Revising and Resubmitting

RR graphic - no words.jpgRevising and Resubmitting

The following module discusses the process for revising and resubmitting your manuscript following feedback from the editor or publisher.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the process of revision and resubmission.
  • List tips for successful revision.
  • Understand the importance of the response letter and how to write an effective response.


It is great news when you hear back from the editor and you are invited to make revisions and resubmit the article. This means, of course, that your article has merit and was not rejected outright. However, it also means that in order to actually get it accepted and published, you still have work to do. Your revisions and response to the editor will determine whether or not that happens. If your paper was rejected outright, the comments from the editor and reviewers may be useful in improving your manuscript before you submit it to another journal. In fact, another journal may use one or more of the same reviewers so it is wise to heed the advice. At first glance, the revision process may seem a bit daunting. The following steps offer advice on how to break down that process and revise your manuscript.

  1. Begin by carefully reading the letter from the editor which will summarize the reviewers' feedback. Try to be objective and keep an open mind. The reviewers are experts in the field and their comments are designed to improve the quality of your final product. Do not view the comments as criticisms, but rather view them as advice that will ultimately help you be successful. Read all of the individual reviewer's comments and suggestions and then go through and mark them on your manuscript. If you were not rejected and you are being asked to make revisions, you must follow their suggestions. Keep in mind that the same reviewers may be looking at your manuscript when you send it back, therefore, you should not ignore referee comments. If you come across a comment or suggestion that you do not agree with, you may communicate that to the reviewers when you send it back. It may be that you need to re-write or further clarify a point in the manuscript to clear up a misconception or further explain a concept.
  2. As you work on the revisions, keep track of all the suggestions for revisions and the changes you have made in response to those suggestions. Creating a spreadsheet, a table, chart or other method to record revisions will facilitate the process and keep you organized. As you make a list of the suggestions, be sure to label each one so that you know where it came from. Creating a list is also helpful because more than one reviewer may comment on the same thing and this will assist you in arranging and organizing the comments. You should end up with the equivalent of an outline of the revisions you need to make.
  3. Make the revisions. Go through the list of suggestions you created and address each one. Be sure to keep track and record your revisions. This will be helpful in writing the response letter to the editor later.
  4. When you have made the necessary revisions, you then need to draft a letter to the editor that accompanies your manuscript when you return it. The letter should describe in detail how you addressed every comment from a reviewer. It should describe each revision or offer an explanation for any suggestions you disagreed with in their comments. The outline you created will be very helpful in this step and will ensure that you do not miss any revisions in your letter.
  5. It is important that you complete revision requests in a timely manner. Be sure to double-check your work and proofread carefully. Then re-submit!
  6. Once you submit the final piece and the revisions have been accepted, it is time to celebrate! However, you are not quite finished with the process. The paper will go into production and the copy editor will send you proofs that you will need to review for errors. The proof represents how your final product will appear in publication. Errors can even be introduced during the production process. Therefore, it is important that you review the proofs carefully. Once your paper has been accepted by the journal, it is appropriate to list it as "forthcoming" or "in press" on your CV while it is still in production.

The following YouTube video, Response to Reviewers for Resubmitting a Paper: Tips for Graduate Students, offers very practical tips and provides of example of regarding how to respond to reviewers and how to create a response letter.

Suggested Readings:

  • Belcher, W. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
  • Brookfield, S. D. (2011). Addressing feedback from reviewers and editors. In Rocco, T.S. and Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Calfee, R.C., & Valencia, R.R. (2001). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: APA
  • Day, R. A. (1998). How to write and publish scientific papers.
  • Devlin A. (2006) Research Methods. Thompson Wadsworth.
  • Spier, R. (2002). The history of the peer-review process.TRENDS in Biotechnology, 20(8), 357-358.

Resource Links

Revising the Manuscript for Publication - The following link discusses the feedback received from editors and how to revise your manuscript accordingly.

Revising a Manuscript: 10 Principles to Guide Success for Publication - This resources provides a more in depth discussion of the review process and offers tips for success.

What to do when your article is rejected - The following webpage focuses on rejection letters and offers advice for manuscript revision.

How to Respond to a Revise and Resubmit from an Academic Journal: Ten Steps to a Successful Revision - The following blog post offers ten steps to the revision process for your manuscript.

Revising After Review - Following is a link to a brief, concise resource that offers tips on the revision process with a focus on the response letter.

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