Responding to Peer Reviews - The Academic Server at csuohio

Report
Cleveland State University
ESC 720
Technical Communications
How to Respond to Peer Reviews
Dan Simon
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Overview of the Process
• Peer reviewers make comments, criticisms, and
suggestions about your paper
• You get a chance to revise the paper and respond
to the peer reviews (often with a deadline)
• The same peer reviewers will see your revised
paper and your response document
• Is it worth trying to resubmit?
• Do the reviewers have a negative view of the paper?
• Will they find additional problems in the resubmission?
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How to irritate peer reviewers
• Argue with their comments
• Ignore their comments
• Make it hard for them to see how you addressed
their comments in the revised paper
How to please peer reviewers
• Thank them for their comments
• Go the extra mile in addressing their comments and
revising your paper
• Make it easy and convenient for them to see how
you addressed their comment in the revised paper
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Case Study: AESCTE-D-14-00011
• Jan. 6 – initial submission
• Jan. 20 – paper assigned to assoc. editor (AE)
• Jan. 29 – AE sends 8 reviewer invitations
• March 3 – 3 reviews received
• March 12 – AE decision “revise and resubmit”
• May 20 – revision 1 submitted
• May 22 – paper assigned to AE
• May 26 – AE decision “revise and resubmit”
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May 26 “Revise and Resubmit” Letter
I am not sending out your revised paper for review
because you did not adequately respond to the
reviewer comments. Your response letter needs to
not only answer the reviewer comments, but also
needs to explain where and how you modified your
paper in response to each comment. If the reviewer
has a question about your paper, then it is likely that
many readers will have the same question, so you
need to address the reviewer comments not only in
your response letter, but also in the paper itself.
If you feel that you can suitably address the
reviewers' comments, I invite you to revise and
resubmit your manuscript.
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AESCTE-D-14-00011
• Jan. 6 – initial submission
•…
• May 26 – AE decision “revise and resubmit”
• May 27 – revision 2 submitted
• May 30 – paper assigned to AE
• May 31 – AE sends 3 reviewer invitations
• July 7 – 3 reviews received
• July 14 – paper rejected
• July 15 – author asks for clarification
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AESCTE-D-14-00011R2 Reviews
• Reviewer #1: While the manuscript is potentially
interesting, its technical contribution is still
questionable, since the author has, in my view, not
satisfactorily addressed the comments from the last
round of reviews. … As I pointed out last time,
Theorem 1 does not apply to changing set points. …
This is symptomatic of a broader problem afflicting
the paper, as other reviewers point out, … The
comments from other reviewers are also addressed
in an unsatisfactory manner. …
• Reviewer #2: I could repeat some of what I said in
the previous review. …
• Reviewer #3: Accept.
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Dear. Professor X,
I take no pleasure in rejecting papers. After the first round of
reviews, I thought that it would eventually be accepted.
However, when you submitted the first revision, you did not
respond adequately to the review comments. I sent the paper
back to you, without review, asking for a better response.
When you submitted the second revision, 2 of the 3 reviewers
wrote that you still did not respond adequately.
I encourage you in future submissions to be as careful as
possible in explaining how you modified your paper based on
review comments. Responding to review comments is not an
exercise to see how few changes you can make while still
satisfying the reviewers. Review comments give you an
opportunity to improve the paper not only for the reviewers,
but also for the readers of the paper, many of who will have
perspectives similar to those of the reviewers.
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Case Study: INS-D-13-257
• April 9 – Initial review
• Sep. 27 – Revision 1 received
• Oct. 3 – Revision 1 Reviewed:
Unfortunately, I have to recommend rejection,
mainly because the authors basically ignored the
most important comment in my previous review
… I think it is unfortunate that the authors
ignored my comment, because I think the ideas
in their paper are interesting, but the way that
they present their simulation results prevents the
paper from being useful to other researchers.
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Case Study: SIGPRO-D-07-00234 – Review of Revised Paper:
There are two ways to address reviewer comments: (a) Accept
the comments as constructive criticism, and use the
comments to improve the paper; (b) Defend the paper against
the comments and leave the paper as originally written.
The authors have chosen the second option. This is
unfortunate because the paper seems to have potential, but I
do not think that it is publishable unless the authors address
the issues raised by the reviewers. Following are point-bypoint discussions of my first review …
1. This comment has been addressed in the revised paper.
However, the authors added a new figure called
"Figure 2b" to the paper. But the paper already had a
Figure 2a, 2b, and 2c.
2. This comment was not addressed. …
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Case Study (continued):
3. This comment was not addressed. The purpose of the
comment was not that the authors provide a hand-written
derivation to the reviewer, but that the authors modify
the paper to include the derivation for the readers.
4. This comment was addressed in the revised paper.
5. This comment was addressed half-way.
6. This comment was not addressed. The purpose of the
comment was not that the authors provide an answer
only for the reviewer, but that the authors modify the
paper to answer the question for the readers.
7. …
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Replying to Review Comments
• Add a statement of appreciation to the reviewers at
the beginning of your reply document
• Go the extra mile in modifying your paper
• “Response to Reviewer” Document:
• Repeat each reviewer comment, along with your
response and a short description of you addressed it
• Revised Submission:
• Highlight the changes in red font
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Replying to Review Comments: Example
We would like to thank the reviewers for their comments and
suggestions. Our responses to the reviewer comments are
listed below. Changes in the revised paper are in red font.
1. In Section 2, please describe the mutation process.
Reply: We added a description of mutation just prior to
Algorithm 1, starting at the bottom of page 5.
2. It could be interesting if authors expand the experimental
part by considering zero mutation rates.
Reply: We do not test with a zero mutation rate because
the theory in this paper requires that the mutation rate be
positive (see Theorem 3). We have clarified this in the text
a couple paragraphs before Table 1 (page 23).
3. …
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Replying to Review Comments: Example
1. The article assumes that the reader knows about CMA-ES,
SGA, Sade, and PSO2011. Otherwise, they will need to
read references [35-39] and [24], which makes reading
this work tedious. Moreover, the proposed methodology
does not present a major contribution …
Response: We agree the paper should be more selfcontained. Although the reader should have familiarity
with EAs to get the most out of this paper, we added some
background about CMA-ES, SGA, SaDE, and PSO2011 in
Sections 2.12.4 to make the paper more self-contained.
The main contribution of this paper is the introduction
of biogeography-based hybridization strategies. This idea
has not been published before now. We have revised the
paper to emphasize the contribution in the abstract,
introduction (3rd paragraph), and conclusion (1st
paragraph).
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Return politeness for rudeness:
1. How do you expect me to evaluate the relevance
of these findings without a statistical analysis?
Response: Anyone with half a brain can see the
relevance of our data – you don’t need a f***ing
statistical analysis. (Moron.)
Response: We thank the reviewer for this
insightful comment. We have now performed a
student’s t-test to determine the significance of
differences between the experimental and
control groups. Our analysis shows that the pvalue is less than 0.05, indicating statistical
significance. This information has been added to
the Results section (pg. 12, paragraph 2, line 4).
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A Few Lessons:
• “Revise and resubmit,” or “Accept subject to
modifications,” is not the same as acceptance
• Do not take reviewers for granted –
appreciate them
• Just because the reviewer is wrong does not mean
that you are right
• Consider reviews (even rejections) as an
opportunity to improve your paper
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How to respond to peer reviews:
• Get mad, cry, and curse – then get over it
• Edit carefully and take your time, but be prompt
• Include the original comments and give point-by-point
responses (Review 1, Comment 1, etc.)
• Pay attention to detail
• Disagree if you must, but do so carefully – choose your
battles wisely
• Do not submit the same version to a different journal
• If reviewers contradict each other:
• Explain to both reviewers why you believe one of the suggestions
would be more effective in improving the paper
• Be prepared to shorten your paper – extra material can be
uploaded to a web page (yours or the journal’s)
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• What you want to say:
You don’t have a clue what we were trying to say.
• What you should say:
Thank you for your question. Some of the text was
ambiguous, and we have modified the text to be
more clear.
• What you want to say:
No one knows the answer to that question.
• What you should say:
Your question is important, and we have added
some discussion of it in the “future work” section
of the conclusion.
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• What you want to say:
The extra test that you suggest would take forever!
• What you should say:
The suggested test is interesting and would provide
important information about our algorithm. We
consider this test outside the scope of our study,
but we have added some discussion about it to the
“future work” section …
• What you want to say:
We’re not claiming that we proved anything – we’re
just presenting data to support a hypothesis!
• What you should say:
We agree that our statements were too definitive;
we have edited the text to soften our claims.
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• What you want to say:
Did you even read what we wrote?!?
• What you should say:
We have altered the text to be more clear.
• What you want to say:
You are SO picky about grammar and formatting!
• What you should say:
We appreciate the reviewer’s attention to detail,
and we have corrected the text as suggested.
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Acknowledgments:
• http://www.editage.com/insights/how-to-respond-tocomments-by-peer-reviewers
• http://expertedge.aje.com/wpcontent/uploads/downloads/2013/08/AJE-Responding-toReviewers.pdf
• http://www.clinchem.org/content/57/4/551.full
• http://www.biosciencewriters.com/Responding-toComments-from-Peer-Reviewers.aspx
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