposed approach. After we improved the paper, in the second round, it was rejected. I think that the reason is that even though we improved the experiments, it was still not enough for the reviewer, so he perhaps decided that it would not reach the quality standard of that journal even if we tried to improve the experiments. After a few years, in my case, I can understand that decision because that paper was submitted to a top level journal and was not so good. But yes, I agree that in general, it is not nice to accept a paper and then reject it. As a reviewer for several journals, I never do that. I think that in general, a reviewer should be able to see if the paper is good or not in the first round.

      About your current manuscript, it is good that Reviewer 1 has pretty much accepted the paper. It will put more pressure on the second reviewer to also accept the paper, as in general, the editor expects that the review process will converge after a few rounds. In general, when several reviewers evaluate the paper, the editor will often assign a decision by taking the maximum of the decisions given by all reviewers. That means for example, that if three reviewers give: accept, minor revision, and major revision, the editor will often choose “major revision” as the decision. So in your case, if reviewer #2 suggested a major revision, it is understandable that it is still a major revision, even if reviewer #1 said to accept.

      Now what should you do? There are a few possibilities:
      – I think that you should do your best to try to address the comments of reviewer 2. If you don’t address his comments, maybe he will ask for another round until you address his comments, or in the worst case, the paper could be rejected (but it is less likely at this stage).
      – 5 days is such a short amount of time. I find this very surprising. You could send a message to the editor now to ask for 30 days at least. Usually, in my field, we get at least 30 days to revise a paper. I think that it make sense. Even for professor, or students, everybody has many things on their schedule. For example, if you have a planned trip for vacation or had to attend a conference or other things, how can you do it in 5 days? It does not make sense. So I think the editor has to give you a few more weeks. Or at least you should ask for it.
      – So now the reviewer ask you do so additional work…. You can always decide to not do it. But in that case you need to have a good reason. For example, during my Ph.D thesis several years ago, I had collected data. Then, I wrote a journal paper about it a few years after. However, the original data had been destroyed due to the agreement that I had signed with my participants that ensured that the data would not be kept for more than 2 years. So, in that case, I told the reviewer that I did not have the original data anymore and that running the same experiments again would be too costly. And in the end, the paper was published. However, in my case, this was perhaps not the main request by the reviewer. But my point is that if you have a good enough reason, you may not need to do what the reviewer ask you. For example, if it would take 3 months of work in the lab, then it is probably not reasonable to do it. But if it takes a few days, then you should probably do it. If you choose to not do something, then try to find some very good reasons to support your decision (takes too much time, data has been destroyed, experimental setup does not exist…). If you don’t do everything that the reviewer ask you, you should also try to do some compromise and try to do as much as you can, or find another way to address the problem raised by the reviewer. For example, if the reviewer asks for more experiments, and you do not have the data, maybe you can do something else instead like adding some paragraphs of discussion about how other people have done experiments in your field and how it compares to other experiments, or mention in future work that you will run more experiments to at least acknowledge the problems raised by the reviewer in your paper… (I don’t know if it all make sense for your field, but it is just the main idea).

      So this is my overall opinion about this. I think that we may not be exactly from the same field (I am from computer science). But in general, the review process should work in the same way more or less. About the probability of being accepted at this stage… I think if you answer well and you show that you took the time to seriously consider all the request and answer the comments, it can be accepted. But yes, there is always a small risk that it can still be rejected. So my recommendation is to take this very seriously and do your best to try to fix the paper the best you can, because there are still some small risk at that point.

      Best regards,

      • Thank you for your reply, Prof. Philippe.

        In this case, I have several reasons why I can’t do as what the reviewer asked:
        1. We no longer have the experimental setup ready to run more test samples.
        2. It also takes time to get test samples ready.
        3. In previous revision, I added data analysis for different models (which was what the reviewer firstly questioned). In my opinion, this is more important along the focus of the paper and I have done that.
        4. Time constraint.

        However, if I reply reason #1, I feel the reviewer most likely won’t be satisfied. If I give reason #2 and #4, they probably think I should just request longer revision time. That’s why at first I plan to reply reason #3 to point out the emphasis of the paper and that we will keep his comment in mind for future work but I am worried it could be quite risky. I also think of gathering some simpler experimental data to compromise the reviewer’s request but I find it could confuse the overall paper, making it worse.

        My experience is limited in paper submission and revision. The longest revision period in my field is 3 weeks so far but this time 5 days truly a surprise to me too. I guess it has to do with the journal review process is also fast, we basically got back the reviewers comments in 1-2 weeks.

        • I see. Interesting.

          Yes, then perhaps the best solution is to:
          – mention the issue raised by the reviewer in the future work section and perhaps also in the discussion of the experimental results of your paper. It will show that you at least acknowledge the issue raised by the reviewer, and should make him perhaps a happy even though you did not do all of what he asked. It is a compromise.
          – In the letter to the editor, you could mention that the reviewer raised some new issues that he did not raised in the previous round. Actually, the reviewer has the right to do that, especially if it is some important issue. But in general, a reviewer should not do that. So you can just mention it, but politely.
          – Also in the letter, you could mention some of the reasons why you did not do it. Because, if you don,t give any good reason, then the reviewer may still want to know why you did not do it. So, you could mention something like experimental setup is missing, and you can also exaggerate a little bit to say that it would require more time than it would actually require, or find some other reasons that could help.

          Interesting… 1-2 weeks review is very fast. In my field, I think that no serious journal review papers in less than 1 month. And usually, it is more like 3 months, 6 months or sometimes up to 1 year for top journals.

          • Appreciate your prompt reply, Prof. Philippe. Thank you 🙂

            In my field, its not uncommon that we only get the first review comments after 2-3 months, could be longer. This is my first time to submit to this particular journal, I am also surprise when their first review comments came back after 2+weeks. The following revision comments came back in about 1 week.

            I have a hunch that reviewer will feel unacceptable if I tell the reason is we do not have the experimental setup and not able to get test samples ready. Since the reviewer questioned about the amount of test data, not the methodology or comparison, I find it hard to mention it as part of result discussion or future work. Well, I will try my best to reply. Fingers crossed…

  9. Dear Prof. Philippe,

    What is the etiquette for replying to the editor, right after h or she shares the referees’ reports with you? Should I send a short note acknowledging receipt and saying I will reply to the revision requests as soon as possible, or should I thank the editor and reviewers later on, in an email containing the revised manuscript?

    Sincerely,

    Grad Student

    • Hello,
      There is no need to reply to the editor right away. Actually, the editor is generally very busy so it is better to only send messages to him if there is something really important. For example, some top journals will receive up to 2000 papers per year, so the editor is very busy, besides being perhaps a professor at the same time.
      So, at this point, the most important is to prepare the revision of the paper. Typically, when you submit the revision, you need to also submit some letter that will answer the comments made by the reviewers. In that letter, you can write a sentence such as: “We would like to thanks the editor for handling the manuscript and the reviewers for their comments that have helped improved the quality of the manuscript. We have addressed all the comments made by the reviewers as follows:”
      If you write something like that, then you will say thank you to the editor in an appropriate way, without having to send an e-mail.

  10. Dear Prof Philippe,

    Thanks for sharing these useful information and tips in peer review.

    Currently, I am doing mainly theory-based research. Several days ago, I had an IEEE journal article finished the first round of review and required major revision. This journal is application-oriented but they also accept and publish articles of pure numerical simulations (I can easily find at least 3-4 publications of similar topics to mine in this journal during the past two years). Anyway, the paper got four reviewers, three of them raised some insightful questions but totally positive comments, one reviewer (Reviewer #1) was critically commented my paper as “Due to lack of the actual verification, the paper is not suitable for this application-oriented journal. The paper is full of equations, which has no physical meaning in the actual systems? The extensive experiments need to be added. The paper would be better for a theory-based journal.” Maybe because of Reviewer #1’s comments, the AE gave me a chance for Major Revision but with a comment “the main issue is the lack of experimental verification for what authors should consider in full”.

    However, in the revision, it seems impossible for me to include experimental results due to several reasons. My questions is in my situation how can I respond to Reviewer #1 and AE properly so as to increase the chance of acceptance of this paper?

    Many thanks in advance.

    Kind regards,
    Jamie

    • Hello Jamie,

      Glad that you found the blog interesting
      About your question, it is good that 3 out of 4 reviewers are positive about the paper. So, now, it is very important to convince the first reviewer as much as possible. From what I understand, you have good reasons for not doing the experiments, and do not want to do it. Of course, it would be better if you could do it. But if you cannot do it, it can also be fine. But you need to be careful about how you answer the reviewer 1. Generally, even if you cannot do it, you could try to find a compromise so that the reviewer 1 still feels that you have done something for him, even if you did not do all of what he wanted. So, for example, you could:
      – Cite a few more papers in your article to explain that you will follow the same methodology as in their paper. You can cite those papers that you mentioned that were published in the same journal. Then, in your paper, you can explain that you will follow the same methodology as them. This will help to justify what you did. But even if you found papers with the same methodology in the same journal, it is still not a 100 % guarantee that the reviewers will accept your paper. Sometimes in a journal, some paper may be accepted, while other similar papers may be rejected for whatever reasons (the editor is a friend, the reviewers did not think it was a problem but other reviewers think it is a problem, etc.).
      – Towards the end of your paper, you could also add a “discussion” section to explain the limitations of your study. So you could mention that a limitation is about not doing the real experiments and explain that you could improve this in future work, while still mentioning that there are many challenges for doing these improvements. Although, you would not do the experiment, it would show that you at least acknowledge the limitations of your study, and this can make the Reviewer 1 happy. It would be a kind of compromise between doing nothing and doing what he asked you.
      – You could aso provide several GOOD reasons in the response to the reviewers about why you could not do the experiments: it would cost too much money, you would need to spend another year of work, the data was lost or destroyed due to confidentiaty issue, etc. It should be good reasons; not: I don’t want to do it.

      So that it. I think that the key is to try to find a compromise where you can still make the Reviewer 1 happy while not doing everything that he wants.

      I think that at this point, the paper could still be rejected, so you should take this seriously.

      Wish you good luck. Best regards,

      • Dear Philippe,

        Many thanks for your prompt reply. Your suggestions really mean a lot., especially No. 2. Yes, I will add a section or at least a remark to discuss the limitations of my paper. I will also emphasise the importance of experiments, although I did not do it in the paper. The actual reason for me not doing the experiments in the revision is lack of experimental setup. As you suggestion, I should also mention it in the response.

        With your backup, I now have more confidence to make Reviewer 1 happy :).

        Thanks again.

        Kind regards,
        Jamie

  11. Dear Prof Philippe,
    Thank you for your blog, I have seen you are replying everyone and spending time, that is really appreciable. My concern is about my paper which got a major revision, it was only one reviewer that reviewed the paper. This journal is the best journal in my major and seems like reviewer is aware of everything, but he seems unhappy with my paper and said: Although the paper is within the interest of the industry, and has applications, the way it is presented and handled makes it far from being a novel, scientific and practical paper. and at the end said As is, the paper does not provide any new ideas or methodology to this field. Also, there are too many unclear and unjustified points within the paper. Thus, there is no reason for this paper to be accepted. However, the editor asked for revised and it is not rejected, editor also asked me to compare results with engineering model rather than data driven models, Discussion on those line should be included. I spend one month to address all of their concerns, as the reviewer asked lots of questions. Do you think reviewer rejected the paper but editor asked for revision? still, i am working on the paper but worried about the result after spending so long time again for revision.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Hello,
      Glad you like the blog. I think that you are doing the right thing. You are taking the time to revise the paper. Some people do not like to revise their paper and submit it perhaps too quickly. If you spend the time, it shows that you are taking this seriously. By the way, in the response to reviewer, you can mention that you have taken several weeks to improve the paper, run new experiments, etc. This will let the reviewer(s) know that you have spent time, and reviewer(s) may appreciate that.
      It is possible that a reviewer recommend to reject a paper but that the editor does not agree and ask the authors to revise the paper anyway. This happens sometimes. For example, it can happen if the editor believes that the author can fix the issues raised by the reviewer(s) or if the editor thinks that the issues raised by the reviewer are not serious enough for rejecting the paper, or some other reasons (e.g. the editor is a friend with the author, etc.). However, at this stage, the paper could still be rejected.
      In your case, it could be that the editor decided to give you a chance. Or it could be that the reviewer requested a “major revision”. In that case the reviewer may still think that you can address the problems, although he raises many problems.

      So on overall, I think that you are doing the right thing. The most important is to try to address all the issues mentioned by the reviewer as much as you can. As this stage, it is not guaranteed that the paper will be published. So it is worth it to put a lot of effort to improve the paper. And if the paper is eventually rejected, your paper will be improved and perhaps more easily accepted in other journals.

      Regards,

      • Thank you so much for your reply. I will appreciate if you can help with some of the reviewer concerns.
        1) No attempt has been done for optimizing your ANN, such that how many layers, how many nodes, the methodology, etc has never optimized. Why did you use backpropagation, for example?

        In this study a back-propagation-type neural networks with an input, an output and, one hidden layer were applied which in most of the cases one hidden layer is satisfactory[12, 13]. Therefore A three layer ANN with a tangent sigmoid transfer function (tansig) at hidden layer and a linear transfer function (purelin) at output layer were implemented. To optimize ANN, 1 – 23 neurons in the hidden layer were trained at least five times using different sets (randomly generated) of initial weights to find the lowest mean squared error[14]. Data had been distributed randomly into three different groups (70% for training, 15% for the testing set, and 15% for cross validation). The validation was used to prevent overtraining. The principle is this as training proceeds, the training error function will decrease and the result of applying a validation set will improve. However, after some point, further iteration will likely not improve performance on the validation set. At this point, training should be stopped[15]. Fig. 1 shows the evolution of the mean squared error of the predicted values of the apparent viscosity during the training and validation steps, depending on the number of hidden neurons of the neural networks architecture. The result shows that the R2 obtained the highest value of 0.9515 and MSE achieved the lowest amount of 0.0019, after the application of 10 hidden neurons. More than 50 neural network models have been devised so far, and it is found that the back-propagation learning algorithm based on the generalized delta rule by Rumelhart et al. (1986) [16] is the most popular and efficient learning procedure for multilayer neural networks. The multilayer perceptron (MLP) networks are currently the most widely used neural networks. These networks can do the classification for patterns having nonlinearly separable boundaries since the network consists of many neurons. Back propagation neural network (BPNN) has been successfully used as a mapping and prediction tool in the petroleum engineering field and its application is proven [17-20].
        2)
        No details are provided with respect to GA part. At least, during the example, final genetic code could be provided.
        Genetic algorithm uses the similar steps to the biological evolution: natural selection; intercross; variation; and surviving of the fittest. It has four basic elements: genetic code; initial population setting; fitness function; and genetic operator.

        Genetic code
        Since the binary code cause an encoded string too long, learning efficiency is reduced. Therefore, real number coding is used for data in the process of ROP optimization[11].
        Do you think in this way of replying he will be satisfied?
        Thank you so much again, it is really appreciable that you are helping us without any demand, God bless you.

          • How about like this:
            Genetic algorithm was put forward by Professor J. Holland in the University of Michigan in 1975. Its main characteristics consist of group search strategy, information exchange among individuals, gradient independent researching, and no requirement of differentiable functions. The only requirement is that the function is solvable under the given constraints, so the method is suitable for all kinds of complex non-linear problems. Genetic algorithm uses the similar steps to the biological evolution: natural selection; intercross; variation; and surviving of the fittest. It has four basic elements: genetic code; initial population setting; fitness function; and genetic operator.

            Genetic code
            Since the binary code cause an encoded string too long, learning efficiency is reduced. Therefore, real number coding is used for data in the process of ROP optimization[11].
            Initial group setting
            Because genetic algorithm is an iterative operation of the groups, an initial group is needed. In this paper, the initial group is randomly selected. The initial group is operated by genetic operation and generates groups of offspring step by step until the optimal is reached.

            Fitness function
            Fitness function Z is calculated as follows:
            z=∑▒〖(〖ROP〗_(real,i)-〖ROP〗_(model,i))〗^2

            Genetic operator

            The genetic operator includes three types: selection operator; crossover operator; and mutation operator. Genetic algorithm is the key of the algorithm and embodies the thought of survival of the fittest. For selecting a chromosome from the group of chromosomes as parent chromosome for the next generation, the disk selection method can be used.
            A crossover operator is a must in the genetic algorithm and is expressed with a crossover probability Pc. The crossover operation of real-number-coding is realized through doing arithmetic crossover calculation of probability Pc. The formula is as follows:

            Offspring1 = Pc × Parent1 + (1- Pc) × Parent2
            Offspring2 = (1 – Pc) × Parent1 + Pc × Parent2

            The function of mutation operation is to change a character in a certain location of a string with probability Pm. It can compensate the loss of genetic material by mutation operation. Mutation ensures the global convergence of genetic algorithm. The mutation probability value Pm is small, usually Pm=1−Pc.
            Thank you very much for your kind help.

          • It is better. But for me, it is not very clear what the reviewer wants for 2). In 2), the reviewer wrote “No details are provided with respect to GA part. At least, during the example, final genetic code could be provided.”. From my understanding, the reviewer wants more details about the “GA part”. I think this means to provide more details about how it works. You have done this. But the reviewer also ask that you provide more details in the example by giving the full genetic code. So I think that you also need to add details to the example.

            By the way, you should also revise the English as there are some English errors.

  12. Thank you very much indeed. It is not clear for me also what he meant by genetic code? If he means objective function I have mention that. In my project GA will use ANN network to find the optimum parameters in order to find maximum rate of peneration which is the output. I have given an example how to find constraints to find lower and upper limit for optimization using GA. Do you think the reviewer know what is GA? Because at the beginning he was saying: 1) What is the purpose of using ANN and GA together? It is said that GA is used to maximize ROP. However, ANN can also do that during the process. So, why GA is also added?
    Of course ANN can find the answer for us but it tqke more time, using GA will be easier and faster. I am wonder why first he asked this question then later he said what is genetic code.

  13. Dear professor,
    I would like to thank you for this article and the efforts you are doing to help people.
    I found this article very helpful as I’m actually in the process of revising my paper.
    I would like to ask how to deal with the situation I’m in. I sent my paper to a journal, the paper has been examined by two reviewers. The second reviewer gave me some precise points to revise and add. Whereas the first reviewer mentioned that the paper lacks for intellectual value without pointing out anything else that I can work on except that the writing contains a lot of errors.
    So, besides correcting the language errors, how can I answer to this review?
    Best regards.

    • Hello,
      Glad that the article is useful. This situation has happened to me before. I will explain how I deal with this situation. You should first try to do everything that the second reviewer asks, and make sure to do it well to make sure that the second reviewer will be satisfied, and suggest to accept your paper. This will help you for the next round in case the first reviewer still give you trouble. Now, let’s talk about the first reviewer. The first reviewer seems to think that your paper did not deserve to be published or may not be very worthy, for whatever reasons. He did not mention the reasons, and the editor of the journal has read the comments of both reviewers and suggested that you revise your paper. Thus, in some way, it means that the editor indirectly think that your paper is worthy if you fix the remaining problems. Now, about the comments of the first reviewer, you can obviously only address his specific comments about writing errors. The other problems that he did not mention you cannot address them and it is not your fault. So in that case, you just write something like that: “The only specific comments by reviewer 1 were related to writing errors. We have fixed all these comments as follow:”. And then you can explain what you have changed.

      This is how I address this situation. Actually, it is the fault of the reviewer if he does not give enough comments. You can only address the comments that are specific enough.

      Now, if you do as I suggested, it is still possible that the first reviewer ask to revise the paper again with more specific comments next time. This is a risk. But there is nothing you can do about it. It is the fault of the reviewer for not being specific enough. But if there would be another round, there will be a lot of pressure on the first reviewer to accept your paper, since normally the reviewing process should converge rather than always adding some new comments. Besides, if reviewer 2 accepts the paper, then there is more pressure on reviewer 1 to accept it if there is another round of review.

      Best,

      • Thank you very much professor Philippe, your answer is really helping me on how to adress the answer for the reviewers.
        Best regards.

  14. I got reviews from 2 reviewers: Reviewer 1 gave major revisions while Reviewer 2 liked the paper and asked for minor revisions. Reviewer 1 has asked me to reduce the length of the paper, while Reviewer 2 has asked me to add few sections related to literature survey and computation time results. This has increased the length of my paper. However, I feel if I reduce the length the paper will lose its purpose as I have added only relevant material in it. How do I address Reviewer 1 that its not possible to reduce it?

    • Hi, I see. The reviewers have some conflicting opinions. In that case, I would do as follows. I would first address the specific requests of Reviewer 2. Then for the comment about reducing the length, you may consider that it only applies to the section that are not mentioned by reviewer 2. Even if you don’t want to reduce the length, you should try to make some compromise by making the paper more concise but without removing much information. How to do this? You could try to remove redundancy if there is some in your paper, and try to rewrite some explanations more briefly. Or sometimes, if your paper is about sciences, you may be able to rewrite some definitions more concisely by defining them formally using some mathematical notation. Then, in the response to reviewers, you should mention that reviewer 2 asked to add more content, while reviewer 1 ask to remove some, and that Reviewer 1 did not mention the specific content that should be removed. Thus, you have added the content requested by Reviewer 2, while rewritten more concisely the other parts of the paper. Thus, the length of the paper may be greater. This should be fine. If you can leave a note to the editor when you resubmit, you may also mention that the reviewers had conflicting opinions.

  15. Dear professor,
    I would like to thank you for this article and the efforts you are doing to help people.

    I recently submitted an article in one of the best journals of the atmospheric science and got the first review report after 2 months. The paper went to three reviewers and the two had positive comments while the other had mentioned the paper lacks novelty. I revised and resubmitted the paper after taking into account all the comments seriously. The paper again went back for the review process and this time Editor invited four reviewers, one extra than the last time. Now the earlier three reviewers gave positive comments, including the one who told the paper lacks novelty, but the new fourth reviewer recommended rejection since he felt the paper has no originality and should not be published in any journal. The Editor has again given it Major revision and I am pretty worried what will be the eventual result?

    The comments from the fourth reviewer who recommended rejection are very nasty and also most of those are unjustified. After careful examination of the comments, we figured out, this person has not read our earlier works and most of the comments are based on his own personal judgment without citing any works from the literature. How would you suggest to deal with this particular reviewer comments in the revision?

    Thanks and Regards,

    Subharthi

    • Hello,
      Thanks for reading. Yes, I understand. It happens sometimes that the editor will add a new reviewer to the reviewing process after the 1st round. This has happened to me a few times.

      The good thing is that you say that many of the comments are unjustified. Thus, if they are really unjustified, you should be able to answer these comments with appropriate evidences and citations and if you answer properly, normally the reviewer should accept your answers.

      Another good thing is that the other reviewers are already quite satisfied with your paper, so this will give some pressure to accept your paper.

      By the way, you say that the reviewer has “not read our earlier works”. Just to make this clear, a reviewer is not required to read your earlier papers. You current paper should contain everything required for evaluating your paper. If something is explained in another paper, you should cite the other paper and briefly mention what the other paper contains that is relevant for your paper. But do not assume that the reviewer will check these other papers. Most reviewers will not check the papers in the references. But some of them will do it. It depends whether the reviewer is in a rush or not. Actually, several reviewers just read very quickly and may even skip some parts of your paper. Although it should not happen, this often happens in practice.

      So, to answer your question, I think that this is not something very negative for your paper. But you need to try to answer all the comments made by the reviewer the best you can to avoid problems. If he asked you to make some changes, you should try to make them, and if you think that you should not do some of them, then you should give some explanation about why you did not do them. If I where you, I would take a few days to answer him very well, and show that you have considered all of his comments very seriously and answered all of them very seriously. If you can make some compromise, you can also try to make some compromise to try to make him more happy.

      Hope this helps!

      Best regards,

  16. Dear Professor,

    Thank you for the helping comments and advice.
    I recently submitted an article in a good journal that assigns two reviewers. The editor decision is “major revision” where reviewer #2 says “Though I am sympathetic to the effort, I’ve selected “reject” because I think the paper the authors need to write is not close to what they have submitted”.
    In fact, reviewer #2 claimed that the paper does not convey answers to the questions I am asking or the paper should have others questions (which I don’t really fell). In addition, he urged explanation of some elements that I already explained in the text. And, in the end, he recommended a deeper analysis that relieves in a more advanced stage of the modelling methodology I am proposing.
    Can you please advice me on how to respond to such reviewer?

    Thank you very much

  17. Thanks for sharing this Information.The information you provided is much useful. i really enjoyed your blog article and save your site on bookmarking.

  18. Dear Philip
    Thank a lot for dedicating your time for responses. My question which is always around in my mind is related with proposed numerical model and validate them with experiments. Can i do validation between my specimens which being tested in the laboratory with proposed model? Some reviewers are asking from author to compare between proposed model with experimental specimens were tested and published by current available authors. Moreover, what can i do if there is not experimental data
    King regards,
    Mohamd

  19. Dear professor,
    I would like to thank you for this article and the efforts you are doing to help people. I have received 2 manuscripts containing important remarks, but I’m confused on using them.

    02/13/2018
    Dear Author(s),

    We require now that you implement in your submission the following recommendations made by the reviewers:

    Reviewer A Comments:
    ==================
    Suggestions which would improve the quality of the paper but are not essential for publication:
    1. Abstract should be more precise and to the point.
    2. Specific contributions in the paper should be highlighted
    3. Technicality of the paper should improve
    4. Simulation section need to strengthen by considering more number of parameters and comparison with other related state-of-the-art schemes
    5. While browsing through the manuscript, I find that it needs to be strengthened particularly with more references (particularly those in the recent years, 2009 onwards). As the paper is on a core topic, you will find plenty of references in the broad area.
    Here are some examples that you may include. The references may not be complete for all, but when citing, you should get the complete reference from the Internet and cite the complete reference. In case the paper did not appear in print, you can cite the DOI.
    ———
    The above are only some that I can readily suggest, which should be included. You may search more thoroughly and include more references.
    Additionally, please look at previously published IJCNDS papers so as to strongly couple the paper with the existing works published in the Journal.
    Changes which must be made before publication:
    1. Abstract should be more precise and to the point.
    2. Specific contributions in the paper should be highlighted
    3. Technicality of the paper should improve
    4. Simulation section need to strengthen by considering more number of parameters and comparison with other related state-of-the-art schemes
    5. While browsing through the manuscript, I find that it needs to be strengthened particularly with more references (particularly those in the recent years, 2009
    onwards). As the paper is on a core topic, you will find plenty of references in the broad area.
    Here are some examples that you may include. The references may not be complete for all, but when citing, you should get the complete reference from the Internet and
    cite the complete reference. In case the paper did not appear in print, you can cite the DOI.
    The above are only some that I can readily suggest, which should be included. You may search more thoroughly and include more references.
    Additionally, please look at previously published IJCNDS papers so as to strongly couple the paper with the existing works published in the Journal.

    Reviewer B Comments:
    ==================
    Suggestions which would improve the quality of the paper but are not essential for publication:
    1. Abstract section should be more precise.
    2. Highlight specific contributions in the paper.
    3. Simulation results section is very weak. Strengthen simulation by considering more number of parameters and comparison with the state-of-the-art related schemes.
    4. Manuscript is written poorly
    Changes which must be made before publication:
    1. Abstract section should be more precise.
    2. Highlight specific contributions in the paper.
    3. Simulation results section is very weak. Strengthen simulation by considering more number of parameters and comparison with the state-of-the-art related schemes.
    4. Manuscript is written poorly

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    02/18/2018

    Your Revision in the IJCNDS

    My name is ***** and I am the new Editor-in-Chief for (IJCNDS). You have been recently advised by the editorial staff of IJCNDS to revise your manuscript. Here are a few VERY IMPORTANT requirements:

    1. You were asked to include a set of specific references in your revised manuscript. Please DISREGARD those specific references. That said, IJCNDS is a scholarly academic journal and the currency of your literature review is extremely important. I will be imposing the criterion of CURRENCY very rigorously. To this end, your revised manuscript MUST include at least 25 relevant references published in academic journals dated 2015 to present. A typical academic paper should have around 35-45 references. You MAY also want to look at the previously published papers in IJCNDS to strongly couple your paper with the RELEVANT existing works published in our Journal.

    2. Please carefully proofread your paper and eliminate language errors involving spelling, grammar, punctuation, format, and style. Papers with readability problem will be rejected immediately.

    3. Your revised manuscript is due by March 31, 2018. This is a hard deadline and your revision submitted after this deadline will be handled as a new submission.

    4. Please include a short report in the beginning of your revised manuscript (without your name) describing what is changed in your revision. All changes, including your new references in the body of the paper and in your Reference List, must be highlighted in yellow.

    You MUST also carefully pay attention to the following NEW requirements:

    TITLE: as concise as possible, avoid abbreviations and acronyms, Maximum 18 words.
    ABSTRACT: approximately 100 words in one paragraph, maximum 150 words.
    KEYWORDS: approximately 6-7 words or short phrases, maximum 10 words.
    ACRONYMS: acronym overuse reduce readability. Introduce acronyms once in the abstract of your article and then again upon the first use in the body of the article.

    Please follow these guidelines so your manuscript is not sent back. My goals are efficiency and expediency. I look forward to receiving your revision by March 31, 2018.

    Please can you help me to distinguish between these two manuscripts. About the simulation, i couldn’t add more parameters or comparison because no such work has been presented in the literature, so how can i respons to the comments. How can i Highlight the contribution (adding more details???, if yes, this will change the sections, is it possible??)

    should i take into account the comments of the 1st editor or the 2nd one??

    best regards,

    • I have read quickly what you wrote. But I don’t know the details or your paper, so I just give a general opinion. From these reviews:
      (1) It seems that they want you to compare with other methods, and that they are not satisfied by the evaluation. So I think even if it is a new method, you can still improve your experimental evaluation. For example, you can explain and make it more clear in your paper that you cannot compare with existing methods and explain why. If the reason is true and appropriate it should be ok. But you could still improve the evaluation section of your method. For example, you could compare your method with a baseline version of your method without optimizations. This is a way of showing that some optimizations in your method are useful to improve your method. When you cannot compare with other methods, it is good to compare different versions of your methods. This is what I mean.
      (2) I find it quite funny that they ask you to cite 25 papers from 2015 and after… This is a very arbitrary number of papers which is also quite high. Besides, they specifically ask you to cite papers from their IJCNDS journal to try to increase their impact factor, I guess. In my opinion they should not ask this.
      (3), … Reviewers also gave other suggestions to improve your paper.

      Best regards,

  20. Dear professor,

    Thank you for this article and the efforts you are doing to help people.

    Recently I submitted my article

    • Reviewer #2: The authors made a comparison of physical properties and applications between -chitin nanocrystals and nanofibers. This is a complete and thorough study, however, lack of originality. Some additional comments

    1. ” The molecular weight and degree of deacetylation of shrimp shell -chitin used in this study is unclear. The author must provide detailed information about it”.

    The problem now is that I can’t provide the first information related to the molecular weight because It’s been over two years since I finished my PhD experiments in tha laboratory and I can’t now comeback to the laboratory to try to do the experiment taht give me this information bacause my PhD was done in Frensh laboratory as part of a scholarship program and now I’ve come back to my African country , so I haven’t the produt with me and our laboratory resources are very limited to do such experiment.

    So could you advise me how to respond this reviewers

    Thanks and Regards,

    Fatima

    • Dear Fatima,

      I think you have a few options:
      Option 1: You could ask people from your previous laboratory to help you collect the information. For example, if the professors are busy, maybe that a student in that lab can do it for you and you can add him as co-author because he is helping you (if it requires a lot of time). That could be a way to solve the problem.
      Option 2: You tell the reviewer your situation and that you cannot go back to the lab to collect the data since it was 2 years ago, or even that the data was destroyed, or any other reasons. THen, there is some chance that the reviewer will understand your situation. Or not. In the past, I have explained something like that to a reviewer and it worked. Actually, I was in about the same situation as you. About around 2 years after my PhD, the data had been destroyed due to agreement with the participants and it would be too costly to run an experiment again so I explained it to reviewers and it was ok. Hope it would be the same for you.
      Option 3: You could send the paper to another journal… But personally, I think you should try Option 2 or Option 1 first. It it does not work and they really want you to do the additional experiments and you don’t want then you can send the paper somewhere else but hopefuly you don’t have to do that.

      Best regards,

  21. Dear professor,

    Thank you for the thoughtful guidance you provided to help us.
    Recently I submitted my paper and i m now in revision state.
    So please
    How i answer a reviewer asking me for validation of my numerical study agenst experimental data.
    And
    a reviewer that find my study quite technical and the journal i submited not the suitable one

    Best regards

  22. Dear Prof Philippe,

    Thank you for this article and investing your time to further help people with specific problems.
    I also have a couple of issues I wanted to ask you about, and I hope you will find time to answer it as I would tremendously appreciate it.

    I am a PhD student in the CS/Robotics field. I wrote a paper a year ago which consists of both simulated and physical robot experiments. However, my approach is not mainstream, so it is a bit difficult to explain it as reviewers are very biased to their fields. So far, it has been rejected from 3 conferences and accepted to one workshop. Now I have revised it and submitted to a journal. The reason it was rejected the 1st time is because it was not written very clearly so the reviewers probably did not understand it properly. As you might assume, my supervisor was not very supportive as he did not help me with writing it, and also I think he is not very familiar with the literature to give me proper feedback. The 2nd and 3rd time it was rejected not because of quality, but because of dual submission (another issue with my supervisor).

    Finally, I have revised it thoroughly and submitted an extended version to a journal. I have received 4 reviews which are very detailed and I am mostly requested to do a “major revision”. The main comments are that the approach lacks novelty, and they connect it with another approach (the reviewers say it is a version of Bayesian Optimisation, but it is actually an Active Learning approach, it is similar, but there is no optimisation). Also they require me to do more comparisons, but are not explicit with which other approach. It is difficult to compare with anything besides random and grid search because:
    – most other approaches are optimisation based (require a cost function)
    – I would have to modify the other approaches to be comparable which is a lot of effort and it misses the point.
    – I am extremely demotivated to do any further experiments with this approach and really want to move on (I know this might sound unprofessional, but it plays a crucial part as I have many other obligations and work to do)

    I think I would be able to reply to most of these comments, and try to make the distinction between mine and other methods even more clear, but I am afraid that they can still claim that the paper lacks novelty. But my belief that the overall approach and the perspective are something that has not been done yet.

    Thank you very much in advance for your time and help!

    Kind regards,
    Nemanja

    • Hi Nemanja,

      Yes, sometimes, the reviewers may ask for many modifications. If they request a major revision, it is not so bad. At least they did not reject the paper. So in theory, if you address their comments, the paper could be accepted. But unlike a minor revision, there is still a risk that the paper may be rejected.

      I see that the reviewers did not understand clearly the difference between your work and optimization based method. I think that this can be solve by adding further explanations. If they did not understand, it is perhaps because it was not so clear in the previous version. So I think this problem should not be too hard to address.

      As for the comparison with optimization based approaches, you have two options: to do it or to not do it and give some good reasons. If you think that it is not relevant to compare with these approaches, then you can explain very carefully why you cannot compare with these approaches or why it is not relevant. If you give some solid reasons for that, the reviewers may agree with you and it can be ok. But if the only reason is that you do not have time, then reviewers may not agree.

      I see. Yes, sometimes reviewers will ask something very vague like to compare with other approaches but will not say which one. This has also happened to me before. In that case, the likely problem is that the reviewers are reading your paper and perhaps that you did not compare your work with anything else. Thus, they wonder how to evaluate your contribution since you do not compare with anything, and they perhaps are not familiar enough to tell you exactly what to compare with. The most important in that case is that you try to compare with something to show that your approach is good when compared to something. There are different ways to address this. First, you could choose to compare with any algorithms that you think is relevant and explain why it is the algorithm that you choose to compare with. Or, if you cannot compare with anything else, then you can at least compare with yourself. I mean, you can compare different versions of your proposed model, for example with and without optimisations. Thus, instead of comparing with other people, you compare with yourself or with a baseline algorithms such as a naive algorithm. This can be ok. Or, a third way, is to compare with something that is not directly comparable but to explain that the comparison is not fair and still compare with them but discuss the results even if you know that the comparison is not fair. This is the case for example if you compare with the optimization methods which may not be directly comparable.

      That is my opinion.

      Thanks for reading the blog!

      Philippe

  23. Hello Dr Phillip, Your blog is really good for the researcher like us. Recently, I got the revision for my manuscript and one of the reviewers said that I have two minor comments. In one of his comments he wants me to do density functional Theory (DFT). DFT is a computational study and I did,t have any experience whatsoever. Could you please guide me on how to respond to him?

    Thanks

  24. Dear Philippe,
    I am very grateful to have visited this blog. Indeed, you are doing a great job. Out of curiosity, I have used a well-spent time to go through this page from top to bottom, and I must confess the cases added and your responses are very helpful.

    Having gone through the questions raised by different people and your responses to them, I think my intended questions have been answered. I do not need to repeat them again, but only wish to say a big thank for being here to attend to our needs.

    Best regatrds
    Cornelius

  25. Hello Dr Phillip, Your blog is really good for the researcher like us. Recently, I got the revision for my manuscript and one of the reviewers said that I have two minor comments. In one of his comments he wants me to do density functional Theory (DFT). DFT is a computational study and I did,t have any experience whatsoever. Could you please guide me on how to respond to him?

  26. Respected sir

    Unfortunately i could nt found this blog before responding to the review of my paper. I submitted one paper in Emerald. after first round review, both the reviewers recommended the paper and asked for minor revision. I addressed their all comments in my article, but did nt attached good covering letter due to the lack of experience, language problem and time. I just wrote like “‘ I have revised the article”. Will they reject my paper due to this, Please reply me
    Yours faithfully
    Shaji

  27. Dear Prof Philippe:

    Thank you so much for this post and investing your time and energy to help people in trouble in the journey of publications. I have encountered the following problem:

    reviewer#1 wants me to compare unsupervised methods with supervised methods in the experiments, a s you know, it is unreasonable in the sense that we aim to solve problem scenarios without labels rather than those with labels , the comparison premise is different, can I rebut this request, how to do this politely and reasonably,some necessary skills? if I can,how to write rebuttal letter? By the way, reviewer#1’s comments may wield editor’s accept decision. so I worry about this ,would you please give me more guidance how to cope with this situation , thank you!

  28. Dear prof Philippe:

    Thank you for this article and investing your time and energy to help people in trouble in the journey of publication. Now I have the following problem:
    several days ago, I have received the “revise” notification from the journal Editor-in-chief.

    reviewer#1 wants me to compare our unsupervised method with other supervised or
    semi-supervised approaches in the experiment section. now the problem is that these
    two different methodologies solve different problem scenarios, they are not comparable.

    From my understanding, method based on unsupervised leaning(no labels required) can’t compare with those based on supervised leaning(labels required) or semi-supervised leaning( partial labels required) since their comparison premise is different. If one wants to compare them, one should put them under the same problem scenarios,only this way, comparison is reasonable and fair, isn’ t it? but the problem scenarios in our paper are applications without labels, they can’t compare with each other since supervised leaning methods need labels to train models,but now there are no labels used for training, therefore I think it is unreasonable and infeasible to compare method based on unsupervised leaning with those based on supervised leaning or semi-supervised leaning ,is it right? I want to know your views.

    I don’t know whether or not I can rebut the reviewer#1 in terms of above analysis, I wonder how to cope with the response to reviewer#1, by the way, the reviewer#1 may wield the action editor’s accept decision. So I worry about this. If I can, how to do that?
    If I can’t, it is clear that they are not comparable, I don’t how to conduct experiment to respond to reviewer#1.

    Would you please give me more guidance?

    thank you so much!

    Best regards

    Zidu Ying

    • Hi,
      Thanks for reading the blog. Yes, it is indeed a situation that need to be handled carefully. I tend to agree with you that supervised /unsupervised learning are difficult to compare. It is always possible to answer the reviewer by explaining why the comparison is not fair. Then, you can find some explanations about why it is not fair, and you can perhaps even talk about how previous papers have also not done that for the same reason (you could mention some recent papers in top conferences/journal for example). Besides, if you don’t do what the reviewers ask, you should try to at least do everything else to make him happy.

      By the way, although the comparison with supervised learning may not be fair, you can perhaps still do the comparison and explain in your paper that it is not fair. For example, maybe that supevised learning is 80% accurate but your unsupervised learning approach is 70% accurate. Although it is lower, it is quite good… You can say that the comparison is not fair and that it is good because you are ALMOST as accurate as the supervise learning method and we don’t need to have label… Thus people using your technique save a lot of time and effort. So, this is a way to do the comparison but still explain that your approach is useful if we look at it from the right perspective, even if the results are not as good. You may consider this.

      Best,
      Philippe

  29. Dear professor Philippe,

    Thank you for this article and the efforts you are doing to help new researchers like me. Recently, my manuscript took a major revision in a journal. The manuscript was reviewed by two reviewers, and the editor decision was “major revision”.
    One of the reviewers said that the idea of the paper has certain reference value, but the method should have some problems in its implementation, and mentioned two problems and then asked me several questions that I think I can answer them.
    However, the other reviewer gave me only the following comment: “The manuscript is helpful for the engineering application. Unfortunately, it has less academic nature. That means, the model should be proposed but not just present the specific technique for some application scene.”

    The problem is how to respond to this reviewer and how to modify my paper according to his comment.

    Regards,

    Elmerry

  30. Dear professor Philippe,

    Thank you for this article and the efforts you are doing to help researchers. I recently submitted an article in a good journal that assigns three reviewers. The editor decision is “minor revision” where reviewer #1 says “Consider after minor changes”. reviewer #2 says”Publish unaltered”. reviewer #3 says”Consider after minor changes”. I made the minor changes required and I sent my report. last day, the status of my paper changes to rejected without any explication.
    I can’t undrestand what happened and what I should do in this situation.

    • Hi, Thanks for reading the blog and commenting. This is indeed a very strange situation. If I were you I would send an e-mail to the associate editor or editor who was in charge of your paper to ask what happened. Maybe there was some error. Or maybe some reviewer changed his mind completely, but that should not happen. Another possibility is that the editor has asked a new reviewer to review your paper and that this new reviewer has recommended to reject your paper. It actually happen sometimes that an editor will ask another reviewer to join in after the first round of reviews. But in your case since all the reviews were very positive, it is unlikely. So, I would suggest to send an e-mail to the editor or associate editor to get some explanation about what happened. Hope this situation can be settled in a positive way! Best regards

  31. Thak you professor Philippe for your suggestions. I send an email to the editorial office and I receive this email: “I would like to let you know that, during the review process the manuscript was accepted with minor changes and there were comments to be addressed. These were addressed and later while checking with the quality team we found that there was a high percentage of similarity concerns with the revised version of the manuscript. Hence, the manuscript was rejected by the editor. Our Editors make their decisions independently and these cannot be questioned by the publisher.
    After considering any issues raised during review, you are welcome to submit this manuscript to a different Hindawi journal.
    You may also resubmit this work to the same journal after making extensive revisions and including substantial new material. If you choose to resubmit, the manuscript will be evaluated by the same Editor if they are still available.” I am so surprised because I have answer all the questions of reviewers. Until now I can’t undrestand what happened.

    • Hello, It is good that you have contacted the editor. From his comment, I understand the problem. He has mentioned that there was a “similarity concern”. This means that the editor has run a similarity checker like CrossCheck on your paper and found that the similarity is high when compared to other papers. What is a high similarity? It really depends. Some editor will consider that 20% of text is high, while others may be ok with 40%. This means that if you have published a paper on the same topic and have reused some text, then this may be the reason for failing the similarity check. I wrote a blog post that explain how similarity check works:
      http://data-mining.philippe-fournier-viger.com/rejected-papers-because-of-crosscheck-similarity-checking/
      So what you should do? You should first decrease the similarity of your paper. A simple way is to rewrite some parts or add new parts to decrease the similarity. Then, you could submit the paper again.
      Best regards,

  32. Hello, I like to ask you to undrestand more.
    1. The editor run a similarity checker befor submting the paper to reviewers or after that.
    2. before the rejected status I reveived an email from the office editorial to change two paragraphs which are similar to others work and I have rewireted them. I checked the last version put in the site. I find that it is not updated. I think that they made a mistake. what do you think sir.
    3.Can they change their decision?
    I apologize for the inconvenience.

    • Hi, 1.Usually, the editor will run the similarity checker when the paper is submitted before giving it to reviewers. But it is always possible that they run it later such as after you revise the paper.
      2. I see. Or maybe you have uploaded the wrong file when submiting the revision of the paper?
      3. You can always ask. There is nothing to lose to ask. But I think that usually, the editor will not change the decision. Or maybe he will tell you to submit again and he may help to process it faster.
      Otherwise, you can consider sending to another journal perhaps. And also before doing that, you may want to decrease a little bit more the similarity with your previous paper if needed.
      By the way, it can be good to ask the editor how many % is the similarity or to give you the similarity report if possible.
      Best,

  33. Hello!
    I have news today. After consulting the paper version put in my session, the editorial office thinks I’m right and the paper did not update. they send me: “Apologies for the inconvenience caused! Pertaining to the email below, we are investigating on this issue and will get back to you with an update at the earliest.” I wish that my status changes to “accepted”. I don’t know what will happened now, but I am waiting.
    best regards,

    • Dear Professor Philippe Fournier-Viger:
      Thank you so much for this blog and your time and energy to help people!

      Please help me and give me more guidance, I am so grateful to your help!

      Now I am encountering some knotty problems that the reputed SCI journal EIC doesn’t approve our request for change to the authorship due to true fact after acceptance of our paper. The reason why we want to change the authorship is that the second author(he is my supervisor) has no substantial contributions to the paper and threaten me.Before submission,I got his approval to list his name in the authorship and list me as first author and corresponding author while he as second author, but I don’t know this is inappropriate in the sense that he has no substantial contributions to the paper, I am a PhD student,This is my first SCI paper,I don’t know this point.So I want to persuade the Journal EIC to approve the removal to his authorship ,but Journal EIC doesn’t approve the request(The reason is that we have missed the submission and revision stage, I don’t know this since this is my first time as corresponding author).On the other hand, The journal manager seems to approve this due to our reasonable request。 How can I deal with this situation? Can I remove his authorship in the proof stage? Should I follow the Journal EIC or the journal manager? I have no experience and don’t know how to do.

      You are so kind and helpful, so I would like to turn to you for help and wish to get
      your help and guidance!
      Thank you so much!

      Best regards!

      S.Zhang

      • Hi, Thanks for reading the blog and commenting. Also, I am glad that the blog is interesting and useful.
        1) Many journals do not like that the list of authors is modified after a paper is accepted. But generally, the problem is that some people will ADD some names after the paper is accepted. Many journals will not allow to add a name because they will think that one is trying to add someone that did nothing in the paper just because the paper is accepted.
        But in your case, it is a very different situation because you want to REMOVE a name rather than ADDING a name.
        Thus, I think that it should not be a problem. If you want to remove the name, then you can explain your situations to the editor and I guess that he will understand.
        2) But before you do that, I think that you should think twice about it. Usually, for a student, it is normal to put the name of his supervisor and a student should always ask his supervisor before submitting a paper (but there are perhaps some exceptions depending on your field and country). Although the supervisor may have not done much in the paper, he actually provided you with lab equipment and funding, and you may have written that paper during the time that you were working in his lab. Thus, although the supervisor may not have written a line of the paper, he may still expect that you put his name, just for being your supervisor. Thus, in my opinion, you need to think twice to avoid problems with your supervisor. Will your supervisor be angry about it? Actually, since you already told him that you would put his name, and now you want to remove his name, then he may not be happy about that. If you want to make sure to keep a good relationship with your supervisor, then it would be better to talk with him about that first. Then, if he accepts to remove his name, you can remove it. But if you don’t tell him and remove his name, he may be angry, and later you may need his recommendation letter…
        3) Generally, in academia, we should only put the name of someone in a paper if he has contributed to the paper. But for supervisors, it is not always the case. And many people will put the name of other people too on their paper, although they should probably not. In the case of putting the name of your supervisor, I don’t think that it would be an ethical problem to put his name because he was your supervisor. And also it does not cost you anything to put his name. So if I was you, I would play it safe to keep a good relationship and keep his name or otherwise discuss with him first.
        Best regards,

  34. Dear Professor Philippe Fournier-Viger:

    Thank you for your immediate reply! Your guidance gives me lots of help!
    1.Some things I don’t mentioned are the work is not completed in my supervisor’labs and not supported by his funding and not use any resource he provided.
    2.The work I have done is not his research direction(he acknowledged that he doesn’t thoroughly understand my paper, that is why he allows me as the corresponding author).
    3.The journal that accepted our paper is the reputed and prestigious journal in our field.
    4.I try to communicate with my supervisor,but fails to communicate with him and he threatened me with a sanction to academic misconduct. I am just a innocent PhD student. and I don’t know How to respond to his unreasonable and irresponsible sanction.
    5.If I follow the journal manager to remove his authorship,which means I offend the journal EIC and AE. Would they like to consider my new submissions? or they directly reject them in future.
    6.Because of my supervisor’s unfamiliarity to my research, How can I deal with the situation that he asks for the withdraw to the paper if I keep his authorship?(he doesn’t want to be responsible for his somethings unfamiliar)
    7.Please you and Request you to give me more guidance!

    I am so grateful to and urgently wish to get your help!

    Thank you so much!
    Best regards!

    S.Zhang

    • Hi, I see. That is a complicated situation.
      1) In the best case, it would be preferable to keep a good relationship with your supervisor and to get your paper published. This should be the two goals.
      2) As for keeping a good relationship to your supervisor, you should try to perhaps communicate with him/her again and ask clearly do he wants to be a co-author or not? If he says “no”, then you need to remove him or withdraw the paper. The best would be to contact the journal and ask to remove the name. If you do that and explain it to the AE or EIC in a reasonable way, they should accept it. If for some reason the EIC or AE just decide to withdraw your paper, then it would be bad, but you could still submit it to other journals. It would delay the publication but your work would not be lost. And if your supervisor is ok to keep his name, then just keep it. Those are the different cases that can happen.
      3) But another problem is that the supervisor has threatened you. I am not sure that I understand why. Have you submitted the paper without his authorisation? If that is the case, it could be the reason why he is angry because of course you should not do that. But if that is not the reason, then there may be some other reasons or he is just a bad supervisor. In any case, he is your supervisor, so it is probably best to try to restore a good relationship with him because in the future you may need a recommendation letter and to graduate. Or in the worst case, you would have to find a way to change to another supervisor if the relationship is toxic. If he threatened you without reason, then it may be a good reason to consider changing supervisor. You may perhaps want to talk with some other professor in your department that you thrust or some people at your university from other departmens about the possiblity of changing supervisor. I know some Ph.D student in Canada that had changed supervisor because the relationship was toxic. Now that student is a professor.
      4) About being banned from the journal, I don’t think that it would happen. And I think that this is not a major problem if it happens. I know some student who had been banned for 1 year from ALL IEEE journals for submitting the same paper to two journal at the same time. Even in that case, it was just for 1 year, and there are still many other good journals that are not by IEEE. Of course it is better to not get banned. But if it happens, you will not be banned forever. And I don’t think it would happen.

      So overall, I think you should mostly worry about making it clear with your supervisor about whether to keep his name or not. And then, the second problem is to consider whether the relationship is toxic and maybe you want to consider changing supervisor.
      Regards,

  35. Dear Professor Philippe Fournier-Viger:

    Thank you for your so immediate reply! I will follow your suggestions!

    S.Zhang

  36. Dear Professor Philippe Fournier-Viger:

    Please help and guide me the following
    1.I am a freshman and want to know an accepted paper before publication can be withdrawed by coauther without the corresponding author’s permission.
    2.Can the accepted paper be directly published again without a new round submission and review process by the same journal after withdraw from author side to correct something(e.g. remove authorship).
    3.What’s the result of Withdraw from author side before publication and after publication?
    4.Does Withdraw from author side before publication means waiver of publication.
    5.I have no reply of my supervisor until now and worry about the publication of my paper

    Please you and Request you to give me more guidance!

    I am so grateful to and urgently wish to get your help!

    Thank you so much!
    Best regards!

    S.Zhang

    • Hello,
      1. If the co-author complains to the journal or even say something that is not true such that you submitted without his name, he could perhaps cause the paper to be withdrawn. Or maybe that the journal do something more reasonable and just remove his name. But it depends on the journal. But in any case, you are the corresponding author. So the editor would decide to withdraw your paper, the editor must let you know. But I think that the editor should first discuss with you. I don’t think they would just withdraw it right away. They should give you a chance to provide some explanation, I guess.

      2. If the paper is withdrawn or if you need to withdraw it, I think that the review process may have to be done again. For example, a few years ago, I submitted a paper to a special issue of a journal. One of the reviewers rejected my paper because he complained that it was similar to a conference paper. But actually, it was OK since I was invited to extend my conference paper for the special issue. Even if I explained that to the editor, when I resubmited, the review process was started again from scratch with different reviewers. You might be more lucky.

      3. If you withdraw before publication, then the paper will not be published. There is no problem about that. But if you withdraw after publication, then the journal may have to publish a retraction notice in its journal to indicate that a paper has been removed after it has been published. This will happen if a paper is published in a printed journal for example. But if the paper is only online, maybe that there is no retraction notice and they just take out the paper. It also depends on the journal’s policy.

      4. Im not sure what you mean by “waiver of publication”. But if the paper is withdrawn, it basically just mean that the paper will not be published. If it is withdrawn after it has been published then we say that the paper has been retracted.

      5. Hopefully, he answers you soon and everything can be solved.

      Best regards,

  37. Dear Professor Philippe Fournier-Viger:

    Thank you for you immediate reply!
    1.If I say I have conflicts with the second author and he is willing to remove his authorship in the accepted paper to appease this issue(it is lossless for journal reputation,after all now is under publication rather than after publication),
    Or copyright problem(he doesn’t agree to publish the paper with his authorship)

    Can this persuade Journal EIC and AE to approve his authorship removal before publication?
    Is this a more reasonable and better reason to do so?
    Or
    would you please help me for more reasonable reasons to remove his authorship with high probability. You have rich experience of publication,please help me.
    Any other reasons you think are feasible?

    2.In fact, I have told the Journal EIC that the second author has no substantial contributions,but it fails to work,as mentioned before. The journal EIC said I should present the change request to authorship in the submission and revision stage,but I am freshman and have no experience(it is my first time as corresponding author), I don’t know this point .

    3.Now the problem is that I and my supervisor agreed to remove his authorship, but probably the EIC and AE might not approve(I need a better and reasonable reason). The work takes me lots of time(more than 1 year) and more efforts. I don’t want to see any result of withdraw or retraction.

    4.Is there better solutions to the problem?

    5.before submission, I got my supervisors’authorization(he is not optimistic to the paper that time,He think the paper may be rejected). Now he changed his mind that he doesn’t want to be responsible for his somethings unfamiliar even if the journal is prestigious. I have to become the scapegoat and victim.

    I sometimes feel somewhat desperate and helpless when recalling the efforts I have made and his irresponsibility.

    Please you and Request you to give me more guidance!

    I am so grateful to and urgently wish to get your help!

    Thank you so much!
    Best regards!

    S.Zhang

  38. Dear Professor Philippe Fournier-Viger:

    Thank you for you immediate reply!
    1.If I say I have conflicts with the second author and he is willing to remove his authorship in the accepted paper to appease this issue(it is lossless for journal reputation,after all now is under publication rather than after publication),
    Or copyright problem(he doesn’t agree to publish the paper with his authorship)

    Can this persuade Journal EIC and AE to approve his authorship removal before publication?
    Is this a more reasonable and better reason to do so?
    Or
    would you please help me for more reasonable reasons to remove his authorship with high probability. You have rich experience of publication,please help me.
    Any other reasons you think are feasible?

    2.In fact, I have told the Journal EIC that the second author has no substantial contributions,but it fails to work,as mentioned before. The journal EIC said I should present the change request to authorship in the submission and revision stage,but I am freshman and have no experience(it is my first time as corresponding author), I don’t know this point .

    3.Now the problem is that I and my supervisor agreed to remove his authorship, but probably the EIC and AE might not approve(I need a better and reasonable reason). The work takes me lots of time(more than 1 year) and more efforts. I don’t want to see any result of withdraw or retraction.

    4.Is there better solutions to the problem?

    5.before submission, I got my supervisors’authorization(he is not optimistic to the paper that time,He think the paper may be rejected). Now he changed his mind that he doesn’t want to be responsible for his somethings unfamiliar even if the journal is prestigious. I have to become the scapegoat and victim.

    I sometimes feel somewhat desperate and helpless when recalling the efforts I have made and his irresponsibility.

    Please you and Request you to give me more guidance!

    I am so grateful to and urgently wish to get your help!

    Thank you so much!
    Best regards!

    S.Zhang

    • Hello,
      1. The first thing that you should do is to be sure that your supervisor wants to be removed. If you are sure that he wants to be removed, then the next step is to contact the EIC or AE to ask to remove his name. For this you can write an e-mail and put your supervisor in CC so that you will have a proof that your supervisor was aware of your e-mail. In your e-mail, you should explain that your supervisor initially agreed to be part of the paper but now does not want his name to appear on the paper, and you politely ask for him to be removed. But if you are not sure that your supervisor wants to be removed or not, you need to be very careful as if you remove him without his authorization it could put you in trouble. Do you have some proofs like some e-mails that shows that he accepted to be a co-author and that he does not want to be a co-author anymore? It would be better for you to have such proofs.
      2. Yes, this is not really a good reason. But if you honestly explain the real situation which is that your supervisor does not want to be a co-author anymore, it could perhaps work better.
      3. If the EIC and AE do not agree to remove your supervisor, then it is not your fault. Actually, your supervisor agreed to be a co-author initially. Then, the problem is that he is changing his mind when the paper is going to get published. But it would be better to avoid trouble if you have proof that your supervisor has agreed like an e-mail. If you don’t have a proof, then if the supervisor has some bad intentions, he could create some trouble to you perhaps with respect to your university and claim that he never agreed… So as I said above, if it is clear that your supervisor want to be removed, write an e-mail to the EIC or AE and explain the situation clearly with your supervisor in CC. Then when the EIC or AE will answer you, you supervisor will also receive the answer. And if he cannot be removed, he will also know it.
      4. As I said before, you probably want to keep a good relationship with your supervisor if possible, and avoid anything that could put you in trouble with respect to your institution. Thus, I think you should make everything clear with your supervisor first that he wants to be removed and/or make sure that you have some proof about it to avoid future trouble. Then, you can try to be removed by contacting the EIC or AE.
      The other solution is to completely withdraw your paper… and submit it somewhere else. Actually, this would not be a totally bad solution. You would waste a little bit of time, but in the end it would probably be accepted somewhere else. This is the other possibility if other solutions do not work.
      5. Yes, this is a bad situation. If I were you I would try to fix things up with the supervisor. But if the environment is really toxic in your team, as i said, you may perhaps want to consider changing team or supervisor. This is a decision that you can evaluate if it make sense in your situation. There are a lot of good supervisors and teams, and there are some bad supervisors and bad teams. If you are in a bad team or with a bad supervisor, you maybe do not need to stay there.

      Best regards,

  39. Dear Professor Philippe Fournier-Viger:

    Thank you so much for you detailed reply and your guidance!
    You are a kind and good man!

    Best regards!

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