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Reviewer comments: examples for common peer review decisions

Peer-reviewing an academic manuscript is not an easy task. Especially if you are unsure about how to formulate your feedback. Examples of reviewer comments can help! Here you can find an overview of sample comments and examples for the most common review decisions: ‘minor revisions’, ‘major revisions’, ‘revise and resubmit’ and ‘reject’ decisions.


Examples of ‘minor revisions’ reviewer comments

  • “This is a well-written manuscript that only needs to undergo a few minor changes. First, …”
  • “The manuscript is based on impressive empirical evidence and makes an original contribution. Only minor revisions are needed before it can be published.”
  • “I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this manuscript and only have some minor requests for revision.”
  • “The authors develop a unique theoretical framework, and I believe that they should highlight their originality much more.”
  • “The authors conduct very relevant research, but fail to emphasise the relevance in their introduction.”
  • “The authors draw on extensive empirical evidence. I believe that they can put forward their arguments much more confidently.”
  • “The authors adequately addressed my feedback from the first round of peer review. I only have some minor comments for final improvements.”
  • “To improve the readability of the paper, I suggest dividing the analysis into several subsections.”
  • “Figure 3 is difficult to read and should be adjusted.”
  • “Table 1 and 2 can be combined to create a better overview.”
  • “The abstract is too long and should be shortened.”
  • “I had difficulties understanding the first paragraph on page 5, and suggest that the authors reformulate and simplify it.”
  • “The manuscript contains an elaborate literature review, but definitions of the key concepts are needed in the introduction.”
  • “Throughout the manuscript, there are several language mistakes. Therefore, I recommend a professional round of language editing before the paper is published.”
  • “The paper should undergo professional language editing before it can be published.”

If you want to learn more about common reasons for a ‘minor revisions’ decision and see examples of how an actual peer review might look like, check out this post on ‘minor revisions’.

Examples of ‘major revisions’ reviewer comments

  • “The manuscript shows a lot of promise, but some major issues need to be addressed before it can be published.”
  • “This manuscript addresses a timely topic and makes a relevant contribution to the field. However, some major revisions are needed before it can be published.”
  • “I enjoyed reading this manuscript, and believe that it is very promising. At the same time, I identified several issues that require the authors’ attention.”
  • “The manuscript sheds light on an interesting phenomenon. However, it also has several shortcomings. I strongly encourage the authors to address the following points.”
  • “The authors of this manuscript have an ambitious objective and draw on an interesting dataset. However, their main argument is unclear.”
  • “The key argument needs to be worked out and formulated much more clearly.”
  • “The theoretical framework is promising but incomplete. In my opinion, the authors cannot make their current claims without considering writings on…
  • “The literature review is promising, but disregards recent publications in the field of…”
  • “The empirical evidence is at times insufficient to support the authors’ claims. For instance, in section…”
  • “I encourage the authors to provide more in-depth evidence. For instance, I would like to see more interview quotes and a more transparent statistical analysis.”
  • “The authors work with an interesting dataset. However, I was missing more detailed insights in the actual results. I believe that several additional tables and figures can improve the authors’ argumentation.
  • “I believe that the manuscript addresses a relevant topic and includes a timely discussion. However, I struggled to understand section 3.1.”
  • “I think that the manuscript can be improved by removing section 4 and integrating it into section 5.”
  • “The discussion and conclusions are difficult to follow and need to be rewritten to highlight the key contributions of this manuscript.”
  • “The line of argumentation should be improved by dividing the manuscript into clear sections with subheadings.”

If you want to learn more about common reasons for a ‘major revisions’ decision and see examples of how an actual peer review might look like, check out this post on ‘major revisions’.

Examples of ‘revise and resubmit’ reviewer comments

  • “I encourage the authors to revise their manuscript and to resubmit it to the journal.”
  • “In its current form, this paper cannot be considered for publication. However, I see value in the research approach and encourage the authors to revise and resubmit their manuscript.”
  • With the right changes, I believe that this manuscript can make a valuable contribution to the field of …”
  • “The paper addresses a valuable topic and raises interesting questions. However, the logic of the argument is difficult to follow.
  • “The manuscript tries to achieve too many things at the same time. The authors need to narrow down their research focus.”
  • “The authors raise many interesting points, which makes it difficult for the reader to follow their main argument. I recommend that the authors determine what their main argument is, and structure their manuscript accordingly.”
  • “The literature review raises interesting theoretical debates. However, in its current form, it does not provide a good framework for the empirical analysis.”
  • “A clearer theoretical stance will increase the quality of the paper.”
  • “The manuscript draws on impressive data, as described in the methodology. However, the wealth of data does not come across in the analysis. My recommendation is to increase the number of interview quotes, figures and statistics in the empirical analysis.”
  • “The authors draw several conclusions which are hard to connect to their empirical findings.
  • The authors are advised to critically reflect on the generalizability of their research findings.”
  • “The manuscript needs to better emphasise the research relevance and its practical implications.”
  • “It is unclear what the authors consider their main contribution to the academic literature, and what they envisage in terms of recommendations for further research.”

If you want to learn more about common reasons for a ‘revise and resubmit’ decision and see examples of how an actual peer review might look like, check out this post on ‘revise and resubmit’.

Examples of ‘reject’ reviewer comments

  • “I do not believe that this journal is a good fit for this paper.”
  • “While the paper addresses an interesting issue, it is not publishable in its current form.”
  • “In its current state, I do not recommend accepting this paper.”
  • “Unfortunately, the literature review is inadequate. It lacks..”
  • “The paper lacks a convincing theoretical frameworkwhich is necessary to be considered for publication.”
  • “Unfortunately, the empirical data does not meet disciplinary standards.”
  • “While I applaud the authors’ efforts, the paper does not provide sufficient empirical evidence.”
  • “The empirical material is too underdeveloped to consider this paper for publication.”
  • “The paper has too many structural issues, which makes it hard to follow the argument.”
  • “There is a strong mismatch between the literature review and the empirical analysis.”
  • “The main contribution of this paper is unclear.”
  • “It is unclear what the paper contributes to the existing academic literature.”
  • “The originality of this paper needs to be worked out before it can be considered for publication.”
  • “Unfortunately, the language and sentence structures of this manuscript are at times incomprehensible. The paper needs rewriting and thorough language editing to allow for a proper peer review.”

If you want to learn more about common reasons for a ‘reject’ decision and see examples of how an actual peer review might look like, check out this post on ‘reject’ decisions.

Master Academia

Hello, I'm Master Academia, a tenured professor dedicated to guiding individuals through their academic journey. With experience and insights from studying and working across different academic systems, I currently work full-time at a university in Western Europe. Recognizing the impact of unspoken rules in academia, I founded Master Academia to make academic knowledge more accessible to all.

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