Once you submit your research paper to the journal of your choice, you have to wait for months to hear the final decision from the journal editor. It is so because your manuscript undergoes initial screening by the journal editor followed by the advanced scrutiny by a peer reviewer.
Peer reviewers are essentially experts in their field of study. They improve the quality of your medical manuscript through their comments.
As an author, you pray that your manuscript gets accepted. You don’t feel happy to receive the reviewer’s comments, asking for a major revision of the manuscript. However, don’t be tempted to give up. Do not react in a rage. Acknowledge the reviewer’s comments, as they will make your manuscript worthy of reading.
Here are 5 easy tips on how to respond to the comments by a peer reviewer
- Take a time-off: If your initial reaction towards reviewer’s comments is irritation, take a time-off. Then, read the comments carefully with a fresh perspective.
- Respond in points: Number the reviewer’s comments and address them one-by-one. It will ease your task and enable the editors and reviewers to grasp its meaning.
- Respond with evidence: Always support your response with references from other published studies. Even if you disagree with the reviewer’s comments, state its reason with evidences. Never disapprove without giving rational evidence in support.
- Respond completely: Address each point raised by the reviewer and provide all the necessary details. Do not give them incomplete information. Even if you have to repeat the sentences in your manuscript, do so and satisfy the reviewer’s concern.
- Respond politely: Watch your tone while writing answers to the reviewer’s comments. Do not let your answers reflect any bitterness in tone, even if you disagree with the reviewer. Express your disagreement honestly, but respectfully. Support your statements with a rational, scientific explanation; cite references from the published literature.
But, are peer reviewers always right?
Though peer reviewers are field experts, it’s not that their comments are unalterable. Evaluate each of their comments on their merits. Do not agree with a reviewer just for the sake of agreement or to be in the good books of the journal editor.
Sometimes it may happen; you may receive a conflicting feedback from two reviewers. One may be satisfied with the manuscript while another may consider it inappropriate. Minor differences of opinion are natural, but diametrically opposite views can be confusing.
In such a situation, follow the reviewer with whom you agree more and justify your decision to the editor. Or you can also request the editor to give you a third opinion.
Following the above tips with perseverance will surely make you confident to handle the comments by the peer reviewer.
To conclude, do not take the comments from the peer reviewer as a criticism. In reality, they offer you an excellent opportunity to improve your manuscript and raise its chances of publication.
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