Q: How do I reply to the referees' comments after a second revision?
I will be resubmitting my manuscript after a second revision. How do I proceed and how do I reply to the editor and reviewers?
Hello Lamia – Welcome back to the forum! Your question comes at such an apt time – during Peer Review Week 2020. Speaking of which, we hope you have been going through the daily updates on all the new articles, guest posts, round-ups, and webinars we have created for Peer Review Week 2020, and are finding them useful.
Coming to your query, responding to the referees’ comments after the second revision is not materially different from responding to them after the first revision, because the aim of both remains the same, namely, to convince the editor that the comments have been addressed adequately. If you succeed in doing that, the second revision may not need to be sent to the referees at all. Whether you accept the comments or reject them is less important; what is more important is that you address every comment.
That said, you should make it as easy as possible for whomsoever will read your response. If more than one referee is involved, make ‘Comments by Reviewer A’ a major heading, ‘Comments by Reviewer B’ another major heading, and so on. Under each major heading, insert a table with three columns and as many rows as there are comments (plus one heading row). The first column is for the comment; the second, for your response; and the third, for the changes made to the first revision in the light of the comment along with page number and line number(s) as required.
Lastly, and this is equally important, you may want to express your willingness to revise the manuscript yet again should this be necessary.
Although you may have referenced these already, you may find these resources useful:
- How to respond to comments by peer reviewers
- Do's and don'ts for responding to peer reviewers' comments
- How to handle peer review comments [Publication Coach]
Hope that helps. And all the best in closing your paper toward acceptance!
[With inputs from Yateendra Joshi]