I have got reviews for a Survey paper in IEEE Communication Surveys and Tutorials.

I have got contradictory comments from two reviewers (R-I and R-II)

The first reviewer R-I says that the tutorial part (Section III, and IV) is too lengthy and the Survey is too short (Section V). He asked me to shorten the tutorial and expand Section V. The other reviewer R-II, on the other hand, says to shorten Section V? How can I address this? I do not want to shorten and remove important bits in Section V. Can I mention to the R-II that "I have been asked by R-I to expand this Section and since it is a survey, we tried to cover a large part of the topic" ?

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  • I would tell R-I that your goal is to provide a tutorial to readers new to the area. Note this as part of the aims/goals of your paper. As for expanding the survey part, does he/she have a reason for that? maybe you missed some literature? maybe you didn't provide sufficient qualitative analysis? this journal requires tonnes of discussions to help a reader compares and contrasts between works. Maybe your discussions are superficial? Similarly, for R-II, you can provide your rationale for having a 'long' Section V. My advice is not to email the editor. That's a waste of time. Jul 3, 2020 at 19:07

2 Answers 2


While the other question noted by GoodDeeds may answer your question, let me note that the paper remains yours. The editor has probably seen the reviewers and is aware (or should be) of the contradiction.

I think the two reviewers had different needs. One had the knowledge so didn't need the tutorial and the other wanted to be informed generally. Think about that and about the balance, but the paper is yours. Think about whether there are really two papers here, though a tutorial alone might not be enough for publication.

The proper way (IMO) to respond to reviewers is to edit the paper taking their views into account, but not necessarily taking every bit of advice, which is impossible here in any case. And your suggestion about a response to the second reviewer is more appropriately sent to the editor.

Since it is the editor who will make the decision here, ask them for advice about the tutorial material and how including/excluding it from the paper would affect the decision to publish. Let the editor argue with the reviewers if necessary.

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    So do you suggest that I email the editor prior to submitting my revised version and review response, asking for clarifications?
    – SJa
    Jul 3, 2020 at 13:24
  • @Sjaffry I would. Perhaps even ask for a quick call.
    – user2768
    Jul 3, 2020 at 13:37
  • Asking first might save some time overall.
    – Buffy
    Jul 3, 2020 at 14:05
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    @Sjaffry Come with a plan, though. Tell the editor what you plan to do based on conflicting reviews, ask them to rule on whether that approach makes sense to them.
    – Bryan Krause
    Jul 3, 2020 at 14:18
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    @user2768 'a quick call'? This just doesn't happen in my area! Jul 3, 2020 at 19:03

I would do what you think is right and let the editor make the final suggestions if any for changes.

I once reviewed a paper for a world class expert who was busy and asked me to do it. Not that I am a slouch but still they use the reviewers they can get who seem to know something about the topic.

Also, reviewers prefer different styles of writing a paper. The editor is the one you should please not the reviewer.

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