Addressing Peer Review Feedback and Mastering Manuscript Revisions with Paperpal’s Research Feature

by Sunaina Singh
addressing peer review feedback

Did you know that the concept of peer review as a method of evaluating written work goes as far back as the 5th century in ancient Greece? Scholars would sit around, discussing and critiquing each other’s work. From this unstructured, informal practice, editorial pre-publication peer  review was pioneered by the Philosophical Transactions of the London Royal Society in the 17th century. 

Table of Contents

The peer review process continues to evolve due to advancements in technology and the increasing demand for transparency and efficiency. Some notable changes include open peer review, post-publication peer review, decentralized peer review, and AI assistance. But one thing is sure to remain constant even in the future: the core principle of subjecting scholarly work to rigorous evaluation by qualified experts. 

Peer review is a many-splendored thing!

Peer review can be called the “tough love” your research needs. But let’s face it. Authors do not enjoy the tedious process of revising their manuscript and responding to comments on their paper. Deep down you know it is an opportunity for improvement, but it takes time and practice to develop a mindset that embraces constructive criticism impassively! To add to this emotional turmoil, several challenges complicate writing responses to peer review feedback: 

  • Reviewer comments may often be vague or ambiguous, making it difficult for authors to understand the specific concerns or suggestions.  
  • Reviewers may have different perspectives or interpretations, leading to conflicting or contradictory feedback.  
  • Responding to peer review comments can be time-consuming, especially when revisions require additional analyses, experiments, or extensive rewriting. 
  • First-time authors without sufficient experience in dealing with peer evaluation comments may struggle to use the appropriate tone and language, while some authors, particularly early-career researchers or those for whom English is not the first language, may find it difficult to articulate their responses clearly and concisely. 

Addressing peer review feedback: Steps to follow

If you follow a stepwise process, on the lines of the suggestions below, you can navigate the peer review process smoothly.  

  1. Read the comments and put them away. If you start answering immediately, your emotions may get the better of you! 
  2. Get back to the comments after a day or two. Re-read each comment carefully. 
  3. Organize the comments. Look for patterns (common or divergent concerns) and ensure you don’t miss any point. You can respond to multiple reviewers in one place if they have raised the same concerns. 
  4. Create a rough draft of responses. Keep your ideas and thoughts in one place. Build on them, not paying attention to language and syntax. 
  5. In the meantime, continue to work on the major concerns raised (additional experiments, figures, tables, or text). 
  6. Review and revise your draft. Ensure that all aspects have been covered and nothing has been missed. Be clear and direct in your responses. Keeping it simple helps.  
  7. Provide evidence where needed (cite published studies, provide data and/or figures/tables). 
  8. Be polite. Accept your mistakes and be open to criticism. Thank the reviewers for their time and effort, as well as for pointing you in the right direction. At the same time, politely stand your ground if you feel that unreasonable demands are being made. 

Tips and tricks to handle peer review feedback effectively


  • Read the feedback carefully and objectively, without getting defensive. 
  • Thank the reviewers for their time and effort. 
  • Respond to each point raised by the reviewers. 
  • Provide a polite and well-reasoned rebuttal for any criticism you disagree with. 
  • Make revisions easy to identify and navigate (highlight the revised text in a different color, use line numbers). 


  • Don’t take criticism personally; separate yourself from your work. 
  • Don’t ignore or dismiss feedback without careful consideration. 
  • Don’t respond emotionally or aggressively to negative comments. 
  • Don’t make only superficial changes without addressing the core issues raised. 
  • Don’t resubmit without explaining how you’ve addressed the feedback. 

Let’s look at some peer review feedback examples and how they can be answered: 

Reviewer: The language in the introduction could stand to be tightened throughout. 

Response: The entire manuscript has been carefully edited. As a result, the clarity and readability of the manuscript have been improved. 

Reviewer: The sentence (P7, L33) appears to contradict the authors’ findings… 

Author response: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We apologize for the oversight. We meant __ instead of ___. 

Reviewer: The study would benefit from additional experiments on ____. This will strengthen the findings. 

Author response [if you disagree]: Thank you for your thorough review. Your feedback was instrumental in improving the quality and strength of the study. The focus of this study was on __. Unfortunately, carrying out the suggested experiment is beyond the scope of the present study. We would like to point out that ___ has been amply demonstrated in the literature (ABC et al. 2022). 

Author response [if you agree]: Thank you for your thorough review. Your feedback was instrumental in improving the quality and strength of the study. You rightly pointed out a pertinent gap in our study. As suggested, we performed the additional experiments and have incorporated the new findings in the Results (P5, L3 to L24), Discussion (P8, L5 to L20), and a newly added figure (Fig. 5). 

Remember, the key is to approach the peer review process with an open mind, respond professionally, and use the feedback constructively to enhance the quality of your work. 

Mastering peer review feedback: Leveraging Paperpal’s Research feature

Paperpal is a researcher-centric AI academic writing assistant trusted by hundreds of thousands of researchers across the globe. It recently introduced a new feature, Research,” to streamline academic writing. This feature provides research-supported answers and allows users to save references to their citation library during the process of writing. As a result, one does not need to switch between tabs or tools while writing.  

This AI research finder has the potential to accelerate the writing process and boost productivity for researchers. How does it help in addressing peer review feedback? Say you get peer reviewer requests to simplify, expand on, or verify parts of your research. Or you are struggling to reconcile divergent viewpoints of different reviewers and determine the ideal course of action. 

By incorporating this Research feature when writing your peer review responses, Paperpal can act as a guide, providing a simple way to find updated and verified research to support your responses.  

Become a pro at handling peer review comments

Peer review is a crucial quality control mechanism to ensure the validity and accuracy of academic research before it is published, as well as to maintain the integrity and quality of scholarly work. Responding to peer review comments effectively and efficiently comes with practice and experience. Authors can seek guidance from mentors, attend writing workshops, or consult resources on improving response strategies. Publishers and academic institutions can also provide support and training to help authors manage the peer review process successfully. In addition, the use of AI writing tools catering exclusively to researchers, such as Paperpal, can streamline the process, making it easier for them to revise their work with confidence and speed up the journey to the finish line.  

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster. 

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed. 

Experience the future of academic writing – Sign up to Paperpal and start writing for free! 

You may also like

Your Paperpal Footer