Preparing a review response

Often in your career, you will have a paper accepted to a conference or journal that will require addressing reviewer comments. For a conference, typically, you will first have to prepare a list of proposed changes, run it by your shepherd (a PC member assigned to your paper), and then incorporating the changes. For an accepted journal paper, you will generally submit a revised version, together with a list of changes you have made in response to reviewer comments.

This note tells you the procedure to follow in preparing a) the response to reviewer comments, and b) in preparing the revised version. This procedure is designed to make it as easy as possible for your shepherd to determine whether (and where) you have complied with the reviewer comments.

Preparing the response to reviewers

Usually, you will get reviewer comments in text form. In preparing the list of changes you propose to make, start with this text file and, after every comment of each reviewer discuss how you propose to address those comments. Here is a sample response. At the end of this response, you may add a list of additional changes you plan to make, or have made.

Once you have prepared this response, run it by me and your other co-authors. Please give us several days before the deadline, so we will have a chance to review the response thoroughly.

In responding to reviewers, there are several principles you should follow. Be courteous, not combative. If the reviewer makes an editorial comment that you agree with, just simply say "we agree". If the reviewer suggests a change that you plan to incorporate, be as specific as you can about the change. For example, you might say "We will add the following sentences, at the end of paragraph 2 on page 10...", or "We will conduct (or have conducted) an experiment of the following form, and will include a graph of the results in section 3...". If the reviewer was confused about something, explain clearly why you think they were confused; never be dismissive of reviewer comments.

Preparing the manuscript

When implementing the list of changes, it helps your senior co-authors as well as the shepherd or editor to color-code the places in the manuscript where you have made the changes. Use the following Latex commands to do this, and use the appropriate Latex macros in the document. When you submit the camera-ready, be sure to re-define these macros so that the color-coding is removed.