How Respond to "Rewrite and Resubmit"
Daniel Naurin, Coordinator and Professor of Political Science, PluriCourts.
First of all, if you have received a “revise and resubmit” - congratulations! This means the editor believes that your work has potential. The number of first acceptances is very low.
However, this also means that you have work to do, on a project that you probably thought you were done with. A challenge with R&R is to get over the inconvenience of starting over again, and get into work mode on something that you considered to be in your past.
Most importantly when it comes to R&R: For your own sake, take the reviewers seriously. This is not just because you want to get published, and therefore have to persuade the reviewers and editors, but also because they usually have a point in their comments! Most people who fail in the review process do that because they don’t realize that the reviewer actually had a point. Don’t be afraid to go against a reviewer if necessary, and argue your case. But always take them seriously.
Take the reviewers seriously. Most people who fail in the review process do that because they don’t realize that the reviewer actually had a point.
Does that mean you should answer all their points? There are two main models of response letters: One is to make a summary of the reviewers' comments and your answers and revisions. Another model is to copy and paste all the reviewers' comments into your response letter and indicate your response to each of the comments. The advantage of the first model is that it gives a more readable text (and also the opportunity to be a bit strategic in how you frame the presentation of the comments). The advantage of the second model is that it is transparent, which may increase the reviewers and editors trust in that you have addressed all their points.
Finally, do not forget that even if you are rejected you should use the reviews to improve your manuscript. There are two reasons why you should not send out a rejected manuscript to a new journal without addressing the reviews you got in the first journal. 1) you may have the same reviewer again (happens a lot), 2) the reviewer probably had a point, which will improve your chances the next if you address it.
This blog post is the author's reflections from the seminar From Bright Idea to Cited Publication: Opening the Black Box which was arranged by PluriCourts in December 2015.