I recently received the reviewer comments for the work submitted to a decent journal. In the comments, the reviewers advised me to revise the manuscript. The editor noted that "If you are prepared to undertake the work required, I would be pleased to reconsider my decision."

One of the three reviewers commented that a stronger experimental validation is required before the paper could be considered for publication. My thesis is only related to modeling of an experimental process and the requested experiments cannot be carried out at this stage. I have validated my simulation results with published experiments, so I am not sure why the reviewer has asked me to do experiments.

Other two reviewers have given major revisions pertaining to my modeling which I can confidently respond through some additional simulations.

My question is that if I don't carry out the work asked by the first reviewer and address the comments of the other two, will my paper be rejected for not addressing all the reviewers? In that case, is it even worth pursuing?

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    The editor will decide based on their personal values and the traditions of the journal. Internet strangers cannot help you, especially if we do not know which journal it is. – Anonymous Physicist Oct 6 at 22:37
  • @AnonymousPhysicist But is it possible for a journal editor to accept a paper if one out of the three reviewers has rejected the manuscript? – arbiterary Oct 6 at 22:43
  • @arbiterary: In general, editors can do whatever they want - they can accept a paper even if every reviewer recommended rejection. (For a reputable journal, this will happen very rarely and only with good reason.) In your case, you should ask the editor for clarification. – Alexander Woo Oct 6 at 23:02
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    If doing that experiment is something you would like to do next, then indicate so. If you can't do the experiment or don't want to, that is fine too, indicate the reasons and rationale why, the pros and cons. Repeating the experiments only strengthens your paper. Whether that increased bar is required is up to the editor. – Poidah Oct 6 at 23:05
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    I've had a similar comment on my papers. A reviewer wanted to see actual experimental results although my work was theoretical, and the experiments would only cover a case that I have already covered theoretically. I argued but the paper got rejected. Unfortunately, there are reviewers who only appreciate their way of doing things, and nowadays many editors are just 'robots' who click a button when all reviewers said yes. Fortunately, the rejection was a blessing in disguise as the paper landed in a much better journal. – Prof. Santa Claus Oct 7 at 5:54

As the comments point out, this is up to the editor. Nothing gets published without the editor's consent, and nothing gets rejected without the editor's approval either. Reviewers can say X, but it's ultimately just a recommendation that the editor can ignore.

In your case the editor said "If you are prepared to undertake the work required, I would be pleased to reconsider my decision." I recognize this phrase because it's the default one given by Editorial Manager every time the editor makes a decision (editors can edit the default email of course, but often don't). In other words, the editor for whatever reason has not expressed an opinion. This means there's still every chance your paper is accepted, and you might as well make the case for acceptance by revising it.

That said, you should address why the first reviewer's comments are not applicable. Give your reasons why the experiments can't be performed ("cannot be carried out at this stage" is not convincing). Based on your description I'd certainly stress that you are modelling an experimental process and you've already compared to published experiments; you could also say that doing the experiments yourself would require resources & time & expertise that you don't have (assuming it's true, of course). If you can't convince the reviewer, you might still convince the editor, who can after all see the other two reviewers' comments.

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