Scientific Communication for Natural Resource Professionals

Chapter 10: Responding to Peer Review and Editor’s Comments

Harold L. Schramm, Jr. and Leandro E. Miranda


Your manuscript has been completed and submitted with the intent of sharing the findings with the scientific and management community. Sooner or later the editor’s evaluation will arrive, along with a decision about whether the manuscript was accepted or rejected. In either case, more work will likely be needed. Most often, you will face a number of criticisms identified by reviewers and editors to which you must respond to get your manuscript published. What you do and how you respond may be critical to whether your manuscript is published. Mishandling this step may mean that you will have to restart the submission process with another journal or worse, fail to get your work published.

Much guidance is available about how to prepare manuscripts (e.g., Day and Gastel 2006; Mathews and Mathews 2008; see Chapter 3), and journal Web sites generally give helpful guidance about the type of manuscript that is suitable for submission as well as instructions on how to prepare manuscripts for submission. However, there is very little guidance about how to prepare a revision and reply to reviewers and editors. This chapter is about the steps in the publication process that follow peer review and the editor’s initial decision about the fate of your manuscript. The information that follows pertains equally to journals that have single or multiple editors or journals that rely on editors and associate editors. We use the term “editor” to represent the person or persons who shepherds your manuscript through the publication process and ultimately makes the decision about whether or not your manuscript will be published in the journal. Our commentary is based on more than a half century of collective experience as authors and reviewers plus stints as associate editors and editors of fishery journals. Our intent is to help authors prepare a publishable revision.