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I am a math doctoral student. Recently, I received a revision of one of my articles.

It is a positive report. In the report letter, the referee advised looking into a particular project (a significant project, not an indivisual project) and connecting it to my paper to give the impression that my work has a wider readership. The report might advise citing some of the project's work. Though there were a few links, they weren't really strong, so I found less of a connection between the project (referee mentioned) and my paper. I've talked about this with a few people working on that project (referee mentioned), and they've said they'll try to expand their project later, which might strongly tie their project to my outcome. However, it is uncertain, and I cannot hold out for them for so long. In the interim, I discovered similar projects where my work is directly applicable. To put it another way, my results are more relevant to a different project.

Now that I have revised the paper, I would like to send it back to the editor.

How do I inform the editor that we have discovered a slight connection with the project the referee mentioned, but have instead found a similar project in which my results are more significant than the project (referee mentioned) and have revised the paper accordingly?

Should I write a distinct cover letter to the referee via the editor? Or should I simply disclose every detail to the editor and send only the revised paper?

2 Answers 2

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Write the necessary info and explanation in the rebuttal. This will go directly to the reviewers.

Additionally, you can include the details in the cover letter to be addressed to the editor. There you will explain the issue and will say that for further info they can look into the details answer you give to the reviewer in the rebuttal document.

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  • The journal follows an email submission system. I have to send everything to editor through email. So how would i write the cover letter ? Should I write "To Editor" or "To Referee through Editor" ?
    – learner
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 16:40
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    @learner I am not sure I follow. When you will send the revised paper, write two extra documents. One, addressed to the editor, is the cover letter where you explain briefly what you have revised and a second document, the rebuttal document, where you address each point raised by the referree(s). The editor then will send the 2nd document back to them to check. It's a standard procedure
    – PsySp
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 16:43
  • Thank you. I mean the journal don't have online submission portal. The articles are communicated through email. So according to your suggestion I will send two 2 covers 1 for editor and 1 for referee) along with the revised paper.
    – learner
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 23:59
  • One thing is not clear to me. Since I am sending revised paper to Editor directly through email, I can explain everything to the editor in the email message instead of writing a separate cover letter to him. However, I have to write a separate cover/rebuttal letter for the referee(s). What do you say ?
    – learner
    Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 0:36
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    @learner In that case, if the mail is to be sent directly to the editor (and not through some generic journal email address) then you may omit the cover letter to the editor and explain in the body of the email what you want to explain. But what is not clear to me: you would like to submit a revision without a rebuttal (or similar) document?
    – PsySp
    Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 8:27
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Should I write a distinct cover letter to the referee via the editor?
Or should I simply disclose every detail to the editor and send only the revised paper?

You'll need the following

  • revised manuscript
  • rebuttal (which addresses the referees comments/concerns) point by point.
    This you do factually (taking note of discipline technicalities, scientific accuracy/correctness, and research processes), and be professional about it (even where you don't (fully) agree with the reviewers).
  • cover letter addressed to the editor. Here, you can write more (disclose every detail) about your concerns and approach to the suggested project and the more-aligned project you are aligning to.

You'll submit all three using the journal submission system: whether online or manual.

Take note that your rebuttal is what the reviewers would use to review your revised manuscript (alongside the content of the revised manuscript).
You may want to read more on writing a rebuttal.

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