Peer Review -- Replying to Reviewers' Comments II

J. Patrick Barron

16 June 1999

Different scenarios were discussed using authentic examples of letters sent by different journals to authors, and the replies to these by the authors.

Examples were given of OK signs ("... has been reviewed favorably and is returned to you for minor revision"), danger signs ("... there is substantial criticism"), and signs of rejection ("its priority is not sufficiently high for publication in ...", "... should you wish to submit the paper to another journal").

One of the main points of the presentation was the importance of responding in such a way that the paper can be accepted without being sent back to the reviewers. If a well-educated member of the clerical staff can determine whether the reviewers' criticisms have been met, most journals prefer not bothering the reviewers again. The following can be effective in achieving this.

Finally, the tendency by some reviewers to criticize the English of papers submitted by non-native authors, even if edited by native English speakers, was addressed. "We reconsulted our English reviewer" is a simple and effective reponse to such comment.

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