How to respond to the reviewer of your paper
In our previous blog, we discussed about How To Write a Review Article. If you have reviewed someone’s work, chances are your work if you have one will be picked up by someone also to review. Every person is different with different levels of knowledge and experience that you have so opinions would differ. But after reading their review of your paper, if you have something to add, explain or just acknowledge maybe consider writing an email to the reviewer and here’s how you can do it and maintain a good professional balance:
- Stay calm before you start
When the decision letter arrives, take your time and read through the comments. You have to understand the reviewer’s perspective of the feedback to know why they wrote what they wrote about your paper. It is always a good idea to read their review and then read your paper to identify any gap the reviewer might have skipped over. Even if the review is not as you might have anticipated, reacted to it calmly is advised. Instead of just an email, try having a conversation as you write the email.
- Answer the questions they raise
Peer reviews are meant to encourage the author to learn more about their subject from a different perspective, have a stronger approach further with a robust research. Instead of taking is as a criticism, consider it to be a chance to improve your manuscript. Allow yourself to soak in the feedback before start writing that letter/email. Be aware that the editors at the journal will receive your comments which they will then send to the reviewer so keep it polite and classy.
- Make a list of things that you want to write about
The best way to ensure that you have covered all that points that the reviewer has raised about your paper is to have a checklist. Yes a checklist. It may sound like too much work for as response but this is your career we are talking about! You can never be too prepared or too perfect. Since you will be taking time to respond to your reviewer, why not do so perfectly?
The best way to go by this is to read the review thoroughly. Highlight any points that you think needs clarification or something they did not get right. You may have to re check the list with the review article so you don’t miss out on any point. Now based on this list, write your response. This will help you avoid awkward email exchanges where you ask more and more question.
- Resubmit your manuscript
Of course this step applies only when you have to correct your work based on the review but bear in mind that editors are really busy people and your manuscript isn’t the only one they’re working on. So be organized when you resend your work and have patience for them to get back to you. Keep in the mind the following things that you need to send your manuscript with as these are the part of organizing:
- Cover letter: Addressed to the editor of the journal, it should be polite and clean and definitely a part of your resubmission that you don’t want to miss.
- List of responses: Corresponding to the checklist of points taken from the review mention in point number three, give responses. Or make it easier by organizing the same list.
- The track changes document: With your resubmitted work, attach the work you edited by tracking the changes in the word document. This way the editor will have an idea about why you changed what you changed.
- A clean vision: Finally make sure you submit the most important document along with the other three and make sure it follows the journal guidelines and is error free.
There isn’t a criticism that is good or bad. That’s very subjective. And even if you ever face a review that isn’t accurate to your story or is somehow rude in tone (highly unlikely) there is still so much to learn and better your work.