Recently I got a review asking me to compare my work with a few more works in the same domain. Now in my work, I developed a tool, and have made it publicly available. I have been asked by the reviewers to compare my tool with a few other tools available. While trying to compare I found none of the tools are maintained publicly. I have mailed them for the codes of these tools but no one replied. The executables are also not available. I mailed them for these executables only. But no one replied. What should I do?

Note: There were 2 reviewers. One said either compare properly or remove this section totally, other asked me to compare the works. Apart from this comment, all other comments have been addressed.

  • So what is available exactly? The executable files of these tools? What fails exactly? Have you tried running them in a Windows 95 VM, for instance? – Federico Poloni Jun 4 '18 at 7:30
  • Can you run the same kind of test or use the same data and compare your final numbers? – A Simple Algorithm Jun 4 '18 at 7:31
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    Just the research papers are available. The tools are no longer maintained. Even The people who were supposed to be contacted for the tools have not replied. – girl101 Jun 4 '18 at 7:32
  • @ASimpleAlgorithm i need the tools for comparing. The tools are not maintained now... One of them said they are developing a new tool – girl101 Jun 4 '18 at 7:33
  • Explain it to the reviewers and/or try to reimplement them (if it is a must). Also you should explain the methodological differences with these tools, I assume you already did it, didn't you? – llrs Jun 4 '18 at 7:37

I see a few ways on handling that:

  • write to the editor that the tools are unavailable and let him decide what to do with your paper.
  • add a passage in your comparison section stating that due to unavailability of those tools the comparison was not carried out.
  • ok, the authors don't reply. But if the reviewers want the comparison that probably means that at least someone is still using the tools in question. Maybe you can get in touch with some other laboratory that has the executables and run the necessary tests on-site there?
  • How do i contact anybody outside the author list of the tools? – girl101 Jun 5 '18 at 3:58
  • @girl101 That's where your professional network of contacts comes into play. Do you know anyone who may be using the tools? Maybe colleagues in your workplace can help? Do you have any supervisor you may report the problem to? – lukeg Jun 5 '18 at 8:19
  • none. I am the only one doing this type of work in my institute. – girl101 Jun 5 '18 at 10:49

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