Academic common room
Substantial Revisions for Resubmission
Deianira · 07/12/2016 10:46
So I've just had my second piece back this year which has been tagged as a revise and resubmit. Overall I'm happy with that result (it's better than a rejection, and was aiming for a good journal!), but I'm struggling a little bit with how to actually do the revisions. For both pieces, the reviewers reports were quite brief (for this second piece, very brief), despite the fact that they've asked for the argument to be totally overhauled. I don't therefore have a lot to work with in terms of where to take it in the overhauling process. For the first piece, I resolved this issue by taking far too long over the revisions, until I had gained the distance to write a new (similar, but better) piece entirely, from which I jettisoned all the bits which were previously unpopular. That won't be an option with the second piece, because there's a much shorter time frame envisaged.
So, the question part - how do you normally go about working out what to do if asked for a major revision of the argument (I should perhaps say here that I am in the Humanities)? How do you start the actual process of changing your ideas, and coming up with a new argument? Are there any methods/exercises I could try, to start building up a better technique for this than just waiting until I've left enough time for my research to have changed by itself?
angstybaby · 07/12/2016 10:52
It's an RnR but they want you to completely overhaul your argument?! If they think your argument is poor then that's a reject but anyway...
I personally would do a minimal overhaul, which is more cosmetic than anything else, just to make the reviewers happy. The chances are that they won't re-read it, just the accompanying letter where you say what you've changed. If the reviewers can't be bothered to say what they'd actually like you to do then they can't be too annoyed that you weren't able to do it. If you're happy with the argument, keep it but say why in the letter.
You can also contact the journal and ask them to contact the reviewers for further elaboration.
DoctorGilbertson · 07/12/2016 19:24
Respond to the reviewers comments that were sent to you, but on the "overhaul your whole discussion" point I would generally "politely decline to write a different paper."
MedSchoolRat · 07/12/2016 20:13
What the other replies said, thoroughly address what Revs were specific about changing & stand your ground on the rest.
The only hesitation I have, saying that, is OP sounds like maybe they don't believe in what they wrote originally...?
Deianira · 16/12/2016 18:20
Sorry for posting and vanishing - I have had login issues!
Thanks all for your advice - lots of helpful suggestions here. In terms of overhauling - it was an argument which had 3 parts, and, as keeps happening to me lately, the reviewers liked 1 or 2 parts a lot, and hated the third (although of course they like/dislike different parts). So I think they envisage there being scope for a paper about the part they like, which would therefore be rather different, as it wouldn't include the bits they don't!
It's a helpful reminder 'though that I can change some bits but decline to change others - it will be helpful to keep that in mind as I go back to it. Sometimes it feels a little tricky to remember that when faced with the comments of a short, sharp review!
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