Q: How should I respond to the editor's comment on proofreading and ethical review?

Detailed Question -

I got a reply from the editor as follows:

“In its current state, the paper cannot go through the review process. In order to be able to send this paper to reviewers, it should undergo proofreading. In addition to this, the work lacks any ethical review process (required as the paper is dealing with data obtained from human subjects).

How shall I respond? The journal doesn't have templates for ethical review. How and where shall I write that?

1 Answer to this question

The journal editor has raised two concerns in the reply and I will address them one by one.

Firstly, the editor has mentioned that your paper requires proofreading. It is very important to present an error-free and well written manuscript to the journal as this allows the editor and the reviewers to focus on the other important aspects like the research question and the methodology. Moreover, a paper full of grammatical and typographical errors does not create a good impression on the editor. Therefore, as a practice, you must always proofread all your documents well. You can take help from friends and colleagues who might be willing to help as an extra pair of eyes can always catch mistakes easily. Alternately, you can seek professional help from agencies that provide good quality service, for instance, Editage provides an excellent range of English language services. In any case, you must make sure your paper is proofread and free from errors.

Now let us move to the second part of the editor’s response. Following research ethics is extremely important in order to maintain public confidence in scientific research and also maintain the trust of patients/participants who made their contribution to the study. To ensure that the safety, privacy rights, and the trust of the participants of a study are taken care of, it is important to acquire approval from a relevant ethics committee. You can refer these guidelines to ensure that no breach of ethics takes place. Failure to comply with ethical guidelines can lead to dire consequences like retraction of the research paper, dismissal from the institution, cancellation of licenses, etc. all of which can damage the reputation and career of a researcher. Therefore, you must always be careful wherever research ethics are concerned and make sure you acquire approval from an ethics committee and submit the same to the journal.

Now to answer your question, you can mention in the Methods section that you have acquired the necessary approval from the relevant ethics committee.   

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