Receiving peer-review comments from a journal often gives rise to mixed feelings. Presuming the editor offers to reconsider your submission post revision, it essentially means the first step of getting your academic paper published in the journal of your choice is successfully completed. However, at the same time, any long-drawn revision process means more effort and resources on the same manuscript which is often a mental challenge as well.
Here is some step by step tips on how to approach the process of revising manuscripts post-peer-review comments:
Take it easy: Once you receive peer-review comments, the first reaction is to go through it at one go in excitement. However, responding to the comments must be done in a much calmer manner. It is best to revisit the comments after a few days, once you have worn out the initial feelings.
Organize: read the comments multiple times. Often, reviewers suggest certain major and minor comments. Authors often lose sight of the minor comments while they are pre-occupied to deal with the major comments. However, as a professional, you are expected to address each and every comment.
It is suggested that you tabulate the comments in detail. Demarcate each comment in certain categories: editorial changes, formatting related changes, comments on methodology, comments on data-work, etc. Once you have tabulated the comments, estimate how much time and effort it will require you to address all those comments. This then gives you a more definitive idea of how much effort you need for revision to address all peer-review comments.
Take a call: actually, it involves multiple calls, but you should take them one by one. First and foremost, you need to decide if you will make all the revisions requested or not. Often, reviewers may make suggestions to which you need not necessarily agree to.
Some comments are tricky, especially those related to the research itself – to the methodology used, for instance, or the results obtained and the conclusions drawn from them. These may require considerable revision requiring extra time and funding to accomplish, or they may necessitate thinking about and reporting your research in different ways. You need to decide whether you want to walk the mile or stick to what you already have produced.
All these decisions lead to the final call; if you still want to pursue publishing the academic paper in the journal. You may choose to accept some constructive comments which may help you improve your manuscript, but prefer to submit the improved draft to some other journal.
Respond to the editor: Irrespective of what calls you take, as a professional courtesy, write back to the editor who has shared the feedback with you. Share the list of comments, address each comment as to whether you disagree to it (and why) or you agree (and what you are going to do to address it). If you are keen to pursue publishing in the same journal, let the editor know by when you can re-share the manuscript based on your time estimation.