21

My colleagues believe that if you submit your manuscript revisions quickly, reviewers will be impressed by your confidence about the issues raised.

However, I think that a quick response is not always the best option. If you consult with other people, you may submit better revisions which of course requires more time.

  • Are there any benefits in responding quickly to a request to revise and resubmit a manuscript?
  • Are reviewers impressed by a quick response to a request to revise and resubmit?
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    This seems like an opinion poll rather than a question allowing a factual answer. But for what it's worth, my opinion is that a quick response is of very little value in terms of "impressing the reviewers". – Corvus May 19 '15 at 5:51
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    I've edited to hopefully make the intent clearer – Jeromy Anglim May 19 '15 at 6:42
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    Not worth a full answer, but I couldn't care less how fast the revisions come back. In fact, I probably won't remember how long it's been regardless of if it's fast or slow. – Fadecomic May 19 '15 at 13:36
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    I'd be more impressed by this than seeing the paper come back to me for review from a different journal without any changes ;o) @Koldito hits the nail on the head, however I would say don't aim to impress the reviewers, they are unlikely to be interested in your confidence, just the correctness and clarity of the paper. – Dikran Marsupial May 19 '15 at 13:38
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    I disagree that the question is opinion-based. It is not asking "Are you impressed" but "Are reviewers in general impressed". Yes, it's about people's opinions but the question is not asking the answerers to express their opinion. – David Richerby May 26 '15 at 8:20
79

Opinions might differ, but here is mine: as a regular reviewer for a bunch of journals, what impresses me is a resubmission that addresses whatever points I raise in my review in a thorough and convincing way, irrespective of whether the authors take one week or six months to write it up. The more seriously you take my review, the more seriously I will take your resubmission.

  • 13
    I agree with this. I might go so far as to suggest that the opposite (somehow) of what the OP is asking might be more true: as a referee, when I get a revised version bounced back to me very quickly, I look to see how thorough and thoughtful it was. If someone takes only a week or two (including editorial lag time) to turn in something which does not thoroughly engage with the report, then it looks bad to me. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's worse to turn in a superficial revision very quickly than to sit on it for a while...but it can be more annoying. – Pete L. Clark May 19 '15 at 7:25
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    @PeteL.Clark, I'd suggest that (a) the repsonse time should be appropriate to the scale of the revision, and (b) it's possible that the lead author is in a position to go flat-out on the revisions (e.g. grad student, top priority). Turning it round in a week could mean they spent 40 hours or 40 minutes on it. I am assuming that the editorial lag on a revision is small, as I've experienced (weeks with the editors for a submission, hours for a revision). – Chris H May 19 '15 at 11:03
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    Also, as someone who's reviewed journal papers, it's hard to get a sense of time as a reviewer. By the time the editors have compiled the reviews, sent them back to the authors, and informed the reviewers of their decision, it's probably been a few weeks already. So turning around your review quickly doesn't make much of a difference. – Wesley Bland May 19 '15 at 14:41
16

The other answers are very good. I'll add that a good referee should review what's submitted, and make recommendations about what's on the paper in front of them. Let the editors worry about everything else. I try not to let the timeliness of the resubmission impact any recommendation.

That said, I appreciate it if the authors can turn it around while the manuscript is still recallable. I don't like it when a second review requires all the work of a first review because the authors waited until memories of the manuscript were vague for me. I don't care how fast it comes back, but I don't like it when it's coming up on a year (unless the original review called for more studies, which can take time). "Don't like it" of course doesn't mean that this would impact my review, just that it causes me more work.

11

At least for the journals I've refereed for, the referees don't know how long it took the authors to resubmit. Since I don't know when the other referees submitted their reports, I don't know when the authors received the reports, so I don't know how long it took them to revise. Maybe the authors took three months to revise; maybe they spent 87 days waiting for the other referees to submit their reports and revised in three days. Who knows?

Since the referees don't know how long it took the authors to resubmit, that can't have any influence.

6

It actually depends on the precise semantics of "revise and re-submit". In some journals i was involved with, three different responses were possible: a minor revision is of a mostly editorial nature and people expect that this can be done quickly. A major revision usually comes with a timeframe of four to six weeks and often requires more substantial changes (sometimes including addition of new results) but there is generally an expectation that these revisions are doable within this timeframe and the paper as such is broadly acceptable. A revise-and-resubmit suggests that the paper is not acceptable in its current form and needs substantial new content (new experiments, more comprehensive comparison to other work, etc). In particular, revise-and-resubmit is recommended when the editor (or the reviewers) is of the opinion that the revision requires more time than the four to six weeks timeframe for a major revision. In that case, a quick response will probably look odd.

  • 3
    Some journals tangle up the vocabulary even further by using "revise and re-submit" to described requests for major or even minor revisions as well. Be sure to read the notice carefully! I have, in the past, gotten something that looked like a rejection but was actually a request for minor revisions, simply due to oddly formatted journal templates. – jakebeal May 19 '15 at 11:23

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