Tips to Move from “Revisions Needed” to Resubmission

As an author, you may struggle when you receive a decision letter that requires revisions to your manuscript. Where do you start? How do you address everything the reviewers have asked? How do you organize your changes and convey them to the journal’s editors?

This week, we’ll be sharing tips for addressing reviewer comments. Each day we’ll offer suggestions, from the literature, longtime Academic Medicine authors, editorial board members, and the editorial staff, to help you navigate this challenging (but exciting!) part of the publication process. Be sure to check back each day for new content. You can read the other posts in the series here.

Today, we start with tips from the literature that frame the revisions process as an opportunity to transform and improve your manuscript, rather than as an insurmountable obstacle.

Prepare Yourself for Feedback

  • Expect revisions! Even excellent manuscripts require (and benefit from) revisions.
  • Engage the peer-review process by having colleagues review the revised manuscript prior to submission.

Revise Your Paper Based on the Feedback You Received

  • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a suggestion.
  • Address every comment in the revision unless the editor instructs otherwise.
  • Do your best to respond; if appropriate, consider stating the concern as a limitation.
  • Throughout, follow the advice of resources in the literature.
  • Be professional and tactful in your reply.
  • Be timely in responding; early is better than late.
  • Make changes easy to follow:
    • Edit using the track-changes function.
    • Provide a table organized by requested changes, revisions (location), and explanations.
    • Reread the manuscript to ensure the whole text holds together post revisions.

These tips are taken from Meyer HS, Carline J, Durning SJ. Ten tips to move from “revisions needed” to resubmission. Acad Med. 2016;91:e15. 

Check back tomorrow for more on addressing reviewer comments, including advice from longtime Academic Medicine authors based on how they tackle the revisions process. You can read the other posts in this series here.