Q: Do I need to point out every minor change made in response to the reviewer's recommendation to shorten the length?

Detailed Question -

I received a recommendation of major revision for my manuscript. The Reviewing Editor’s suggestion was to make the length shorter. I have been able to shorten it by 500 words. However, in doing so, I have had to make a huge number of minor changes. At first, I marked all the changes, including the smallest ones, using Track Changes, but this has made the text very difficult to read. I am wondering if I am supposed to point out every minor change made to shorten the text, or can I exclude the smaller ones?

1 Answer to this question

No, this is not necessary, and there are a few ways in which you can handle this, based also on what the journal recommends.

  • At the time of resubmission, most journals need you to also upload the Track Changes version of the document along with the ‘clean’ one. This is for reference purposes. You could check the journal (re)submission guidelines; if not, you could check with the journal editor. You may also learn more through this related query by another researcher: Does the 'marked revision' mean the script with the track changes?
  • If such a guideline is not provided, you could in the resubmission cover mail also attach the Track Changes version, naming it clearly to distinguish it from the cleaner version. And of course, mention this in the mail to the editor.
  • In the cover mail, you could mention this dilemma that you faced, and perhaps add an example of how you have managed to shorten the text. This is also important to show that you have done due diligence to the review comments.

That done, as this was a major revision, the comments were probably more about the scientific / technical aspects of your study. So, you would understandably need to ensure those are addressed for sure. For more help with effectively addressing peer review comments, you may find it worthwhile to go through the following articles:

Hope that helps. All the best in completing the revision and taking your manuscript toward acceptance!

PS. As you mentioned the need to shorten text, perhaps next time, you may wish to consider one of our suite of editing services, which can help with anything from basic language edits to more complex scientific reviews. You may know more here: Editage Editing Services