Responding to the Revise and Resubmit

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What do you do when you get a revise and resubmit from a journal?

How do you turn it into an accept in the next round of reviews? Every single journal article I ever submitted got a revise and resubmit. (One of which was eventually outright rejected, but all of the rest I turned into an accept. The rejected manuscript was also published, in a different journal.)

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to give yourself time to react to the R&R. I was always unable to take in the feedback at first, even if it was mostly positive. In most cases, the reviewer comments improved my paper - its structure, its arguments, its data. But it never felt like that would be the case initially. A week or so after getting an R&R, it should be much easier to absorb the reviews, as you will likely have more emotional distance.

The second piece of advice I have is to start with the small stuff. Immediately fix the typos and the little tweaks you can make without drastically changing the paper. It will make you feel more confident about tackling the bigger changes later. The remaining comments can be added to the paper as comments (or as a list of to-dos in a separate document or piece of paper). Prioritize these changes - what needs to be done first, what will take the most time, etc.

Give yourself time to react, respond, and (re)develop the paper.

By this point, the reviewer’s comments should seem helpful to you. If there are any comments that are unhelpful, or request changes that you know will damage the paper, make a note so that in your response to the R&R you can address them. These unhelpful comments will only become clear after you’ve started tackling the good, helpful comments (as they will all seem unhelpful at first). Truly bad comments should not make it past the editor, but often, they do. In that case, the only thing you can do is to explain clearly and calmly why the comments will not help you improve your paper … or consider taking the paper elsewhere.

Do not let the paper languish for too long, or you might give up on it. Remember that you had a reason for writing it, and it might help someone in the future develop their own research down the line. Your paper deserves to be read!


Need help with a revise & resubmit? Quick Brown Fox can help you get that paper out the door. Contact us at quickbrownfoxconsulting@gmail.com or (480)-359-7485.

Carrie Gillon