Research Creative   My Account   Submit My Manuscript
Letpub, Scientific Editing Services, Manuscript Editing Service
Career Assets

Drafting an Effective Journal Response Letter


Nathan Boutin, Associate Editor

September 2022

You have done the hard parts. The research is complete, the manuscript is written, and you are eagerly awaiting the results of peer review. There is a new email in your inbox from the journal editor. After a few minutes of apprehension, you open it. Good news! The paper is still under consideration for publication—but only if revisions are made.

Many authors find themselves in this situation. Publication is close, and they need to revise the paper to the satisfaction of the reviewers. If you have never written a response letter before, the pressure is on to impress.

The response letter takes on a basic format. We have provided a template for a response letter (download button at end of article) as well as some quick tips to ensure that your letter is the best it can be below.

1. Use the editor’s proper title and name. Avoid using phrases like “Dear editor.” If you know the editor’s name, use it. This shows respect and care for the person behind the screen. Avoid using “Mr./Ms./Mrs.” unless the person with whom you are corresponding specifically prefers one of those honorifics.

2. Thank the editor and reviewers for their time. Peer review is a necessary but lengthy process, so a few thanks to all involved can go a long way to show appreciation for the service being done. Do not get too gushy, though. Keep your thanks simple and straightforward.

3. Include the manuscript name and ID. It is easy to assume that the editors will know your paper when they receive your response letter, but editors deal with a lot of papers during their workday. Including an ID specifically will help them find your paper in their submission software.

4. Provide point-by-point responses. This is the most common way to respond to comments, as it shows that the authors have read and addressed each of the reviewers’ comments. Copy and paste the reviewers’ comments and respond accordingly below each one. Do not edit the reviewers’ writing. This can be seen as disrespectful, so avoid modifying their writing even if there are mistakes. Instead, focus on making your writing the best it can be.

5. Categorize the comments. There are many ways to organize your responses. If the reviewers used major/minor issues, it may be suitable to respond to the major issues of each reviewer first and then follow up with the minor issues. Alternatively, you can respond to each reviewer separately, which is a common tactic.

6. Do not be afraid to disagree. It is natural to be agreeable when responding to reviewers. However, it is important to maintain the integrity of your research, so remember to speak up when you disagree with a certain point. Of course, be polite and succinctly outline why the proposed changes might not be appropriate for your paper.

7. Highlight the changes in your paper. Highlighting revised text will make the reviewers’ job much easier, as they will be able to find the changes quickly. Adding in page and line numbers is recommended after each response. You can also copy and paste the relevant sections into your response letter.

Response Letter Template

 Previous Article Next Article 

© 2010-2023  ACCDON LLC 400 5th Ave, Suite 530, Waltham, MA 02451, USA
PrivacyTerms of Service