Q: Can I revise some parts of a manuscript even if they have not been requested by the reviewer?
I am presently revising my manuscript as per peer review comments. During the first submission, a major revision was required. So, I added figures and tables and resubmitted the manuscript with many [more] pages. Then, the reviewer advised me to reduce text. However, I want to unify or remove some content to make the manuscript simpler. Can I reduce it at my discretion, even if the reviewer has not pointed out [asked for] reduction of any figures and tables?
One part of your query is not clear. It’s not clear what the reviewer has asked you to remove in the second round: some text, some tables/figures, or both. Also, without seeing the manuscript, it would be difficult to give precise advice.
However, what you need to keep in mind is that this is the second round. If you make new changes now, it may go to a third round, or worse, they may pause review on it, or even worse, reject it – because they wouldn’t want to keep reviewing a manuscript. The simpler thing for now would be to make the changes the reviewer has asked for. If they ask for more or new changes in another round, you could make these changes then. But for now, from your side, you should look to closing the comments and helping your manuscript move toward acceptance. :-)
As a side note, and without trying to advocate our service too much, here is where an editing service helps. Apart from the initial edits, we also provide for re-editing with some of our plans. While it may not help you now (as you are in the revision stage), it may help to make a note of our services for future manuscripts. Learn more about our various editing services here: Editage Editing Services
And for more information on addressing peer review comments, you may refer to these resources:
- Do's and don'ts for responding to peer reviewers' comments
- How can I reply to peer review comments requesting additional experiments?
For now, again, you should simply close the existing comments and resubmit the paper.
Hope this helps. All the best for taking your paper toward acceptance!