Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I got some fantastic comments from reviewers who reviewed one of the manuscripts I have out for review right now at a fairly well-known journal in our field. The comments were clear, dead-on, and I think will be valuable as I revise. Since this is my first revise/resubmit article, I had to ask for consultation on etiquette with journals when resubmitting a manuscript. Thanks to Radical Transparency, I got some really good advice (also huge shout-outs to her for successfully defending her dissertation). Both Paul Matsuda's Blog and the Chronicle of Higher Education's article on publishing also have some good advice for authors who resubmit manuscripts, also very helpful.

This process puts me back in my earlier student days (as both an undergrad and graduate student), and because of this, I'm a little concerned. If I consider our pedagogical scholarship, many writing teachers make recommended suggestions for students' revision, though students need not necessarily make all of the changes recommended by instructors. But as an author, I still feel that there is this unspoken rule (not quite sure where it comes from) that I must make all of the changes recommended by reviewers. Although most of their recommendations I do believe to need changing, what will happen if I don't follow all of their suggestions? For example, with some of the changes I made, other suggestions become obsolete or less relevant because the focus of the article has shifted based on another suggestion given by reviewers. What happens then? I know that I should probably think that reviewers should understand this, but I'm still concerned about expectations that authors should take all reviewers' suggestions.

I guess this is similar to the idea that many students have when we as instructors offer recommended revisions. If they consider them all and "fix the mistakes", in their mind, they're supposed to get an A, right? If I do everything the reviewers recommend, they'll be more accepting of the article, right? I of course know that things don't work that simply here, and I'm not trying to provide overly simplistic or unsubstantiated claims; however, I'm still suspicious that there might be one reviewer out there who has the expectation that writers address all of their recommendations in the revised manuscript. I have no evidence or justification; it's just my paranoia. Thoughts?

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