The reviewers comments are so simple that I can correct them and send them immediately. But the editor says cannot accept the manuscript. Is there any chance that if we justify the comments, there can be acceptance? Can we write to the editor in return?
First things first, you should check and see whether the editor has actually rejected the manuscript, or whether you just received a very awkwardly worded request for revisions.
The reason I say this is because the specific phrasing about "cannot accept" you use reminds me of some terrible editorial communications I have received that begin: "We cannot accept your manuscript in its current form ..." but are actually a request for revisions. I've nearly been fooled into thinking a request for minor revision was a rejection this way, and only realized I was wrong when I noticed a date for submitting the new version at the bottom of the email.
My advice then:
- Reread the email and see if you've really been rejected. You might not be.
- If yes, or if you can't tell, get in touch with the editor, express confusion and ask for help understanding the reasons. A good explanation is appropriate.
- Be prepared to take the paper elsewhere, because an editor once decided rarely changes their mind.
You can certainly contact the editor and ask for a clarification for the reasons behind the rejection if that is not clear to you. I think any reason for rejection should be made clear to authors so that they can, if possible, still salvage the manuscript and publish it somewhere later (assuming it is in some way salvageable).
The editor has the responsibility to make decisions and usually does so based on scientific grounds and what is best for the journal, reviewers and authors. It is not uncommon that authors disagree with a rejection decision and as an editor, I have seen more than one angry rebuttal to the decision from frustrated authors.
Whether or not you wish to take up a discussion about the decision is entirely up to you. I can only urge you to be civil and provide facts rather than emotions as arguments. Editors are humans and are just as prone to errors as others. So there is always a chance the decision is questionable, at least until you know its basis. The number of decisions I have had to change over my five year "career" as Editor-in-Chief is in the single digit percent, bordering on permille.
Is there any chance that if we justify the comments, there can be acceptance? Can we write to the editor in return?
You can always try, and if you truly feel treated unfairly, you probably should write the editor. However, keep in mind that (contrary to popular believe) it is the handling editor, not the reviewers, that decide whether a paper is accepted or rejected. So from a formal perspective, it is OK to reject a paper even if the reviewers all voted to accept. Of course, from a practical perspective, this behaviour, especially if it is a common occurrence, raises all kinds of questions (such as why the editor bothered the reviewers in the first place).