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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?

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  • 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, 2014 at 19:51

5 Answers 5

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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:

Recommendation

  • This paper represents a significant new contribution and should be published as is.
  • This paper is publishable subject to minor revisions noted. Further review is not needed.
  • This paper is probably publishable, but major revision is needed.
  • Reconsider as an article in [redacted].
  • This paper is not recommended because it does not provide any new physical insights.
  • This paper is not recommended because the material is not appropriate for [redacted].
  • While the work is good and publishable, a more appropriate journal is recommended such as [textbox]

Example 2:

How would you rate this article?

  • Very significant (top 10%)
  • Significant (top 10-25%)
  • Routine (top 25-50%)
  • Poor/Unacceptable (bottom 50%)

If you have indicated that the article should be reconsidered after revision, do you need to re-review the scientific aspects of the revised article?

  • Yes
  • No

Recommendation

  • Accept
  • Minor Revision
  • Major Revision
  • Reject and Resubmit
  • Reject
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  • 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, 2012 at 1:08
  • 37
    I disagree and found the screenshots helpful. They clarify what might qualify as a major revision by illuminating the possible choices.
    – Tim
    Jun 26, 2014 at 20:02
19

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!

1
  • 19
    In other words, "there's a good paper buried in here somewhere; now all you have to do is find it!"
    – aeismail
    Oct 1, 2012 at 21:40
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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.

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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...

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  • 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, 2015 at 4:29
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    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, 2015 at 5:16
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If the reviewers have done their job right, and we must assume they have, then the actual to-do list will in and of itself be an accurate gauge of the workload.

So if your policy is honesty: to try and do as much as you possibly can, never pretend you addressed issues when in fact you haven't, and only baulk at suggestions that are unreasonable and or mistaken... then you are in the clear, regardless of which term the editor used to qualify the revision.

However, if your policy is to do as little as possible, try to fix fundamental problems by means of reshuffling material, blow smoke in your rebuttal by discrediting the reviewers and sundry tricks of that nature, then understand that major means You really need to address and redress what the refs are concerned about here.

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