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Scientific Manuscript Editing: 7 Tips on how to respond to revision requests

Scientific Manuscript Editing : 7 Tips on How to Respond to Revision Requests

After spending months on writing a perfect research manuscript, you gather the courage to send it to a peer-reviewed journal. The ultimate test begins now as you wait for weeks or even months for a favourable response from the scientific journal editors.

Finally, you hear from them. And it is good news! They haven’t rejected your work straight away but also not accepted it. They’ve asked for revisions.

Anxiety, dread, terror, demoralization, confusion, rage, all such horrible feelings bubble to the surface now. It seems like the end of the world.

However, it isn’t. A revision request isn’t that bad as you think. In fact, you can use these requests to improve your writing skills.

In this post, you’ll learn how to respond to these revision requests with professionalism and self-assurance. Let’s dive in.

1) Understand What the Journal Wants

Many authors take a hasty step to question the journal editors about the revision requests. Ideally, you should take time to understand what the publishers want. Find out:

  • The journal’s goals for the articles it publishes –Look at the stated mission (found under “Aim and Scope” page on their website) to gain insight on the journal’s audience and the topics they are interested in reading.
  • The type of scientific papers it has published in the past –Before submitting your manuscript, know the type of work the journal has already published. You can understand its preferred content by looking through their last three issues.
  • The journal’s preferred style guide Some journals set specific writing standards for their authors to follow. They write such standards under their “submission guidelines” or “instructions to authors”.

2) Ask Why

Sometimes the journal editors send vague revision requests without specifying what they want. In that case, respond to the revision request with your own request asking them for more specific directions. Email a list of questions to clarify what the publication is looking for.

 3) Don’t Take the Revision Requests Personally

Although it’s your work, and you worked hard over it, you must not behave defensively. When you submit your work for a review, it’s no longer your masterpiece. It’s simply a scientific research. And the person who reviews it only fulfils his role by pointing out the gaps in logic, uneven flow, missing tables, incongruous figures, or other details you might have overlooked. So, don’t take it personally. The reviewer is not your critique but a supporter who enhances the quality of your manuscript. Think about it rationally and leave your emotions out.

However, if you disagree with the revision request, respectfully reach out to the editor and give him the reasons to support your dissent. If the editor doesn’t agree with you, appeal the decision within the journal’s appeal process or withdraw your paper from consideration and move on.

4) Tackle the Requests Soon But Not Immediately

After you receive a revision request, don’t tackle those requests immediately. Take a moment to manage your emotions. This will help you see the revision requests with a new angle and clarity. Further, you will be able to truly understand what the reviewers are asking.

5) Create your Checklist

Once you’ve decided to revise your manuscript as per the reviewers’ requests, create your own checklist. This will help you approach each aspect of the request one-by-one and facilitate orderly and timely completion of the editing process.

6) Get Professional Scientific Editing Services

Sometimes, it’s best to hire professional scientific editing services than do it yourself; more so if you’re not a native English speaker and need an extra guidance on the mechanics of English. The experienced editors can help you create an informative, logical, and compelling manuscript —one every journal wants to see.

Plus, it will reduce your workload and improve your chances of being accepted by the journal editor.

7) Check your Citations

References are an integral part of your scientific paper. You must credit all your sources correctly. Citations not only help to substantiate your claims but also protect you from unintentional plagiarism. Thus, you can’t take chances with your reference section. Make sure you cite every source correctly and as per the journal guidelines.

Writing a manuscript is a part of your job as a researcher. However, not everyone is trained as a scientific writer. But, you can utilize every revision request as an opportunity to improve your writing skills. Otherwise, a scientific paper editing service is just a click away!

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