I recently received the reviews/comments for an article submitted few months back to a journal. All the reviewers overall appreciated the content and the usefulness, but also suggested corrections (varying from minor to major) : typos, better title and abstract, reorganizing the material, better exposition at certain places, adding more benchmarks; that need to be addressed before publications. All the reviewers recommended the paper for publication if the reviews were addressed satisfactorily.

The editor, looking at the reviews, mailed stating a major revision of the paper is needed before re-submitting the paper.

My question is, what does this mean, in terms of the chances that my article is accepted, when I re-submit it after making the corrections suggested by the reviewers?

In general, I would like to know what goes in the editor's mind when he suggests minor revision/ major revision etc. If an article needs major revision, will it be reviewed again? How do these translate into chances of the article being accepted?

  • i got a major revision then after submission of revised manuscript i got a minor revision.after submission of minor revision my manuscript is again under review.i am waiting what will happened to my manuscript. i use to check status of my paper after every hour since a week :(
    – user17931
    Jun 26 '14 at 19:51

In my field (chemistry), the practice is: for those journals that make a clear distinction between minor and major revision requests, “major revision” means that the paper will have to undergo further review after revision, usually by the same referees, while “minor revision” means that while changes should be made, no further reviewing is needed.

Not all journals make this distinction, however: for some, the need for further reviewing will be decided by the editor upon reading your response to the reviewers’ comments.

For example, here are screenshots of the web interface facing the reviewer of ACS and RSC journals when he has to fill in his review. You can see that the categories are different for different journals.

Example 1:

enter image description here

Example 2:

enter image description here

  • 1
    +1. But, the screenshots added have less relevance to the authors. Think those can be removed; reviewers know what is 'major' and 'minor'. The question IMO is: On the basis of the review report sent by the editor, how do you know if it is major revision or a minor one? Oct 2 '12 at 1:08
  • 31
    I disagree and found the screenshots helpful. They clarify what might qualify as a major revision by illuminating the possible choices.
    – Tim
    Jun 26 '14 at 20:02

As F'x said, a major revision will lead to another round of review, where your answer to the first review will be taken into account. It doesn't guarantee you that your paper will be accepted, but if you address correctly the remarks (and not only in your answer, but also in the paper), you might stand fair chances. In other words, it's worth working on the paper to improve it!

  • 18
    In other words, "there's a good paper buried in here somewhere; now all you have to do is find it!"
    – aeismail
    Oct 1 '12 at 21:40

To my experience, major revision in general leads to the acceptance of a manuscript reviewed and re-reviewed for several rounds. Minor revision may undergo referee evaluation; however, in most cases, the editor accepts the paper without sending the revised manuscript to the reviewer. In fine, a careful revision, whether it's for major or minor, brings your paper accepted by the editor. Let us keep in mind that satisfying the queries of reviewers is always difficult especially for those journals indexed in PubMed. Therefore, if the paper is initially nominated for the major revision, it means that the work has sufficient novelty to be published.


dont forget that some papers propose a reject and resubmit as a standard...that way, they artificially decrease the time between submitted paper and published paper, which is a simple trick.

So reject and resubmit does often NOT mean that they did not like it...

  • Where does this tend to happen? I haven't encountered it... and I'm a bit confused by the double-negative in your last sentence.
    – jakebeal
    Mar 3 '15 at 4:29
  • 2
    Unfortunately, this has become common practice at many journals in the biological sciences, due to intense competition for quick turnaround times. In one recent case, I got two very positive reviews requesting a few changes on the scale of "minor revision" and was given a reject and resubmit. When I resubmitted, the paper went back to the original referees who had little to say beyond that I had satisfied their requests. The paper was then accepted.
    – Corvus
    Mar 3 '15 at 5:16

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