Steps to progress your article from revisions to acceptance

Typically, there are five main decisions that are made as a result of the peer review process. These are: 

  • Rejection
  • Rejection with option to resubmit
  • Accepted pending major revisions
  • Accepted pending minor revisions
  • Accepted in current form 

A publication accepting an article in its current form with no revisions is very rare. So, a review of your paper will generally indicate that you need to make either minor or major revisions. Minor revisions can include many items within the paper that need to be revised, but typically not a major shift or addition to the paper. Major revisions are more substantive and will typically require rethinking some areas of the paper based on the reviewer's comments.

Here are essential steps to help take your article from the revisions stage toward acceptance.

1. Understand the reviews and suggested revisions

Start by carefully reading the editor’s comments, the suggested revisions and the reviewers' comments. Make a comprehensive list of all the editor’s and reviewers' comments and suggestions. This list will guide your revision of the paper.

2. Revise your paper

Take the list of comments and suggestions and group them into categories, and then identify which require a minor revision and which require a major revision. Minor revisions will include formatting or writing suggestions and are typically issues you can easily address. Major revisions include issues that are more substantive and will need deeper analysis on your part.

Start by revising areas that are easiest to address. Highlight in your paper any areas that will require a major revision and go back and revise these once the more straightforward revisions are complete. Seek feedback from knowledgeable colleagues about comments that are more difficult to interpret or understand.

We recommend: It is important to focus on changing only those areas or aspects of the paper that were identified as needing changes by the reviewers. Don’t significantly change the direction of your paper or carry out additional analyses of your paper if these were not areas raised by reviewers.

3. Check your revised paper before resubmitting

Make sure you have addressed all the reviewers’ and editor’s comments before you resubmit. As you edit the paper you need to make sure that you are still following formatting guidelines. So, check the revised paper for formatting and proof it for any writing errors. Additionally, you should have shared the revised paper with all co-authors for their comments.

4. Construct a revision response

You should have a detailed response that you send back with your revised paper indicating how you have addressed all the suggested revisions. Go through the comments and suggested revisions made by the editors and reviewers and articulate how you have responded to each of them.

One approach to doing this is to simply copy all revision suggestions into a document and type your response under each one. This is an approach that helps ensure that you respond to everything. Address everything, even minor comments. This way, the editor can easily see that all suggested revisions have been addressed in some way. 

There may be places where you do not agree with the suggestion, or you believe the reviewers did not fully understand what you intended to communicate. In these instances, respond professionally and courteously and simply tell the editor what you have done to address this, for example by making the writing clearer or adding more detail. When constructing your response, do not include any criticism of the reviewers’ comments. The tone should be professional and courteous.

Journal actions after submitting your revised paper

Once you submit the revised paper it will generally go back through peer review, especially if it was accepted pending major revisions. Often the journal will use at least some of the original reviewers. This review and revision process can involve a few iterations: it is still possible that the editors determine that your revised paper has not addressed the revisions adequately enough and they can still reject. Once your paper is accepted with no further revisions or reviews required, you will work with the copy-editors on paper proofs to ensure that everything is ready for publication.

 

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