I submitted my article earlier this year in January. After 5 months i received a "Major revision", there was 3 different reviewers, and they made very relevant comments, that i found very useful. I answered all the reviewers and resubmitted the article. Months later i received a "Minor Revision", one of the 3 reviewers asked to add futur research direction section. The other asked to correct the number of a certain section. The corrections where easy and i resubmitted the article. Surprisingly, today i received a "Major Revision", which is absolutely unlikely. The email contained comments from the editor and #reviewer10 (a new one). The associate editor email was the following:

Editor comments : The comments from the reviewer are quite negative. The editor questions about the quality of the paper. The paper is not well written. The equations are not well edited. Some figures are given in quite low quality. The authors should carefully revise the paper. This maybe the final chance for the revision.

Reviewer #10: This paper focuses on electric energy forecasting based on artificial intelligence. Energy forecasting is one critical point in energy systems, and there are many research studies on artificial intelligence-based energy forecasting. However, the innovation of this paper is not enough. There are many research studies on artificial intelligence-based energy forecasting. For example, the neural networks, support vector regression, gradient boosting mentioned in this paper are common methods. It seems that the reviewer cannot find anything new. In addition, feature selection in load forecasting is also a common method. In general, the paper uses the common methods to solve a traditional problem. The reviewer suggests that the paper should not be accepted by this journal.

The comments from the associate editor are surprising, if there was some issues with the English in the paper or some figures, this would surely have been dealt with during the 1st revision or the 2nd revision although in the previous emails, the same associate editor didn't mention any issue or comments. But now suddenly there is an issue.

The comments from the reviewers demonstrates that the reviewer have not taken the time to read carefully or have not understood the content of the paper. There was 3 reviewers which made positive comments (accepted) the content.

It is written "reviewer10", i would assume that the paper was reviewed by at least 6 reviewers a none of them made a negative comment. So how am i getting "rejected" because of one bad review off of 10. Even if it is a major revision, the due date is 24 November, which is 13 days ahead, quite bizarre for a "major revision".

My question is : Is there anything i could do? should i raise my concerns to the editor or refuse the revision.

  • 5
    It's not true that there were 6 other reviewers who were ok with the paper. There were likely 6 others reviewers who were invited, but who either did not respond at all or who declined to review. You can't draw inferences about how they would have judged the paper. Nov 12 '20 at 16:51
  • 1
    Does not apply here, but I've had papers for review where I asked for a clarification (minor revision) and the clarification revealed major problems. So, yes, major revision after minor revision happens, and in a perfectly legitimate manner. Nov 12 '20 at 18:08
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    Are you sure that this journal is high-quality? The editor does not seem to be. Nov 12 '20 at 20:37
  • 1
    @lighthousekeeper it's a high impact factor elsevier journal. Nov 12 '20 at 21:14
  • 1
    Overall, even if nothing change, the editor did not act very well.
    – Alchimista
    Nov 13 '20 at 11:14

There are a lot of things you can do, but if you want the paper to be published by this journal, it is almost certainly necessary for you to undertake the major revision.

Refusing to revise will almost certainly result in an immediate rejection, based on the editor comments.

You can withdraw the paper and submit it elsewhere as always.

I'll note that "reviewer10" might not mean the tenth actual review of your paper, but a nominal identifier. There may have been some reviewers invited, but who did not submit reviews, for example. I'll also note that it may be "reviewer10" with the most knowledge of the area, though that isn't necessarily so. In that case, the other reviews were too superficial. And the opposite may also be true, of course, with that reviewer having too little experience.

But the editor's comments are not to be ignored. You can do your own analysis about whether the comments of the reviewer have validity or not. If they say it is standard work with little innovation, then that should be possible to check. You could, of course, ask for evidence of those statements if it hasn't been included.

  • Thank you for your answer. As for the reviewer's comments, it doesn't include any evidence, and based on his arguments, he is saying that only traditional were used, which is incorrect, because i introduced a new method. With the proposed method, the feature selection task is not needed, and this is why i assume that the reviewer didn't read/understand the paper. On the contrary, the three previous reviewers understood the method and proposed some improvement related to the proposed method. Nov 12 '20 at 15:47
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    I think you can ask for that evidence. Perhaps you will get a list of papers with prior work.
    – Buffy
    Nov 12 '20 at 15:53
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    @NadjibBendaoud If someone doesn't understand your work, then I recommend that you consider this your problem and not theirs. Maybe it's because they were lazy, but even still it might suggest that you rewrite your introduction to make it clearer where the innovation lies.
    – academic
    Nov 12 '20 at 18:26
  • @academic you are right i don't put all the blame on the reviewer, I'm always open for ways to improve my work. Although, the situation is very weird, knowing that the 3 previous reviewers understood the proposed method and made their criticism based on a good understanding of the method. Nov 12 '20 at 18:48
  • I wonder if they were aware of prior art. If they were naive about this it would lead to an outcome like you are seeing.
    – Buffy
    Nov 12 '20 at 19:00

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