loader image

How to Write a Rebuttal Letter?

Prepared by

Ms. Sandeep Kaur & Ms. Shelly Arora

Have you also faced that frustration when your manuscript, despite being drafted in a well-mannered way as per the journal requirements, received criticism from the reviewers? And now, are you in a situation to write a rebuttal letter to defend why the piece of literature was reviewed in that way?

Read our blog to get useful tips to combat this situation

Let’s Understand First, What is a Rebuttal Letter?

When you submit a manuscript to a journal, the editors may react by explaining why the article was not immediately approved and what the author has to do to improve the work before resubmitting it. By writing a rebuttal letter, authors get a chance to directly respond to the reviewers’ concerns.

  • The journal rebuttal letter provides an opportunity to react to the peer reviewers’ criticism and advice. The editor is the intended recipient.
  • A rebuttal letter to the paper might point out faults in the reasoning and evidence presented and present contradictory evidence.
  • A well-crafted rebuttal letter helps to provide additional evidence of the quality of the work and the due diligence used to develop the thesis or hypothesis.

When Should You Draft a Rebuttal Letter?

In any sort of resubmission (revision, search for another journal), a well-written response letter is essential:

  • Once the first reaction (whether it’s sadness, anger, or frustration, for obtaining criticism from editors and reviewers) has subsided, an author must choose between two options: continue to pursue the Natural Method or submit your work to another publication.
  • A realistic assessment of how the reviewers’ requests can be addressed will go a long way towards determining whether a change is likely to be successful and avoiding a pointless resubmission.
  • If referees were critical and requested a lot of additional information and the editorial decision was negative, the first step before beginning any revision should be an appeal and rebuttal letter to the editor to discuss whether a proposed list of additional information is likely to satisfy the referees’ concerns.
  • Despite receiving a favourable editorial judgment and being confident in their ability to resolve the reviewers’ concerns, authors still need to send a response letter along with their revision.
  • The response letter gives the author the opportunity to respond directly to the reviewers, provide ideas for the work’s improvement, dispel misconceptions, or defend elements of the work.
  • In the letter, ensure that you:
  1. Understand where to send it.
  2. Use a pleasant tone of voice.
  3. Describe what you would like to happen.
  4. Be objective – not emotional or passionate.
  5. Follow-up

Here is the Stepwise Approach to Write a Rebuttal Letter

Let’s Elaborate.

Step 1: Understand Your Opponent

When applying to editors and reviewers, you should learn as much as you can about them. That way, you’ll be able to visualize those people as if you knew them personally, making it easier to communicate with them. Each editor and reviewer have extensive knowledge in their field. They are all extremely knowledgeable in their respective fields. This does not mean that you should not express your thoughts or agree with anything they say.

Step 2: Examine the Charge

1) Examine each reviewer’s remarks and ideas carefully

Some of the remarks may be offensive to you – which is fine. Keep in mind that no one intended to hurt you during the entire process of reading the evaluations. Reviewers have the same goal as you do. They want your content to be published and will provide you with a way to accomplish your goal. As a result, you should interpret their remarks as advice rather than insults.

2) Sort them all into categories.

If there are a lot of comments, categorize them so that you have a readily defined structure. Your rebuttal letter should be well organized. Here are a few categories that we suggest to sort the remarks you received:

  • Writing style
  • Inconsistencies
  • Lapses
  • Format

3) Choose which comments you will respond to.

We advise you to rebut only the most important points. Also, keep in mind that you must remain objective. Even if they appeared to be good, you might consider changing certain sections. You must, however, maintain a healthy balance. Don’t agree with every single proposal. You should at least attempt to refute some of the claims. If not, editors might assume you did not put much effort into finishing the original work.

Step 3: Think about the Line of Defense

In writing a response letter, you entered into negotiations. As a result, developing a strategy is essential for success.

Follow these steps to create your strategy:

  • Define which information you do not want to update at all.
  • Don’t make it evident which paragraphs are crucial to you.
  • Make use of the information you discovered in the first phase. This will assist you in determining the best approach to the information.
  • Consider your options. Create a backup plan if you know you’re going to fail. Find more journals where your work can be published.

Step 4: Write Your Letter

Now, you can start writing your letter.

Few Tips and Suggestions

  • Be kind and respectful:

Editors and reviewers may evaluate your modifications differently as a result of the tone of your letter. Always start your response by expressing gratitude to the referees and editors for their time and insightful remarks on your paper. If the reviewers have misinterpreted something, bring it up gently and explain the confusion.

  • Respond to each referee’s remarks in detail:

In the rebuttal letter, copy each reviewer’s critique and follow each point with a concise response. If the comments are lengthy paragraphs, divide them into distinct sections so you can respond to each one individually. Do not disregard the referees’ suggestions. Express gratitude for any compliments made in the evaluation. If any favorable remarks were made in the evaluation, mention them and thank the reviewer for their input.

  • Be brief, accurately stated, and presented:

Format your rebuttal letter in a formal, professional manner. Avoid using slang or informal language, and write clearly and concisely.

  • Don’t forget to mention any positive interactions you have had in the past or will have in the future with the evaluator in your letter.

Hope this helps you in future. Good luck!

Share this insightful article to inspire others!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *