Cerise L. Glenn, Ph.D.
You’ve seen a specific call that connects to your area of research. The theme speaks to you, and you submit your abstract or manuscript for consideration on this important topic. After your initial submission is reviewed, you receive the good news. Your abstract has been accepted, and you’ve been invited to submit a full chapter, or your article has been provisionally accepted, pending revisions. Congratulations! This means your article or chapter shows promise and has strong potential for publication. As you read the reviews, you begin working on your revisions or your full manuscript.
As an editor of a special issue for an academic journal, a media review section editor for an academic journal, and editor of a book project, I’ve been substantively involved in the publication process for targeted calls. I’ve coordinated with co-editors, journal or book series editors, reviewers, and prospective authors. I also work on mentoring in higher education and get numerous questions on publishing, often with people not knowing how to respond to reviewers’ and editors’ suggestions for revisions. As I’ve spoken with authors and other editors over coffee or in panel presentations, I’ve noticed some common themes and issues and compiled a brief list of suggestions to keep in mind to help you navigate the revision process:
When submitting revisions, include a cover letter that explains the changes or use a feature such as Track Changes so editors/reviewers can easily identify what’s been revised.
Address ALL suggestions/comments. It doesn’t mean you have to follow them all, but if you elect not to implement a recommendation, explain why in your cover letter. Keep the call for papers in mind when making revisions. Some suggestions may have more to do with making connections to other manuscripts and/or strengthening the fit for the special theme.
Revise and resubmit does not mean acceptance for publication. If you do not revise the manuscript in accordance with reviewers/editors, they may elect not to publish your article or chapter. For special issues/edited collections, this could also be about deadlines editors have to meet, so they may not be able to go through multiple revisions and stay on track with their deadlines if you are not able to complete your revisions timely.
If you cannot return the manuscript by the requested timeline, please notify the editors to request more time. Do not assume you can submit it late. The editors may take the missed deadline as an indication you are no longer interested in publishing your article and may keep planning their collection without it.
Ask a colleague or mentor to read the reviews, cover letter, and your revised manuscript- especially if you disagree with a reviewer. They can help offer another perspective on the recommended changes. You may also want to wait a day or two before working on revisions to give yourself time to process the comments.
Hopefully, you find these quick tips helpful as you keep working on your manuscript. Good luck with your publication! If this issue does not get published here, keep persisting to find a home for your work. 😊