Tabulated response to reviewers

The table below is an example of the kind of table that could be used to respond to an editor and reviewers who have considered and commented on your manuscript. Note that all of the example content below is hypothetical but is realistic. The table shows the comments to which a response needs to be made (first column), an example response (second column), and an indication of whether the editor and reviewers will be able to find the revision you have described in your revised manuscript (third column). Below the table you can see the actual wording of the hypothetical response from the editor and reviewer, and the yellow highlighting shows the parts that need a response. The non-highlighted parts are comments that you do not need to address. If the editor had made a particularly positive comment, such as “this manuscript describes an important addition to the research in this area” you do not really need to respond to this, but you might want to bring it to the editor’s attention by including it in your table and thanking the reviewer for their comment.

In some cases, you may feel that the revision suggested by the editor or reviewer does not need to be made. In the example below the editor has suggested removing figure 4, and in the table the revision has been made, but it could be that the authors disagreed with the editor and did see value in including figure 4. In that case, the second column would include a careful explanation of why the figure has been retained.

The table below is an example of the kind of table that could be used to respond to an editor and reviewers who have considered and commented on your manuscript. Note that all of the example content below is hypothetical but is realistic. The table shows the comments to which a response needs to be made (first column), an example response (second column), and an indication of whether the editor and reviewers will be able to find the revision you have described in your revised manuscript (third column). Below the table you can see the actual wording of the hypothetical response from the editor and reviewer, and the italicised text shows the parts that need a response. The regular text (not italicised) shows comments that you do not need to address. If the editor had made a particularly positive comment, such as “this manuscript describes an important addition to the research in this area” you do not really need to respond to this, but you might want to bring it to the editor’s attention by including it in your table and thanking the reviewer for their comment.

In some cases, you may feel that the revision suggested by the editor or reviewer does not need to be made. In the example below the editor has suggested removing figure 4, and in the table the revision has been made, but it could be that the authors disagreed with the editor and did see value in including figure 4. In that case, the second column would include a careful explanation of why the figure has been retained.

Hypothetical comments from editor and reviewer:

Comments from editor:

Both reviewers indicate that the manuscript is likely to be of interest to readers of this journal, and have indicated that several revisions are needed before it is considered further for publication. In addition, I would like to the authors to consider whether figure 4 is needed – it seems to be superfluous since all of this information is provided in the text.

Comments from reviewer:

The manuscript describes a case series trialling a new approach to the treatment of dry eye symptoms. Dry eye is increasingly recognised as a significant problem for many patients this new approach to management or treatment of this condition is likely to be of interest and has potential for clinical application and further development.

The questionnaire used in this study to assess symptoms has been trialled and validated previously. However, in this study the questions were read to patients and the answers recorded by a researcher who was not naïve to the study aims and was not masked to the patient type (he/she knew whether the patient had used the new approach or the conventional treatment). It is highly possible, therefore, that the responses were biased by the researcher’s awareness and expectation and by possible guidance of the patient by the researcher. This is an important methodological flaw, but is not acknowledged or discussed as a limitation. The authors should consider the extent to which the results may have been affected and should discuss this in their discussion section.

In addition, the conclusion that “the new approach trialled in this study reduced dry eye symptoms significantly and is likely to help sufferers to a greater extent than more conventional treatment” is highly questionable. This is because, as outlined above, the methods were flawed and do not provide a clear indication of effectiveness, and because this study included only 30 people in a limited age range who were all of one gender and in one type of work environment. We cannot extrapolate these results to the population more generally, and further research would be needed to confirm whether the new approach is likely to help people more than conventional treatment. The conclusion should be re-written with these points in mind.

 Table showing hypothetical responses to the above comments:   

The table above is a hypothetical example of part of a response to comments from an editor and a reviewer. See the text above for the comments on which the response is based.