Q: Should I take some action if I believe one of the reviewers did not look at the manuscript before the revision?

Detailed Question -

My manuscript was assessed as major revision during the first round of review. I revised it, politely replying to all the comments by the two reviewers. One reviewer approved the revised manuscript. However, the other reviewer made the same 10 comments as in the previous round of review and included six new comments. I found that the line numbers of the comments are the same as in the first round of review. I doubt that this reviewer looked at the manuscript before the revision. Should I ask the editor to contact this reviewer to [re]look at the revised manuscript?

1 Answer to this question

You may be absolutely accurate in your evaluation. All the same, do consider for a while whether this may have been a genuine lapse or even a careless mistake on the part of the reviewer. Perhaps they didn’t notice your revisions, or maybe they were not careful about sending you an updated sheet.

However, if you still feel the reviewer didn’t really look at the earlier version of the manuscript, you may go ahead and share this with the editor. Of course, you need to continue maintaining the polite tone you employed while responding to the comments, as you yourself said.

You need to leave it to the editor to decide and take the next steps, be it asking the reviewer to look at the manuscript and your comments/changes or asking a new reviewer to do so. Incidentally, if the reviewer indeed is at fault, your manuscript may have been at the receiving end of the infamous Reviewer 2, a peer reviewer who is known to be demanding on the milder side and diabolical on the extreme side. :-/ Even in such a case, it would be best to leave it to the editor to determine how to handle this, especially as they usually play the mediator between the reviewer and the researcher.

For help with drafting a carefully worded mail, you may find the various templates in this handbook useful: A practical handbook of templates for communicating with the journal

Note: The handbook is available from R Upskill, a sister brand offering learning programs for several needs of a researcher, from manuscript writing to dealing with reviewer comments (in your case) to matters of ethics. Feel free to explore it in detail.

Hope that helps. All the best for a satisfactory and amicable resolution to this matter and for taking your manuscript forward!