Q: How should I respond to dishonest review?

Detailed Question -

At the first review, one of the three reviewers commented "Excellent paper offering a clear and important message". However, the judgement at the second review was “recommend rejection”, with the fuzzy reason that “discussion was insufficient“. I am currently asked for a response, and I feel that the reviewers are ineligible and dishonest. How should we respond in such case?

1 Answer to this question

Thank you for your question.

It is plausible that a paper makes a good argument but doesn't justify it enough in the discussion, and hence the discussion can be developed further; however, this is not usually a cause for rejection (the reviewer would typically ask the author to further develop the discussion).

We believe you can write back to the editor, offering to re-examine the discussion if required, even though you may not completely agree with the second comment. If the core idea of the research is sound, as the first reviewer suggests, then the discussion can be strengthened.

Also, the major inconsistency in opinions indicates that the paper at least merits a re-examination.
Whether you wish to rework the discussion or not, these articles may help you respond to the second reviewer’s comments:

We wish you the very best with your paper!