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One thing that I know some people do in this situation is to write an extremely polite email to the editor pointing out the mistakes in the referee's report, but not asking the editor for anything. I know people who have done this and had the editor thank them for pointing it out, but not reconsidered, and people who have done it and had the editor reconsidered. But I take it the benefit of this option is that you, as an author, are very clearly respecting the judgment of the editor about whether they should reconsider, rather than asking them to, so I guess it is supposed to annoy them less.

That being said, I would urge anyone who considers doing this to first have two friends whose judgment they trust read over the reports. I've often gotten referee reports that I initially thought were completely unfair/making serious mistakes and came to see as just lazy or uncharitable. And I do think that a report needs to be making serious mistakes for it to be reasonable to alert the editor. (I'm not saying the person who wrote in is in this situation, just that we all should reflect and get a second opinion before we harass editors.)

Old timer

Long ago, when papers were sent to referees by post (yes, snail-mail), I challenged an editor's decision to reject a revise and resubmitted manuscript. The process took about two years (back in the old days), and the journal had changed editors in that time! No kidding. I was early in my career, and it was a good journal, so I pushed back. They did decide to publish the paper in the end. The paper has since been cited over 130 times.

Greg Stoutenburg

I once wrote to an editor once at Synthese when I received one report that called for an r&r with some substantive objections along with another report that identified a "typo" (it is only a typo contingent on accepting a niche view of a certain subject-matter) and three complaints that I had not cited one particular very recently published paper. The second report really was downright unprofessional, and not just by being lazy or mistaken about a certain argument. The editor promptly and kindly changed the verdict to r&r.

I would hesitate to make the same choice today, but I think the rule for writing to an editor should be that the reviewer's comments are not just bad, but egregious.

David Wallace

My impression is that editors are reasonably likely to pay attention if you point out things that are clearly factually wrong in a report. They are not likely to pay much attention to arguments against a referee’s academic judgement.

Kevin Timpe

I've asked for reconsiderations twice. Once anpaper was rejected (largely but not only) for getting X's view wrong. Except X told me I had their view right. I passed along X's email (with permission) and I the editor asking for a reconsideration. No dice.

Another time at another journal I had a paper rejected largely for being 'too historical'. I treated it basically like an R&R and reaubmitted an updated version but under a different name, but letting the editor know it was basically the same paper because I thought the inclusion of that material in the earlier version didn't warrant rejection. That submission got an R&R and eventually was eventually published in the journal.

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