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After reviewing a journal paper, I typically receive the revision of the paper to review. This is expected, but most often, my comments are addressed by the authors, and I have no further comments. I have requested another revision in the past, but I usually have no more comments.

I prefer to avoid adding comments for the sake of adding comments, but I'm sure I could find something to complain about if I wanted. Is this common - not having comments upon reviewing a revised paper?

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    Unless a change was made that you can complain about, 'finding something to complain about' would amount to you failing to fully review the paper the first time and would make you look bad. Aug 9 at 15:50
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    @Jason Goemaat It happens all the time that people notice new things in a manuscript that they previously overlooked. This is normal and does not "make you look bad" as a referee. (Of course, people who go around "finding something to complain about" in a manuscript just so they can, in their imagination, appear to be a better referee, are going to spend the rest of eternity burning in a special circle of scientific hell.) Aug 9 at 16:04
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    @AdamPřenosil I agree with you completely on this, which is, in part, what motivates my question: "people who go around "finding something to complain about" in a manuscript just so they can, in their imagination, appear to be a better referee, are going to spend the rest of eternity burning in a special circle of scientific hell."
    – Ralff
    Aug 11 at 15:41

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In my experience, reports like "The authors have satisfactorily addressed my comments. Hence I recommend publication in [journal]." are quite common. In fact, common enough that I copied those two sentences from the most recent referee report I received. This assumes, of course, that you have checked the changes made in response to your (and possibly also other referees') comments, and that you are willing to sign off on the revised manuscript. On the flip side, if you do have some comment to make, do include it in the report. If it is minor or optional it can be useful to label it as such.

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    +1 I can confirm this is quite common after having seen hundreds to thousands of reviewer reports.
    – Allure
    Aug 9 at 11:13
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    The OP asks "Is it common?", but I think the background question is "Is it OK?". Yes, it is OK. If the authors do their job properly it should be common.
    – Buffy
    Aug 9 at 14:45
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    +1 for checking (changes based on) the other referees comments. Wouldn't be my first time catching something like that going wrong (calculation error in the reviewers request copied blindly, for example.)
    – user53923
    Aug 10 at 11:49
  • Thanks for the answer! I use a sentence very similar to the one you described. I am happy to know this is common. I indeed check the changes and review the entire paper to hopefully catch anything I missed (and review changes based on other reviewer comments).
    – Ralff
    Aug 11 at 15:36
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    @user53923 Yes, there are various reasons to check those changes/comments. The main reason I had in mind is that you typically don't know if the other referee(s) have submitted/will submit a second report or not. But yeah, sometimes the other referee makes a mistake, as you point out, and sometimes they might point out something important that you overlooked.
    – Anyon
    Aug 11 at 15:36

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