3.Revise and resubmit an article
An improper proposal is necessarily false, but a correct proposal is not necessarily true.
The revision is an essential but often neglected step in the development of an article. An article without typos, well structured and easy to understand has a better chance of being accepted and subsequently cited in other articles. Often, the revision of an article is made ??in two stages. We start by first reviewing the content of an article, then revising its style.
3.1. Content ReviewView section
To identify gaps and potential improvements to the content of the article, we can ask the following questions:
- Is the title accurate, succinct and interesting?
- Are keywords standard and indexable?
- Does the abstract put forth the originality of the work? Is it a good summary of the different parts of the article?
- Doe the introduction motivate well the work? Does it clearly state the contributions, assumptions and research questions? Is the plan of the paper presented?
- Is the methodology sufficiently detailed to replicate the work and its results?
- Is the presentation of the results structured and linked to the objectives and research questions? Is it easy to check and compare the results? Does the text of the article agree with these results?
- Can you delete a table or figure without affecting the understanding of the paper? Is it better to present a table in the form of a graph or vice versa? Are all tables and figures cited in the text? Does the caption enable to understand the figures and tables without having to read the main text?
- Does the discussion and conclusion interpret correctly the results? Will the results help answer the research questions? Are the results are statistically significant?
- Are all references cited in the text? Does the paper miss some essential references? Can we remove some?
- Is the length of the article adequate? Are some informations unnecessarily repeated in several places?
- Are all pages numbered?
3.2. Revision of styleView section
Once satisfied with the content of the article, we will then focus to revise its style. This review stage is also very important because it helps make the article more interesting to read and easier to understand. The following modifications are to be considered at this stage :
- Remove unnecessary words or sentences.
- Cut long sentences into shorter sentences.
- When it is desirable, reformulate the sentences using the passive voice (e.g., “It was observed that”) to ensure they are in active voice (e.g., “We observed that”). Use the personal pronoun “we” if necessary.
- Replace unnecessarily complex expressions (e.g., “has the ability to”) by simpler forms (e.g., “can”).
- Make sure each sentence has a subject and a verb and the verb conjugation is consistent with the subject.
- Rewrite the sentences ending with a preposition (e.g., “with”, “by”, “for”, etc.).
- Use the past tense to describe the work performed. The present tense can be used for general statements (e.g., “Anomaly detection is a complex task…”).
- Set the action in the verb instead of the subject (e.g., “We measured the performance instead of “Measurements of the performance were made”).
- Replace the complex noun phrases (e.g., “sparse model parameter learning”) by less ambiguous forms (e.g., “learning the parameters of the sparse model”).
- Avoid abbreviations unless they are commonly used.
- Avoid words referring to a specific gender (e.g., “The user then selects” instead of “He then selects”).
- Do not mix American (e.g., “behavior”) and British (e.g., “behaviour”) spellings in the text.
For more information on this aspect of writing, refer to Style Guide.
3.3. Resubmission of the articleView section
After several weeks or months of waiting after the submission of your article, you will receive a letter (usually an email) informing you that the assessment process is complete and giving you the decision of the editor. If you submitted to a conference, your article will generally be accepted without modification or refused. However, if you have submitted your article to a journal, several scenarios are possible and it is rare that an article is accepted for publication in a journal without modification. This means that in most cases you will have to revise your article. To do this, follow these several steps:
Read the letter from the editor
The letter from the editor will inform you of its decision concerning your article. The three most common scenarios are:
- Scenario 1 : Your article is conditionally accepted with minor revisions;
- Scenario 2 : You are suggested to submit a new version of your article after major revisions;
- Scenario 3 : Your article is refused.
In the first two cases, you will have to submit a revised version of your article to the same journal with a letter directly addressing the reviewers’ comments describing changes to the article. If you are requested major revisions, it is likely that the article will be returned to the reviewers to assess that the changes address well their criticism. If the requested revisions are minor, it may happen that the article is re-evaluated by the editor, but sometimes it is reviewed by the reviewers. In all cases, you must take account of this possibility.
In the third case, your article is refused. You must read the comments of the reviewers to understand why. In many cases, it is possible and even desirable to revise the article for submission to a different journal.
Read the reviewers’ comments
Whatever the decision of the editor, it is important to read and understand the content of the reviewers’ comments, especially if you want to revise the article. If they did a thorough job, you will have the chance to have a numbered list of comments, criticisms and suggestions that will help you to clearly identify the revisions you have to do. Often, one or more reports of evaluators are not well structured and are presented as one or more large paragraphs. In this case, you must break down these paragraphs into numbered list of comments, criticisms and suggestions which you will answer. To do this, divide the paragraphs of the report into several parts according to the comments that you consider most important.
While compiling the list of comments, you will probably find that the content of some of these comments is shared by two or more reviewers, and many of the comments relate to the same part or the same aspect of your work. For example, a first reviewer may have found that your literature review was not complete and did not make sufficient reference to relevant articles from a related but different from your domain. A second reviewer may suggest relevant specific articles you have not cited in the literature review and, in another suggestion, criticize the fact that you have not very well identified what differentiates your work from that of another research group. To make your life easier, prepare a list of tasks where each task correspond to such a group of similar or related comments. For each task (grouping of comments your list), you will then need to identify the best way to react. You basically have two choices:
- Choice 1 : Apply the changes suggested by the reviewers
- Choice 2 : Do not make any changes and justify your decision
You should opt for the first choice to answers the majority of the comments. You have to consider that most of the comments and criticisms you receive are legitimate and deserve a response and appropriate changes to the article. You should identify how best to respond to these comments and criticisms. It may occasionally happen that a comment or review results from a misunderstanding of the evaluator, or the changes required to respond to criticism too far exceeds the scope of your research. In these cases, the second choice (do not make any changes) may be justified, but you must prepare your arguments.
Revise the article and prepare the resubmission
If you have the opportunity, you usually submit your revised article in the same journal in which it was reviewed. In this case, you have two major documents to write:
- The revised version of your article, which must take into account the comments of the evaluators;
- A response letter to the evaluators documenting the changes made.
If your article has been rejected, you perhaps re-submit your revised article to another journal. In this case, it is obvious that only the revised version of the article is required. The revised version of your article include all the changes that you deemed necessary to properly respond to comments and criticisms of evaluators. Among the frequently requested modifications ??are:
- Adding explanations (a paragraph or two) that were missing in the original version;
- Adding references (and discussing these references) in the literature review;
- Changing the way the results are presented;
- Adding new experimental results that answer a question of a reviewer;
- Correcting errors in the description of the methodology (for example, incorrect equations);
- Re-expressing the main contributions of the article when they do not seem to have been understood by the evaluators;
- Eliminating (or put in appendice) a section deemed irrelevant or uninteresting by reviewers or the editor ;
- Shortening the article in its entirety (it sometimes will reduce the length of a few pages, and sometimes even reduce a long article to a “short communication” of 3 or 4 pages) ;
These changes may require a significant investment of time, but it is essential to implement them with rigor, even if it makes you cringe. If the evaluators bothered to accurately identify a list of weaknesses in the article is that the article probably has some potential and just tackle this list of weaknesses with the same precision as the reviewers. In the case of a resubmission to the same journal, the article will be reviewed by the same evaluators, so it is in your interest to meet their requirements to the extent possible. Even if you submit a revised version to a different journal, there is a good chance that you will come across at least one of the evaluators of the original article, especially if your area does not have many researchers. In any case, you benefit from the best possible response to the comments received : your article will be better and have a better chance of being accepted at the re-submission.
If you re-submit the article to the same journal, the response letter to the evaluators is an extremely important document and deserves as much attention as the revision of the article itself. This letter is generally structured as follows:
- A brief thanks to the reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments.
- For each evaluation report (from each reviewer), a numbered list of comments and the actions that were taken to address these comments. When changes were made in the manuscript in response to a comment, you must indicate where changes appear (page number, section, etc.) in the revised version. To clarify the response to the evaluators, you can use a different font for the original comment and for your response. If no response is required (e.g. if it is a summary of your article), indicate it in the response.
Here is an extract sample response to the evaluators :
We thank the reviewers for their carefully and constructive comments. We address each individual comment in detail below
Response to reviewer #1
- Comment 1:
This paper discusses the problem of super-resolution with an unknown PSF, also known as blind super-resolution. The approach described belongs to the family of approaches based on the early work of Freeman et al. The authors introduce…
No action required.
- Comment 5:
If the previous comments can be properly addressed, the next issue is the length of the paper, which I think is far too long for a subject of niche interest. The paper could be reduced in length significantly by citing, instead of repeating, the work of Appleby et al., and finding a more concise way to present the results. Finally, I would suggest removing the sections about the neural network experiments, since this approach has already been shown to be less accurate than the state-of-the-art.
We agree with the reviewer that our original manuscript was too long and we thank the reviewer for the suggestions as to how it might be shortened. Following these suggestions, made the following changes :
- We shortened our summary of Appleby et al.’s approach (section 2.3 in the revised manuscript) and limited the discussion to implementation issues that may have differed from their original work.
- We reduced the number of graphs for our results on confocal microscopy images, compressing four figures into one (figures 5, 6 7 and 8 of the original manuscript have become figure 3). Each data point in the new graphs is the average of the corresponding data points on each of the former graphs. We found that this representation does not obscure the main results of our work and compresses space.
- Contrary to the reviewer’s suggestion, we decided not to remove all the sections relating to the neural network experiments. We think the experimental data from this technique is still a valuable baseline to present and the data points do not require additional space. However, we removed most of our description of our implementation of the method, which we summarised in two sentences, citing the relevant article by Turner et al.
Response to reviewer #3
- Comment 10:
On page 16, you mention that the image patches had dimensions of 50 x 50. Why this, and not smaller or larger?
As now stated on page 8 of the revised manuscript, the dimensions of the image patches were a compromise between the repeatability of statistical feature extraction and the number of measurements that could be extracted from each image. We wished to have more than 20 such measurements to maintain robustness to outliers in the model fitting stage. A size of 50×50 provided us with 26 measurements, which satisfied our requirements. In practice, we found that reasonable variations in the size of the image patches did not have a significant impact on our results.