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Few months back I communicated a paper. I got the reviewer's report in a positive direction. But he asked us to add some results if we wish and in the end he wrote:

"I leave it to the decision of the editor for further process."

Now I got a mail regarding this from the editor:

If you wish you may send a revised version according to the suggestion of the referee.

My question is will they reject our manuscript if we are not interested in updating our work as it will long time to finish. I am in dilemma. As the editor started his words with "if you wish". What could be the possible consequences if we are not interested in sending revised work.

  • 1
    Perhaps you are reading too much into the "If you wish". It seems to me that the phrase could just be a form of politeness that appears sometimes in formal writing. If the editor only said "You may send a revised version according to ...", that might come across as slightly impolite (at least to my ear). Adding "If you wish" to the front makes it obvious that the editor is not trying to tell you what to do. – Oswald Veblen Dec 4 '14 at 0:42
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When you submit a paper to a journal, you are implicitly agreeing to make a reasonable effort to publish the paper in that journal. But you are not signing a contract that requires you will make absolutely every change that the referees suggest. In the end, it's your name on the paper.

If the editor has actually rejected the draft (e.g. "revise and resubmit"), and you are not interested in sending revised work, there are few direct consequences. You only need to write an email to the editor saying that you have carefully considered the referee's reports, and that you would like to retract your submission. It is polite to acknowledge the referees at the same time, since they have spent time on your paper. But see the note of caution below!

If the editor has accepted your paper (e.g. "accepted with minor revisions") then I would recommend making a good faith effort to revise the paper. This is what you implicitly agreed to by submitting to the journal. Of course, you do not have to make all the changes, or make them exactly how the referee wants. But you want to make a good-faith effort to address them in your own way. You don't want to cultivate a reputation as someone who is not willing to make even reasonable changes to a submitted paper.

One word of caution: it is not entirely "safe" to retract a paper and then submit it in the same form elsewhere. The new journal might end up picking the same referee! Here is a different answer on this site about this exact issue. I recommend reading that entire Q & A thread, actually.

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First, a reviewer can only make recommendations for revisions. The editor should make clear what changes should be made but it is still up to you if you see fit to do so. Of course, if an editor says you should make certain revisions and you do not, particularly without indicating any good reasons for not doing so, the risk is that rejection decisions may follow. From this point, you may see that providing good arguments why such revisions cannot be made are necessary.

The fact that revisions take time is not by itself a good argument since it may mean your manuscript is currently sub-par but that is up to you to convince the editor when you submit your revisions. The revision process is in this case a sort of give and take process where any revision not made has to be clearly argued from a scientific point (not from a point of time constraints or other irrelevant aspect).

The comment you quote seems a bit lazy on the part of the editor because I think there should be additional qualifying statements indicating if any comments are more important than others and set the review(s) in perspective. How you should decide to respond is therefore hard to judge since the editor has, at least seemingly, not provided any guidance on what needs to be done. This, unfortunately, opens for decisions in any direction. Your experience with your field, should, however, provide some guidance for what should be expected of a study such as yours and also checking the standards of the journal should add some pieces to decipher what must be done. In the end, you will need to provide feedback on the reviewers comments that allows the editor to understand the scientific reasons and ramifications of your revisions (or lack thereof).

  • Thank you sir for your answer. But I would like to add that the topic that reviewer asked to add is a property which is not related to the TOPIC of my work but ya it is related to my subject of course. – monalisa Dec 3 '14 at 11:53
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It is always a good thing to imagine that at the next conference you will be having a dinner with the reviewer without knowing it.

An alternative to running the experiments is to add a paragraph discussion about the suggested results. If they are related to the paper, it can go to the paper. If it is not, that a reasonable explanation why the certain property is not interesting to the paper should come in the rebuttal letter, along with clarification of the paper's focus.

For example, in your paper you are examining how green the alligators are (to gather empirical evidence that all alligators are squared bodied). Your paper measures the greenness level, and the reviewer suggests you need to measure the redness as well. Now, that requires hunting down the same alligators and recollecting the data.

You update your paper to emphasize that you examine the level of the green hue irregardless of other hues, and add possible future research direction to examine how different colors mix. In your rebuttal letter, you thank the reviewer for the suggestion for an interesting future research. State you updated paper to clarify the focus on greenness only. The redness effect is out of scope for this paper, but would make a nice extension in the future work.

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