I submitted an article for peer review early last year and received a referee report (major revisions) a few weeks after that. I've finally prepared a rebuttal and revisions to the article, after about 14 months have passed.

I plan to resubmit the article nonetheless, partly because the editor reached out (a year ago) encouraging resubmission.

When I submit the rebuttal and revisions, should I apologize and/or provide reasons for the delay to the referee and editors? Or should I just ignore the delay and resubmit like nothing happened?

Additional context:

  • The field is physics, the journal is Physical Review A.
  • The delay in my response is not because the response/changes took a lot of effort. The changes took about week of work cumulatively and this will be evident to reviewers/editor.
  • The main reasons for the long delay are, in order:
    1. Some combination of procrastination issues and academic burnout.
    2. My contract ended with the institution where I did this work and the work at my new employer was pretty intense.
    3. I switched subfields and completely lost interest/momentum in the project.

2 Answers 2


I submitted my first solo paper in August. Got my first round of review in November. Haven't submitted back since (just an RR). Why? Busy! I'm still in school. And the editor told me "Better wait and submit it right, than to submit it too soon with too little progress". So, no need to apologize. Life is busy, and academia generally gets that. I would apologize, IF you said you'd get it in by a given deadline, and didn't. But, if there's no deadline..... then it isn't a very big deal, unless the editors say so.


The first two things that would cross my mind on receiving your revision would be:

  1. I wonder if there are more recent developments in the past year, and if the authors have included these in the article.
  2. This article is not likely to be groundbreaking, or the author would not take this long to revise.

Neither of these things would be affected by whether you apologized, so don't agonize over this. You could apologize (and there can be no drawback for apologizing), but nobody will get angry if you don't.

  • Thanks. I'll definitely address (1) by updating references in the resubmission. I think (2) probably(?) doesn't apply since our article (and most others in our subfield) was posted as a preprint before initial journal submission.
    – forky40
    May 4, 2023 at 15:25
  • @forky40 for (2) I mean it's not likely to be a high impact paper - the kind that revolutionalizes the field, for example. Whether a preprint exists seems at most tangentially related.
    – Allure
    May 5, 2023 at 1:20

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