My question is that what improvement in introduction of a paper or other parts of paper the authors should do when the reviewers wrote the following sentence:

The authors have missed many important state of the art references

Thanks in advance

  • 8
    It means you need to figure out who the reviewer is and then make sure to cite everything by them.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 17:50
  • 3
    You must have missed some crucial references, by the reviewer or others.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 18:29

2 Answers 2


I think the statement is very clear. Wether your literature research was incomplete or the reviewer just wants two of his own papers cited once more, we cannot tell.

Make sure you can exclude the first possibility, then try guessing, and either be bold in your rebuttal letter, or cite some more.

(If the reviewer gave no hint to specific references, I'd suspect that you might have a somewhat grave problem: Either you paper is indeed crappy, or that reviewer just doesn't want it published, or wants it delayed, for his own good.)


I recommend that you do the following:

  • Make a best effort to look up the most recent articles related to the parts of the article that the reviewer critiqued in their other comments. Most likely, their other comments would suggest the areas that they are most concerned with.
  • Before you complete your revisions, write a direct email to the editor that is handling your submission and explain in advance your difficulty. Show them the list of references that you have additionally added (to prove that you have already made an effort), but explain that since the reviewer did not specify what they consider you are missing, you do not know if that would satisfy them.
  • Do whatever the editor says.

The advantage of this approach is defensive: when you do eventually submit your completed revision, it would be very difficult for the editor to reject your article based on insufficient references. At the very least, if that is the only problem that would otherwise lead to a rejection, I would expect them to give you at least one more round to revise your paper according to the references that the reviewer would then explicitly list. (And if the reviewer still does not explicitly list the missing references, then you would be justified to politely say, "I have tried my best to respond.")

  • 1
    Hm. Might work, but acceptance of a paper is not supposed to be the reward for making a good effort and doing what you're told to.
    – Karl
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 13:30
  • @Karl, that's why I said, "if that is the only problem that would otherwise lead to a rejection". As you rightly imply, of course OP would need to take care of all other issues. My answer only talks about this one issue that OP raised.
    – Tripartio
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 16:44

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