Strategies To Navigate Peer Review


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A concise step-by-step guide to navigate the peer-review process for publication in research journals.

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Strategies To Navigate Peer Review

  1. 1. Strategies to Navigate the Peer-Review Process How to approach disagreements with referees October 2010
  2. 2. <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Types of disagreements </li></ul><ul><li>Responding to Comments </li></ul><ul><li>Resubmission </li></ul>Strategies to Navigate the Peer-Review Process
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>The peer-review system (realizable in different ways) has become an indispensable element of scientific publishing. </li></ul><ul><li>Role of peer review </li></ul><ul><li>Intended to provide an unbiased appraisal of the importance and topical nature of the research work </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce/eliminate internal inconsistencies or spurious inferences </li></ul><ul><li>Improvements to the manuscript since authors are expected to gain from the wider and/or complementary experience of the referee </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Types of disagreements </li></ul><ul><li>Responding to Comments </li></ul><ul><li>Resubmission </li></ul>Strategies to Navigate the Peer-Review Process
  5. 5. Types of Disagreements - I <ul><li>The peer-review process, by its very nature, retains an element of subjectivity. No two opinions about a research article are exactly the same: accepting this natural divergence of opinions is the first step in addressing this process. </li></ul><ul><li>Broad types of disagreements </li></ul><ul><li>The author and reviewer may have some differences of opinion, which can be fixed through minor revisions to the manuscript </li></ul><ul><li>If the opinions differ significantly, then major revisions are necessitated </li></ul><ul><li>The quality of presentation/research may be found wanting or the reviewer may have major reservations about the conclusions </li></ul>
  6. 6. Types of Disagreements - II <ul><li>Based on the nature of disagreements, a referee may suggest different courses of action as outlined below </li></ul><ul><li>Cosmetic/minor changes to the manuscript to improve overall presentation, clarity and readability </li></ul><ul><li>Shortcomings which require to be addressed but are not crucial to the outcome or conclusions of the research </li></ul><ul><li>Major revisions due to substantial deficiencies in the research approach, methodology or conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Reviewer may suggest rejection of the article or publication in a different journal </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Types of disagreements </li></ul><ul><li>Responding to Comments </li></ul><ul><li>Resubmission </li></ul>Strategies to Navigate the Peer-Review Process
  8. 8. Responding to Comments - I <ul><li>The following courses of action are recommended to authors </li></ul><ul><li>Minor revisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implement suggestions as pointed out by the referee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List these separately in chronological order </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In case of any deviations, justify these succinctly </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Major revisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scrutinize and critically assess the recommendations of the referee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Implement these, if in agreement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Otherwise, provide adequate, additional supporting evidence and arguments </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Responding to Comments - II <ul><li>Rejection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examine and analyze the arguments of the referee . Discuss with co-authors, peers and possibly other experts to determine whether rejection is warranted </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Due to non-conformity with journal scope : examine merits of argument and resubmit to a more suitable journal, if appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deficiencies in quality : Implement improvements in areas suggested by referee and make a case for acceptance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In case of difference of opinion with referee, provide logical arguments , with supporting evidence , about the methods and inferences in the paper </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Types of disagreements </li></ul><ul><li>Responding to Comments </li></ul><ul><li>Resubmission </li></ul>Strategies to Navigate the Peer-Review Process
  11. 11. Resubmission <ul><li>The following procedure may be adopted for resubmitting a manuscript </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare a detailed response/rebuttal to every point made by the reviewer </li></ul><ul><li>Make necessary changes to the manuscript </li></ul><ul><li>List the responses and changes to the manuscript in a cover letter </li></ul><ul><li>If the situation demands, draft a separate letter to the editor (not to be seen by the referee), to address various issues relating to the referee or comments </li></ul><ul><li>In case of rejection, request different referee/s , citing appropriate reasons. If all else fails, an appeal may be made to the editorial board of the journal. The chances of success will usually be low and publication of the article delayed. </li></ul>
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