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Navigating the Revise and Resubmit Process: A guide for authors

Authors experience mixed emotions on receiving requests for review and resubmit (R&R). R&R request denotes that a manuscript is worth publishing after some recommended changes. It is an intermediate step toward the decision of either getting your manuscript accepted or rejected. Thus, it can be considered as a signal for both recognition and challenge.

R&R helps in polishing one’s work by making it more defined with brief inclusion of relevant information. It ensures that the manuscript meets the scope and goals of the journal. Careful analysis of the feedback can help to add more information in order to remove ambiguity and align it with the existing literature.

How to Effectively Analyse Reviewer Comments

Effectively analysing reviewer comments involves a systematic approach. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

1- Read and Understand the Comments Thoroughly: Read through the comments multiple times to understand the reviewer's perspectives, suggestions, and concerns. Try to stay calm and remain objective to the criticism. Take notes on the key points and the areas of concern. Clarify unclear or ambiguous comments from the editor before revising.

2 - Categorise and Summarise Comments: Organise comments into categories based on their nature (e.g., methodology, clarity, references). Summarise the main points raised by the reviewers to simplify the process of addressing the comments. Identify the most critical issues that needs to be rectified first and prioritise the comments accordingly.

3 - Identify Trends: Look for recurring suggestions to identify areas that require special attention. Identifying common themes among the comments can help to understand the segments that require time and extensive revision. 

4 - Distinguish Between Major and Minor Comments: Not all comments are of equal weight. So, address the major issues first and then move to corrections like language and grammar mistakes. Major issues could be issues related to methodology, data analysis, interpretation, or overall structure. Devoting significant attention to these areas can significantly improve the paper's quality.

5 - Avoid Emotional Attachment: View the work objectively to avoid being defensive on receiving constructive criticism.

Seeking Clarification When Faced With Unclear or Conflicting Feedback

Feedback isn't always crystal clear, and may also appear contradictory at times. In such situations, seeking clarification can produce the best work possible. It is the most proactive and essential step to ensure that the editor’s comments are addressed accurately. Also, seeking clarification reduces the risk of repeating the same mistakes. Editors and reviewers are usually willing to clarify their comments to aid your understanding. By asking questions or engaging in a dialogue, an author can be better equipped to make substantial improvements.  

Tips to Deal With Unclear or Conflicting Feedbacks

Prioritise Clarity: Start by addressing comments that are straightforward and clear. This will eliminate confusion and shed light on ambiguous suggestions.

Constructive Inquiry: When feedback is unclear, craft polite inquiries seeking clarification. This demonstrates your dedication to improving the work while respecting the reviewer's expertise.

Engage in Dialogue: Engaging in a dialogue with the editors (who can then relay the information to the reviewers) can unravel the thought process behind reviewer comments, thereby making it easier to address comments and revise the manuscript.

Writing a Structured Response:

Writing a structured response involves organizing thoughts and addressing each point of the feedback clearly. Here's a step-by-step process to create a well-defined response addressing reviewer or editor comments: 

The journey from receiving an R&R request to eventual publication is a transformative process that requires effective responses and a positive attitude toward feedback. Responding confidently and professionally demonstrates your commitment to excellence, scholarly maturity, and ability to collaborate effectively. Embracing feedback not only improves your manuscript but also propels your growth as a researcher. By embracing this iterative process, you not only increase the chances of publication but also contribute to the advancement of knowledge in your field.




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