How to Handle Reviewer Comments

An all-too-common scenario in science occurs when you've submitted your manuscript, got it sent out for review, and it comes back, rejected and with a slew of reviewer comments. What do you do? First, you need to fight back the natural inclination to become defensive. The majority of the time the reviewers are trying to help, even though their comments may seem harsh. But practically speaking, how do you handle these comments and what is expected of you? Here is what you need to do:

1) Address every concern brought up by a reviewer

The easiest way to do this is to separate out all of their comments in a Word file and go through each one. The reviewer will know if any of their comments are skipped, so respond to everything.

2) DO NOT feel the need to follow every single suggestion

Just because a reviewer thinks that something is wrong or that you need to do X additional experiment, make sure that you agree with what they are saying. If, however, you do not feel the need to follow the directive from the reviewer you still need to address that fact in your response to the reviewers.

3) Be cordial

As I said in the beginning, you must fight back the urge to get defensive. Be cordial in your responses to the comments and thank them for their constructive feedback. If you disagree with a comment, kindly indicate why you feel this way and why you have neglected to follow their advice.

If you follow these three things, you are sure to put your best foot forward in getting your manuscript published. Just remember to take the reviewers comments as a way to polish your work and make it the best it can be!

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