I have recently received a minor revision from a journal. In the manuscript upload portal, there are two places where we could include the response to reviewer comments. One is in the form of a text box and the other in the form of document upload. I am thinking of choosing to include the response file as an attachment as it includes figures and tables that would not be possible to include in the text box. So in the text box I plan to write:

Response to the reviewer comments is included in an attached file (response_to_reviewer comments.doc). We kindly request that you open the document to view the responses.

Is this alright? The journal here is the International Journal of Medical Informatics.

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    IMHO, if it wasn't, they wouldn't have provided a button for file upload.... Did you check the guidelines for any mention of restriction/format for the file? Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 17:44
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    This is perfectly normal in my field (applied mathematics). ASCII text boxes and equations do not mix well, so most of the times people upload a pdf. This happens the majority of the time: referees submit their reviews as pdf, authors answer in a pdf, and no one bats an eye. Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 17:58
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    @prashanth Then it's even easier. Just attach the file and go on... (I believe you are really overthinking this...) Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 18:29
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it depends entirely on the policies of the specific journal. There is no general answer beyond, "Do whatever the journal tells you." Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 22:05
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    I am very glad to tell that the article got accepted. I uploaded the revision as a separate document and put these in the text box "Response to the reviewer comments is included in an attached file (response_to_reviewer comments.doc). We kindly request to open the document to view the responses."
    – prashanth
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 10:37

2 Answers 2


Speaking as an editor, I don't care whether you put text in the box or upload a separate file as long as what you provide is clear. Speaking as an author, I have done it both ways many times, and it has never made any difference. Generally, if the response is relatively short, I'll put it in the box; if the response is long or uses significant formatting (as in your case), I'll attach a file instead and put "See attached comments" in the box.

In short: they wouldn't provide the upload option if they didn't want you to use it.

  • I'd just prefer to have to deal with one file, not a lot of comments on a webpage and half a dozen attachments.
    – vonbrand
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 0:55

Personally, I would always use the upload facility to upload a single document and just use the text box to say something like "see attached document for our response to reviewer comments".

There are many reasons why plain ascii text is inadequate. As people have mentioned, if you have figures, tables, or equations, then plain text will not work.

However, even when it is all text, I think that response to reviewer comment documents should have (a) clear headings for each reviewer point, (b) quote the entire reviewer statement, and (c) include quotes of any modifications. All these things are much clearer if different fonts are used for headings, reviewer comments, response text, and quotes of changes. This can be done more easily with a proper uploaded document.

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