Q: What can be the possible outcome of a paper with widely differing comments from six reviewers?

Detailed Question -

I submitted a paper to a journal in the field of computer science. After waiting quite a bit, I received a 'major revision' decision letter with reviewer comments from six reviewers, However, not all the reviews were sent to me. I feel six reviewers are quite unusual. Moreover, the reviewers seem to have widely differing opinions. The decisions and general drift of the comments were as follows:

Reviewer 1: Accept with major revisions, suggesting that the paper is an excellent paper and only the results section could be improved

Reviewer 2: Reject, stating that there is no novelty in the paper and it would only be good for a conference

Reviewer 3: Accept, stating that the paper contains multiple contributions

Reviewer 4: Accept after major revisions, stating that only the results section should be improved and adding some references which, on checking, turned out to be all by the same author (clear enough what was in his mind)

Reviewer 5: Was not included

Reviewer 6: Accept, stating that the paper was well presented and organized

After reading the comments carefully, (mostly about the results section which I already knew needed some work), I added what Reviewers 1 and 4 had asked for with details and included a point-by-point answer to different comments in the revision.

While I addressed all comments made by Reviewer 1 and 4, I did not mention anything about Reviewer 2 who had no comments.

Do you think I should have commented on reviewer 2?

The status of the revised manuscript was updated to ‘Under review’ within 4 hours after I submitted it. Do you think it would have been sent to Reviewers 1 and 4 directly?

Based on the reports I mentioned, the fact that I mostly answered the comments of Reviewers 1 and 4 with care and that all the reviewers did not criticize any particular aspect of the paper other than wanting some (small) examples to be added, do you believe there is a strong chance for acceptance in my case?

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer to this question

Comments from six reviewers is definitely a lot. Perhaps that is the standard practice that your target journal follows. Another possibility is that since the reviewers had widely varying opinions, the editor was finding it difficult to arrive at a decision, and hence sent the paper for quite a few additional reviews. 

I understand that you only responded to the comments of Reviewer 1 and Reviewer 4. It would have been good to address the novelty issue raised by Reviewer 2. This was your chance to respond and provide your reasoning as to why you disagree. Also, since comments from reviewer 5 were missing, it would have been prudent to ask the editor about these and ensure that he/she has not missed sending you the comments.

However, since you have already submitted your point-by-point response and revised manuscript, all you can do at this point is await a final decision. If you have adequately addressed all the comments, the chances are high that the manuscript will be accepted. You may also be requested for another round of revision. There is no guarantee until you receive the final decision letter. Good luck and hope for the best!

Related reading:

What is the acceptance rate for revised manuscripts with a major revision decision?