It is the first time I am submitting a research article as a first author. The review reports finally came back.
- Review A is positive, suggesting acceptance and a few modifications.
- Review B is extremely negative. It picks two simplifying assumptions that appear in our argument and explains in detail why they devoid our work of any value.
After seeking a third reviewer for weeks (six potential reviewers successively declined), the editor finally rejected the paper and suggested a transfer to another journal of the same editor.
I have no issue with the scientific content of either review. It is clear that both reviewers have read the paper carefully and understand the core of it. Yet, when I try to read review B again and work out how it translates into improving the analysis and the paper, I find myself unable to focus. The choice of words is so brutal, that tears fill my eyes and I start feeling dizzy. It feels as if I was just punched in the stomach. I would like to separate the core of the message from the way it is worded, but a flow of emotions just start pouring and I find myself unable to stop it.
What practical steps can I take in order to handle this criticism more effectively?