Have you ever struggled to write up your results into a publishable paper only to get it rejected? Richard Threlfall, Managing Editor, Asian Journal of Organic Chemistry, gives some insider tips on how to go about revising your manuscript in light of the referees’ comments.
Manuscript Accepted or Revision Requested
So, the journal has either accepted your manuscript or requested that you revise it for another round of peer review. In both cases, you should do exactly the same thing: revise your manuscript in accordance with the recommendations of the referees. Consider the referees’ comments in their broadest sense and try not to just alter the few things that they might have specifically mentioned. Try to be as thorough as possible.
As with rejected manuscripts, and especially in the case of a manuscript that is being revised for another round of peer review, if you believe that a suggestion made by a referee is unreasonable or is not scientifically accurate, then you should say so in your cover letter that you send with the revised manuscript. You are entitled to challenge the opinion of any referee but you must have solid scientific reasons for doing so. Editors and referees do not like laziness, so simply not bothering to address all of the comments is likely to get your revised manuscript rejected and, perhaps more importantly, it is likely to get you a bad reputation.
After making the revisions, you should then electronically highlight all the changes that you have made to the manuscript in a bright color and thoroughly describe all the changes in the accompanying cover letter. Believe it or not, the highlighting and the letter are incredibly important, especially when the journal requests that you revise your manuscript. Editors and referees are human too, so nobody wants to search through many pages of your paper to find the most important changes. Marking the changes and explaining them clearly in your letter shows you are genuinely interested in improving your work and not trying to do just the minimum to get it published.
Congratulations! At the end, when your manuscript is finally accepted you can then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour as your wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated manuscript takes a proud place in the scientific literature!
And please feel free to recommend your excellent paper to be covered in the News section of ChemistryViews.org