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We recently received comments from the reviewers after revision. Comments were positive, one reviewer asked us to do an experiment. EES status says its minor revision, editor's email do not say it's a minor revision and he insists we do this experiments. Ending the email, he writes we would be glad to reconsider the revised ms. Though the reason given by the reviewer to do the experiment can be rebutted, it's more of clarification issue.

Should we rebut or do the experiment; Also, does the minor revision mean it's a in principle acceptance?

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    As an editor who recently had the questionable honor of rejecting a paper after minor revision, I can tell you that it (a) happens that papers are rejected in the minor revision phase, and that it (b) is no fun for anybody involved. – xLeitix May 10 '16 at 10:49
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    If you won't mind could you tell was it because of incomplete experiment? Or Something else? Also, I was wondering if it possible to reject a paper on readability. In my case, the experiment's outcome would not change the conclusion of the paper. I bit worried now. I have started doing experiments. – Neo May 10 '16 at 11:20
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    It was because of the author's complete unwillingness to implement even simple, uncontroversial changes recommended by the reviewers. – xLeitix May 10 '16 at 12:35
  • One of my paper was rejected even after minor revision. – Coder Nov 25 '16 at 15:31
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Answer: Contact the editor and ask if they would consider a rebuttal.

Reason: Had a very similar situation: one of three reviewers wanted an extra experiment and the editor indicated we needed to consider running another experiment. We contacted the editor and asked if they would be willing in principle to consider a rebuttal rather than running an extra experiment. They said that they would consider it but would give us no guarantees other than that. We were successful: the reviewer backed down.

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"Minor revision" only means "in principle accepted" if it's an "accepted with minor revisions". However, these minor revisions are usually seen as a must, and the paper can indeed be rejected if the editor or the referees (who may or may not get to see the revision) think that the points are not properly addressed.

Of course you can try to not do the experiment and write a rebuttal. It is possible that this will work but nobody can tell you what will happen.

If I try to read between the lines, it sounds like the editor is not totally positive about the paper yet, but I am not particularly good at reading between the lines. In the end it depends on how convincing the rebuttal is.

  • Now I am a bit worried. Anyway, we have planned the experiment to address the reviewer's comment. He wrote "I am pleased to say that they are positive about the paper in principle, but Reviewer #1 has several additional questions that would be good to address prior to proceeding with the paper." – Neo May 10 '16 at 11:25
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    See, I am not good reading between the lines… This sounds much more positive. But anyways, you started the experiment so why not finish it. – Dirk May 10 '16 at 11:30
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In a journal, "minor revision" can mean anything. Only "acceptance", not "conditional acceptance", "could be accepted", "address minor comments before acceptance" is really acceptance; any of these can be turned into a rejection, and I've seen that happening, both rightly and wrongly.

So, either have a very good argument why you do not need to do the experiment, or, if you can do it, then proceed to demonstrate convincingly that you took the comments seriously.

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