Revise After Rejection

This mantra, provided by all good science supervisor types including my mentors, cannot be repeated too often.

There are some caveats, of course. Sometimes, for example, when the reviewer wants you to temper your justifiable interpretive claims or Discussion points that interest you.

It's the sort of thing you only need to do as a response to review when it has a chance of acceptance.

Outrageous claims that are going to be bait for any reviewer? Sure, back those down.

17 responses so far

  • potnia theron says:

    Even if you've got some of those caveats working, you can still fire-proof your paper in advance. Add justification. It will by and large make it stronger in the long run.

  • Ola says:

    Fuk dat shit
    Send it to Frontiers

  • Kix says:

    I once reviewed twice the same paper for two different journals. For the second submission (one day after first rejection), the authors had not changed a single word from their manuscripts despite my many criticisms (Some of them were easily addressable). My second review was "given that the authors did not change a single word from their manuscript, I will not change a single word from my review" and I copy-pasted my review from the other journals. That paper ended up unchanged in a non-peer-review open access journal.

  • Newbie PI says:

    I mostly agree with this. But, reviewers should also modify their reviews based on the journal. Maybe you required in vivo mechanistic data when you reviewed the paper for Nature, but don't be such a dick when you're reviewing the same paper for J of Yourfavoritefield.

  • AnonNeuro says:

    "My second review was "given that the authors did not change a single word from their manuscript, I will not change a single word from my review" and I copy-pasted my review from the other journals."

    I can't tell if you actually included your quoted phrase in the second review, but wouldn't a statement like that be a breach of confidentiality? My understanding is that telling an editor you've already reviewed a paper is a no-no.

  • potnia theron says:

    But I *want* to be a dick.

  • Dave says:

    Going through this right now. Reviewer killed our (primarily) cellular paper based on dose comparisons to human in vivo studies. Totally made incorrect assumptions about how a drug dose in vitro correlates to that used in vivo (and vice versa) etc. Nothing we can do about that except load the revision with fucking boring PK data/refs showing that his/her assumptions were off base, and hope for a different reviewer and more reasonable editors.

    Second reviewer said we should validate our findings in baboons or.......pigs.....since pigs are more readily available, of course. FML!

    A lot of this is on me, however, as clearly we targeted the wrong journal.

  • Philapodia says:

    I've always wanted to tell reviewers who ask for these types of experiments to send me a check to pay for the additional supplies/instrument time/salaries/animals/overhead when they want to see these types of "extra" experiments. Science ain't cheap, but opinions are.

  • MorganPhD says:

    I just decline to review a paper I've already seen at another journal. I'm not the only expert in the world who can look at that paper. I've made my opinion known already in my first review.

  • DJMH says:

    My understanding is that telling an editor you've already reviewed a paper is a no-no.

    Why would that be a no-no? Editors get told this all the time, either in the context of "so I won't review it again" or "and I'd be happy to review it again."

  • qaz says:

    This comment thread has focused on the negative, but doing the d*mn revision can be a positive. I've been on both sides (reviewer and reviewee) where the paper was revised based on the comments from a rejection and got accepted to a new journal by a referee who said "I'm going to treat this as a revision because I saw it once before and they've addressed all of the issues I raised."

  • AnonNeuro says:

    "Why would that be a no-no? Editors get told this all the time, either in the context of "so I won't review it again" or "and I'd be happy to review it again.""

    Reviews are confidential, so I don't think you can share that information. Saying "I'll review it again" is the same as saying "I have insider knowledge that this paper was rejected elsewhere". Better to decline the review due to conflict.

  • Laffer says:

    Maybe I don't review at the rest of your levels, but I don't see how what journal a paper has been submitted to should affect my review. Maybe we should have triple blind review, no one knows the author, the reviewer, or the journal. That would certainly clean up some of the glamour-humping.

  • Grumble says:

    "Maybe we should have triple blind review, no one knows the author, the reviewer, or the journal. "

    Right. The authors should also be blinded as to the journal. You just send your paper to The Reviewing Consortium, where blinded reviewers evaluate it, and then another group blinded reviewers decides, based on the blinded evaluations and the paper, which journal to publish it in. And the decision would be final, no appeals. That would save everyone's time: instead of sending it to Science and then Nature and then Cell and then PNAS and then J Neurosci etc etc, you just accept what you get.

  • A Salty Scientist says:

    @Laffer: Totally agree. If a paper has made it past the glamour gatekeepers to be sent out for review, I only look at whether the science is sound and conclusions well supported. I won't ask for more experiments to make it humpier.

  • genomicrepairman says:

    @Laffer: But are the gatekeepers blinded to prevent pro-BSD glamfam bias? Quadruple-blinded #circlejerk continues

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