Not all reviewers provide comments in the same format, but many reviewers provide "major comments" followed by "minor comments". These two categories of comments might be preceded by the reviewers' summaries of the objective, methods, main results, and implications of your work.
Major comments: these usually concern the main scientific or academic content of the submitted manuscript
Minor comments: these usually concern presentational aspects, such as grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies, lack of relevant citations, and changes suggested for tables and figures
We suggest that you work through these four preparation stages for responding to the reviewers. You can skip stage 1 if the reviewer classified the comments as major and minor already.
- If the reviewer did not use the major/minor comments format, categorize each of the comments into major and minor categories to help you decide the importance of each of the comments—you do not need to refer to your categorization in your written response to the reviewers.
- Decide exactly which comments you agree with and will make, and which you disagree with and choose not to make.
- For each comment, note down how you (and your co-authors) will respond, who will do the work required, and who will draft the revised manuscript and response letter.
- Then it's simply (or sometimes, not so simply) a case of working through each of the major and minor comments in turn and revising your manuscript accordingly.
At this point, be sure to check the deadline for returning your revised paper. Some journal editors state this in their letter to you. Otherwise, you may have to check whether a deadline is stated in the guidelines for authors. For example, a 3-month (90-day) deadline might be given. Be sure to plan the work you must do, including the drafting of the letter (and any time for editing and translation of you revised paper and response letter), within this time frame. If at any stage you think that you won't be able to make the deadline stated for resubmission, be sure to tell the journal editor. We're happy to help you draft an appropriate letter requesting additional time for revision, and most editors are happy to grant an extension.