For a submitted review paper, I got a response from one of the reviewers: "More related references should be added". The thing is, I already have around 70 references, and as the topic is pretty specific, there are not many more references out there. I could probably find a few more after very time consuming search, but IMHO, the number of references is both sufficient and able to convey the point. Also the reviewer left literally only this one sentence on the issue and did not even make clear in which aspect the number of references are lacking. I am still pretty fresh to the academic publishing world, and I don't really know how to answer this request. Can I simply decline the revision request? (the other two reviers did not critisize the number of references)
Can I simply decline the revision request?
Yes you can always decline to do what the referee asks. At the end of the day they are only suggestions and its up to the editor to take on board the recommendation of the referee as to whether the paper should be published.
If you do decline to add more references then you should explain why you chose not to. That said sometimes it just easier to do what the referee asks, especially with references which are easy to add/remove than to get into a fight over it.
If you can't find more citations, then look at the references/citations of the papers you did cite. That should be a good place to find a few more references.
You could do the following -
- Compare other papers in the journal and see how many references they have put.
- Extend references by multiple references for one instance. Example: In deep learning there is a technique called object detection. It has 3 top notch review papers for that field (which I know of). Instead of citing one, I would cite all three in this case. You could do the same in your case.
- You could do what Prof Santa has mentioned in the comments.
- Search for relevant references from your cited papers.
- Cite the general stuff. Many a times, techniques used so widely, people don't cite them. You could cite them as well.
I think 70 is actually a lesser number cites for a review paper. They generally span between the range of 150-200 in the field I work in. Though I think it differs in every field.