Q: What can I do about a reviewer comment that says I did not make changes although I did?
I received an email from the editor, with a quote from the reviewer saying "I regret to inform you that the authors failed to address the points I raised in my previous review of this manuscript; in this case, any further comments on this manuscript is pointless."
I sent them an email to ask which point we failed to address because I had made the changes in the manuscript that the reviewer had asked for. The reviewer said that the authors failed to update the reference list. However, I had added 3 more references to support the old ones.
This is the original reviewer comment: "The references list needs to be updated. There are old references (1980s – 1990s) that can be replaced with more recent ones. Please see below a number of suggested recent papers that can replace old references. If the authors are not willing to omit old references at least can use them together with more recent ones.
This is his comment after I updated my manuscript adding 3 references: "Unfortunately, the authors failed to update the reference list, and failed to respond to these comments. There are no changes on the manuscript. Authors should address any comments given by reviewers, in a point-to-point response; even if they do not want to consider the comments or suggestions from reviewers they must address their reasons for not considering these comments and suggestions. Given that there are no changes on the manuscript, and there is no point-to-point response from the authors, this review is pointless. Thank you for given me the opportunity to review this manuscript, I leave the final decision to you, since there is no response from the authors."
Please advise me if there is anything that I should do? The first review from the first reviewer was good. He recommended Acceptance as is.
Sorry for the long explanation.
It seems that although you have made the change, your response letter to the reviewer does not clearly reflect the changes you have made. When you receive reviewer comments, you are expected to not only make the suggested improvements to the manuscript, but also to write a point-by-point response letter documenting each suggestion of the reviewer, mentioning whether you agree to the suggestion and mentioning the change that you have made along with page and line numbers or highlights that indicate the change.
Thus, if you have added 3 recent references, you should note this change as follows:
Comment [Add comment number]: The references list needs to be updated. There are old references (1980s–1990s) that can be replaced with more recent ones. Please see below a number of suggested recent papers that can replace old references. If the authors are not willing to omit old references at least can use them together with more recent ones
Response: I agree with the reviewer's suggestion that more recent references need to be added. I have therefore added 3 new references [list down the references you have added] in the reference list [page number, reference numbers] and have cited these sources on the following pages [include page numbers].
Additionally, add a short explanation of why you did not include all the references suggested by the reviewer or why you did not delete the older references.
Do this as soon as possible and send it to the editor, explaining that you had made the suggested changes, but your response document was not clear. You have made changes to the response document and would like to be given an opportunity to clear this misunderstanding. Hopefully, the editor will give you another chance.