I was recently reading some suggestions on how to effectively write a "response to reviewer comments" document. One suggestion was to consider categorising reviewer comments by theme.
Categorize the reviewers’ comments: If there are too many comments, it would help if you separate the comments into categories. For example, all the comments related to methodology could be grouped together, all related to language could be under one category, etc. If you decide to do that, make sure you add a sentence such as “I have separated my responses to the reviewers’ comments according to several categories in order to achieve an integrated approach in my responses.” SOURCE
Previously my workflow has been to do this internally but to still organise the response document by reviewer order and then by the order implied by their response. So, I would number and give a title to each reviewer point. I would then organise these into categories in a separate document (just for me) and work out the best way to sequentially work through them. If two reviewers made the same point, in the response to the second reviewer, I would just refer back to the relevant review earlier.
So my question:
Is it advisable to re-organise reviewer points thematically in the response document? Or is it better to retain the order implied by the editor's letter?
Some initial thoughts:
- Organising by theme will mean that points made by different reviewers and the editor are interspersed. Thus, it will be harder for the editor or reviewer to identify their specific points. A naming convention might reduce this issue a little bit (e.g., I often name reviewer points R1.1, R1.2, etc. for Reviewer 1 Point 1, Reviewer 1 Point 2), but not completely.
- Response documents vary in complexity. I imagine when there are a lot (e.g., 50+) separate points to address that thematic organisation might be more relevant. Similarly, when there are more reviewers, there may be more overlap in the points that are raised and therefore greater benefit in organising thematically.
- Some reviewer points are distinct enough that they need to be addressed separately, but may not be as clear when not seen consecutively.