Today sees the final set of notes from last week's session on 'getting published in journals'. Slides of all the presentations, together with a full set of this week's notes, are available on the Grants Factory & ECR Network SharePoint site.
Responding to Referees Comments
Before responding to referees, you have to keep in mind what you want to achieve, namely:
· To get published;
· To improve your paper;
· To defend your paper against changes that will weaken it.
The comments should be considered in light of these. Consider each of them, and decide whether making the suggested changes is crucial (i.e. the article will be rejected if you don’t), improving, or unnecessary. It may be the case that, once you receive the comments, you decide that the changes will irrevocably alter your intentions, and that you should instead try submitting it elsewhere.
In responding to the comments, you will submit three documents:
· The altered paper itself. You should try and make all the changes suggested, if you haven’t, explain why not in the letter (below);
· Your response, which lists the reviewers’ comments and your changes in light of them. This can be longer than the paper itself;
· A covering letter. This provides an opportunity to talk ‘off the record’ to the editor about any review that was particularly problematic.
You should always take advantage of advice and help that is available, either from colleagues within your School, or in other Schools/institutions that know the field. Never submit anything without having had some reviews internal, informal feedback first.
If you are uncertain about submitting to a certain journal, contact the editor. They will be able to advise:
· If your proposed paper will fit their journal;
· If your article will be published in time for the REF (including, importantly, whether the journal pre-publishes on line – this counts as ‘publication’ for REF purposes);
· During the review process, what you should do if any of the referee’s changes are difficult to meet.
Finally, don’t limit yourself to academic publications, but think more widely about how you can ‘mine’ your paper for different audiences. Whilst this might not help your academic profile, it will help you to meet the government’s impact agenda and may bring your research to the attention of important interested audiences, who might never find it in academic journals.