How to respond to annoying reviewers…

You know, I have three manuscripts in the hopper with two of them having recently been returned to me with reviewers’ comments. Frustratingly, one of these is a manuscript that I’ve been trying to get published for nearly a year now. Given that I appear to have some work to do over the long holiday weekend coming up in order to answer reviewer criticisms and get the manuscripts ready for resubmission (you know what I’ll be doing either Friday or Saturday–and it won’t be shopping), I truly appreciate this bit of advice on how to deal with the wayward reviewer who doesn’t appreciate the importance of my work, sent my way by DrugMonkey

I think Hitler may have a point here. (Watch for some crank to quote mine that!) It really is always the last reviewer, especially when there are three reviews. In any case, personally, unless the journal’s Cancer Research or above, in general I don’t do lots of extra experiments to get a manuscript accepted; that is, unless the reviewer points out something I clearly missed or an obvious control that would strengthen the paper a lot, which happens on occasion. Experiments that can be done quickly I’ll also consider doing, but I won’t go hog wild and do new animal experiments or start constructing scads of new plasmids just to get a single paper accepted, particularly if I have no real use for the data and assays otherwise.

Instead, if I can’t persuade the reviewers, I’ll just withdraw the submission and send it to a different journal. Amusingly, though, there has been one time a few years ago when the original submission went to a lesser journal and got reviews like the one above. I actually did the extra experiments, back then not being confident enough to argue with reviewers why they were superfluous. After I had done the extra experiments and made the revisions, I decided that the paper was now too good for the original journal. So I withdrew the submission and sent it to a better one.

And I got it accepted too. Sadly that is a one-time event in my career.