Responding to reviewers

For our January meeting we were pleased to welcome Dr Carolyn Tarrant from the University of Leicester.   Carolyn is Associate Professor in Health Psychology, and a member of the SAPPHIRE research group within the Department of Health Sciences.

Here is the third post about the meeting.  Here are Carolyn’s slides. 

How do you respond to reviewers?

Consider creating a table, so you can give your responses in a structured way and demonstrate clearly that you have addressed each concern.   Explain what you have added or taken away from your draft.

You can consider a “rebuttal” if you feel that you have already addressed the reviewer’s concern, or that the concern is in some way not valid.   You must, of course, justify your arguments and not just dismiss the concern!

Your revised draft will be sent for review again, and you may get further comments from reviewers.

The editor, or associate editor, can at any point in the submission process, reject your paper.

If your paper has many co-authors, make sure you know whose responsibility it is make sure that reviewers’ comments are addressed, and who it is that will send those comments back.

We are grateful to Carolyn for coming to speak at the Writing Club.

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How to get your paper rejected

For our January meeting we were pleased to welcome Dr Carolyn Tarrant from the University of Leicester.   Carolyn is Associate Professor in Health Psychology, and a member of the SAPPHIRE research group within the Department of Health Sciences.

Here is the first post about the meeting.    Here are Carolyn’s slides.

She is also an associate editor for BMJ Quality and Safety and the Journal of Hospital Infection and spoke from her experience on easy ways to get your paper rejected:

  • Choose the wrong journal
  • Have no clear aims, or have aims and then don’t address them
  • Not making your contribution to the literature clear
  • Not citing relevant literature
  • Sending an unpolished draft, for example lacking information about methods, full of speling erors or badly structured
  • Not addressing concerns of reviewers.

She also mentioned the importance of having an academic writing style, and of addressing the requirements of the journal with regard to structure, word count, referencing style.

How do you know when you are ready to submit your paper?    Probably not when you think you are: give your draft at least one more look.  It is also worth getting a neutral colleague (that is, one who did not help write the paper, or someone from outside the subject area) for feedback.

We are grateful to Carolyn for coming to speak at the Writing Club.

February’s Writing Club – Peer review

February’s meeting was an informal peer review session.   Participants were encouraged to bring something they had written, which was then read for comment by another participant.

Keith Nockels from the Clinical Librarian Service facilitated this informal peer review by providing a checklist of things to look for, but participants did all the peer reviewing.   It was good to see writers providing personalised and positive feedback to other writers.

We also talked about the ethics of peer reviewing, if you are reviewing for a journal.   What to do if you suspect fraud or bad practice, and guarding against using information or insights from the paper you are reviewing, were two of the issues.

Some useful resources about peer review:

We also talked about language and style.   Watch for another posting about that.

Watch for the next informal peer review session, something we plan to do again.