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Jonathan Ichikawa

I agree with Marcus. Your resubmission will go through the same steps as the initial submission, starting with an assignment to an associate editor (almost certainly the same one who handled your original submission), and an assignment to referees (probably but not certainly the same ones who gave advice on your initial submission). Editors make decisions; referees give them advice.

I also agree with Marcus that the circumstance described sounds kind of strange, but maybe I'm not understanding what the issue is.

If it's relevant: when you resubmit, you can and should include a cover letter for the editor, explaining what you have done. This can be separate from the detailed list of responses to referees that you will also typically submit.


I think R&Rs really vary in how they are handled. If my memory does not fail me, I believe an R&R from Nous was accepted in two days ... so I assume the editor was merely checking whether I made the required revisions. But I have had longer periods with most other R&Rs. I know of one case where my revised manuscript was sent to new referees ... The result was the editor then rejected it. I argued with the editor, and it was published. Good thing, it has since been cited more than 180 times.


Reviser: can you say something more about your conversation with the editor? Without going into the details of the article, what was the main point you made to the editor?


The editors had taken a VERY long time ... I should say, this was years ago, when they used to mail manuscripts to referees. The journal had been two years my paper - given the revisions - so I insisted that they publish it. And I made a case, in a letter.


Thank you. I wonder how often editorial decisions are reversed as a result of these conversations. Anyone else had similar experiences?

John Ramsey

I had an experience similar to Reviser's. The topic of the paper was comparative—between Mengzi (an early Confucian) and the notion of relational autonomy. Part of my argument involved claiming that, while Mengzi would reject traditional notions of autonomy, he could accept a relational autonomy account.

After the initial R&R (I addressed some objections the reviewers posed), the paper went to a third reviewer (in addition to the first two) and the third recommended rejection—because (they thought) the notion of relational autonomy was incoherent. The editor asked me to address that concern otherwise the paper wouldn't be published.

Instead, I pointed out that I was relying on, at that point, a many decades old literature and, while the participants of that debate hadn't reached consensus, they all thought it was coherent-enough. I also thought there was some sexist bias from the third reviewer and pointed to the tone of the report, some particular remarks, and the flippant way they dismissed a feminist literature. The editor responded a day or two later to say that the paper had been accepted.

Generally, if you have a R&R and adequately and genuinely address the reviewers concerns but the process stalls or turns sideways, then have a discussion with the editor—most of the time they are reasonable.


John Ramsey: thank you, this is very helpful!

Second language speaker

I had an R&R rejected by a 3rd reviewer in a week. I wrote to the editor on how the 3rd reviewer misunderstood my main contribution. They gave me a 4th report, claiming that the 4th report was omitted due to an error in the editorial process. The 4th report said the paper made a terrible point, even though the point was suggested by one of the initial reviewers. The report also told me how my English wasn't up to the standards of the journal.

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