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.
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.
“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 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.