This page will be updated (when I get time), so pls check back when you come to use the stuff here.
Two sections: 1. For authors, 2. For reviewers Both authors and reviewers should read both sections. This page is revised from time to time.
1. For authors
The more closely you follow the Writing Tips, and take into consideration the ms evaluation criteria (below), the greater the chance of your article being accepted. In similar vein, the more you incorporate the suggestions made by the reviewers, the greater the likelihood it has of being published.
You should also remember that reviewers' work often goes largely unsung, without public recognition -- only the most enlightened universities fully recognize the invaluable work done by reviewers. Reviewers' main satisfaction comes from seeing authors revise their articles well.
Reviewers generally put much effort and time into their evaluations; they try to be encouraging, concrete and specific. Another of their main concerns is the quality of the journal, which derives essentially from the quality of your article.
Sometimes reviewers may seem rather harsh. However it is wise to keep in mind that they do put in much time and effort, first to read your article, second the think about how it might be improved, third to write a commentary that will help you, the author, to improve. Be grateful for reviewers' help.
In revising your article, therefore, it is in the interest of everyone to follow the advice of the reviewers and editor as far as possible. The prime objective is to improve the quality of your article (and ultimately that of the journal). You will not wish to have an article of yours published that is not of the highest quality possible.
However, less academic and more relational issues are also at stake. One of these is respect for the hard work that the reviewers have put into supplying you with help, help from which you, not they, will benefit. Thus. if you chose not to follow their suggestions, then you need to justify this in the subsequent version - see below for valuable advice:
If you have been pleased with reviewers' help, make a point of expressing this in the acknowledgements at the end of your final version. If your reviewer was first 'blind' and then became 'coaching', then you may express this something the lines of: "grateful to NN, first as blind reviewer, and then as coaching reviewer".
Revising & resubmitting Reproduced from a blog page by Tanya Golash-Boza, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Merced, USA.
Original page: http://getalifephd.blogspot.fr/2011/03/how-to-respond-to-revise-and-resubmit.html How to Respond to a “Revise and Resubmit” from an Academic Journal: Ten Steps to a Successful Revision.
When I submit an article to a top journal, often the best possible outcome I can hope for is that the editors will invite me to respond to the reviewers’ comments and resubmit the article. At this point, I have successfully completed five requests to revise extensively and resubmit. Over time, I have developed a straightforward approach to these requests. In this blog post, I will describe my method in ten easy-to-follow steps.
Step One: Read the Letter. Read the letter from the editor carefully and make sure you indeed have a request for a revise and resubmit. Other possible responses from the editor include: 1) Reject without an invitation to re-submit; 2) Conditional acceptance, where you are asked to make minor changes; and 3) Outright acceptance, where changes are not required, but might be suggested. If you are unsure, you may make an inquiry to the editor or ask a more experienced colleague to read the letter for you.
Step Two: Create an Excel File to List the Revisions. Create an Excel file with four columns in which to put the suggestions for revisions. I open a blank Excel file, and create four columns. I label the columns as follows: “Reviewer”; “Suggestions”; “Response”; “Done?”. If you widen the columns and wrap the text, that makes it much more readable, especially for the middle two columns.
Step Three: Extract the suggestions from the reviewers' and editors' letters. Read the reviews to extract the suggestions for revision and put the suggestions in the Excel file. This step requires the painful and painstaking process of closely reading the reviews and extracting all of the useful suggestions. On some occasions, the reviews can contain useful information, but not relay the information in a congenial fashion. The beauty of this step is that you can rewrite the suggestions and not have to look at the mean-spirited reviews again. For example, the reviewer might write: “One major problem with this article is that the research methods are suspect.” You can re-write this as: “Provide a more accurate and complete discussion of the data collection.” Be sure to label each suggestion according to where it comes from: Reviewer One, Two, or Three, or the editor.
Step Four: Re-arrange the suggestions for revision in a logical fashion. Oftentimes, two reviewers will both mention in different ways that you need to build up the conceptual framework or the literature review. If you group all of the literature review suggestions together, it will be easier to tackle the revision systematically. Be sure you have labeled each suggestion according to where it came from, in order to facilitate this process. Organizing all of the suggestions for the Introduction, the Literature Review, the data analysis, etc., will make it easier to respond to the reviews.
Step Five: Decide how you will respond to all of the suggestions. If the suggestion is to more clearly define the difference between “transnational” and “transborder,” then you can write: “Add one paragraph to the conceptual framework that clearly explains the difference between transnational and transborder, and why this distinction is useful.” Be sure that the suggestions you lay out for yourself make it clear what the next step is. Note: You must respond to all of the suggestions. There may be some suggestions that you disagree with. This is fine, but you have to make a conscious decision not to respond to any particular suggestion. For example, the reviewer might suggest that you return to the archive to explore more biographical features of a certain person. You can respond that this step is not necessary for your argument. Place all of your instructions to yourself for how you will respond in the third column.
Step Six: Tackle your revision plan, step by step. Now that you have made a clear plan for revision by outlining all of the reviewers’ suggestions and have decided how you will respond, you can tackle the revisions one by one. If you feel intimidated, start with the easiest ones. Usually, the easy ones will be something along the lines of: “Find and add a quote from Diana’s interview that elucidates how subjects talk about discrimination.” Even easier: “Add citation from Stephens (2009) about transnationalism from below.”
Step Seven: Use your Excel file to write the memo to the editor. You should not send the editor your Excel file. Instead, you can use your Excel file to write a neat, comprehensive, and well-formatted response memo to the editor. Here is an example from a memo to the editor: Reviewer One suggested that I engage the literature at a deeper level to get the most out of the data. I have included a more in-depth analysis of transnationalism into my data analysis section.
Step Eight: Double-check. Go back to the original reviews, and double-check to make sure that you have not missed anything. Go through each critique, and double-check your memo to the editor to make sure you have addressed each critique and have explained how you have responded to the editor.
Step Nine: Do a final read-over. Read over your article to make sure that you have maintained the flow and argument of your paper even after having made the revisions. Read it without thinking about the reviews, but imagine a reader who is unaware of your original article or of the letter from the reviewers, as that reader is now your intended audience.
Step Ten: Re-submit! Send the revised article and the revision memo back to the journal editor!
Reviewers' aphorism = Provide help and solutions; do not chew up authors on weaknesses (content or form).
Please include this table at the start of your evaluation. My level of confidence in the topic, the method, the type of learning activity, sustainability (incl CC), the literature, and other things needed to provide a useful review: Low ____ Medium ___ High ___ Very high ___
For the items below, Please use N°s 0, 11 or 222 below 0. Low, unacceptable, poor 11. Fair, average, acceptable 222. High, good, excellent
__ A. Consistent with the scope of the special issue = nexus of learning and sustainability
__ B. Furthers our general understanding of 'learning sustainability', and/or provides insight into (a) specific aspect(s) of 'learning sustainability' __ C. Aims of article clearly stated & fully achieved, with logical structure __ D. Literature review (on learning & on sustainability) __ E. Illustrates best or good practice and/or provides strong links between practice and theory
__ F. Quality of ideas, logic, objectivity, balance, sensitivity, empathy, ... __ G. Quality of data (for data-based articles) __ H. Quality of method __ I. Technical aspects, esp stats __ J. Quality of discussion
__ K. Reliability of results; validity of conclusions __ L. Organization of contents __ M. Overall coherence __ N. Overall clarity, concepts, logic
__ P. Quality & clarity of visuals __ Q. Significance of contribution to profession or to the field
* Quality of writing is crucial. It can make the difference between an article being accept or rejected; if accepted, the difference between getting cited and being ignored. An article with run-of-the-mill content, but written clearly and communicatively (taking into account these writing tips), will tend to be cited more than a poorly written article with great content. (That is not a reflection on the writer, but on the nature of human/social attention!)
Guidelines for writing reviews (to be revised) For papers we accept, your review is needed by the author to revise his/her paper to bring it in line with the high standards we require for the journal. This will help to maintain (and even increase) the quality and prestige of the journal that we serve and with which we are associated. Generally a review of 100 to 600 words should cover the main points.
It would be useful to provide all your substantive commentary (concerning content, method, logic, results, ideas, etc.) together. This may be followed by any general formal points (about grammar, presentation, style, etc.). In most cases, substantive commentary is more important than formal points, especially if the article is likely to need extensive revision. If formal things (grammar, expression, etc) is not at native speaker level throughout, then it is sufficient to make a strong, but general, statement indicating that this needs to be done (preferably by a professional copy editor). No need to point out each problem; that is not your job.
If it is a research paper, please comment (where appropriate) on: statement of research problem/aims, review of previous research, description of study, data collection procedure, appropriacy & validity of instrumentation, data analysis, conclusions drawn, implications/recommendations, clarity & suitability of statistical tables.
If it is a theoretical, conceptual, descriptive or review paper, please comment (where appropriate) on: statement of problem/aims, literature review, ideas/concepts, originality, argumentation/ reasoning, overall coherence of framework/description, validity of hidden/underlying assumptions, conclusions, implications/ recommendations.
If a paper is acceptable, but needs revision, it is vital to spell out suggestions or requirements regarding such revision, accompanied by some words of encouragement. It is more helpful to an author to get comments on how to improve the paper than comments simply on what is wrong with the paper. It is legitimate to point out weak aspects of an article, but such comments need to be followed with positive suggestions. Making constructive comments will result in better papers. If you are enthusiastic about the manuscript or about aspects of it, please convey this as well; I know of no author who is not pleased to receive well-earned compliments.
[If it is relevant and will improve the article, please also comment on the debriefing (or similar) aspects/actions. If debriefing is an important aspect, and the article does not deal with it appropriately, then indicate what the author must do. Some articles will not require discussion on debriefing, but may have benefited. In this case, the authorship can mention this in their shortcomings section.]
For ms that we reject, it is still important for us to supply feedback, even if only as a mark of respect and of acknowledgement that the author has considered the journal.