Sample Responses to Letters from Academic and Scientific Journal Editors

Sample Responses to Letters from Academic and Scientific Journal Editors
Each letter to an journal editor is unique, so the following letters are only examples, but they will provide you with ideas about how to format and word your own replies to academic and scientific editors. The letters are completely fictional, with invented names and situations. The complete addresses may not be necessary if you’re communicating with an editor via email, as is so often the case these days, but I’ve included them to show the layout of a formal letter. For your own mailing address, it would be best to use university or department letterhead if available and provide your personal name, phone number and email address beneath the letterhead.
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The first letter (A.1) posits that the journal editor is interested in the journal article and thinks it appropriate for the journal, but has pointed out a number of problems with the formatting, structure and referencing style of the paper as the reason for not accepting it. Whether or not the paper will be reconsidered or accepted if the necessary revisions are done remains uncertain, so the letter aims to confirm that the paper will be seriously reconsidered and ideally accepted if the necessary changes are made. It does this by thanking the editor for his helpful advice, indicating that the author understands the problems and is in the process of correcting them, and asking whether the editor would like to reconsider the journal paper for publication.

Assuming that the first letter received a positive response, the second letter (A.2) is designed to accompany the revised paper once all the necessary changes to formatting, structure and referencing have been made. It explains exactly what’s been done to correct the problems, addressing all of the concerns about the format, structure and references raised by the journal editor. It also explains one change that may prove problematic and offers an alternative solution. Finally, it verifies that a professional proofreader has checked the article and indicates a willingness on the part of the author to make any further changes that may be necessary to facilitate successful publication.
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Letter A.1: Earning or Confirming Serious Reconsideration or Conditional Acceptance

Dr Sandra Jones
Department of Social Sciences
University of the Pacific Coast
P.O. Box 101
Salmon Cove, British Columbia
V2K 3L4 Canada
(609) 741-8955
sandra.jones@univpaccoast.ca

Mr Reginald Smith, Editor
Journal of Changing Weather
P.O. Box 707
River Rapids, Oregon
76545 USA
(972) 861-9805
smith.editor@jchangweath.com

March 3, 2014

Dear Mr Smith,

Thank you for your letter regarding my manuscript entitled “Effect of Changing Weather Patterns on Home Insurance Policies: Clients Left Out in the Cold?” I’m delighted that you’re interested in the paper and think it might be appropriate for the Journal of Changing Weather.

I very much appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into your comments. Your advice about the formatting, structure and referencing style of my paper is most helpful. I’ve looked over the Journal of Changing Weather author guidelines again and see exactly where I’ve gone wrong and what changes need to be made. Once I’ve made the necessary revisions, I plan to have the paper professionally proofread to ensure that I’ve met all the requirements consistently.

However, I remain unsure about whether you’re willing to reconsider the article once the necessary changes have been made, so I’m hoping you can confirm that you’d like me to send you the revised paper for reconsideration or publication. I’ve begun working on the revisions already and will be able to return the article to you within a couple of weeks.
With thanks for your time and assistance,

[sign here for a formal letter]
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Sandra Jones

Letter A.2: Resubmitting a Paper after Necessary Revisions Have Been Made

Dr Sandra Jones
Department of Social Sciences
University of the Pacific Coast
P.O. Box 101
Salmon Cove, British Columbia
V2K 3L4 Canada
(609) 741-8955
sandra.jones@univpaccoast.ca

Mr Reginald Smith, Editor
Journal of Changing Weather
P.O. Box 707
River Rapids, Oregon
76545 USA
(972) 861-9805
smith.editor@jchangweath.com

March 15, 2014

Dear Mr Smith,
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Further to our correspondence a couple of weeks ago, I’m attaching the revised version of my article entitled “Effect of Changing Weather Patterns on Home Insurance Policies: Clients Left Out in the Cold?” I have now completed all of the changes you requested:

  • The numerical style of in-text referencing has been changed to author-date referencing in APA style.
  • The list of references has been arranged alphabetically by the last names of authors instead of numerically, and other changes to conform to APA style have been made to the references.
  • The article has been restructured to include separate Limitations and Conclusions sections.
  • All headings and subheadings have been adjusted to conform to the requirements indicated in the Journal of Changing Weather author guidelines, including the removal of numbers.
  • All nonstandard abbreviations and acronyms used in the paper have been defined on first use and used consistently thereafter.
  • Abbreviations used in each table have been defined in a note at the bottom of the table.
  • The vertical rules/lines have been removed from all three tables.
  • The tables are now attached as a separate file instead of embedded in the paper.

I should mention, however, that Table 3 seems a little crowded without the vertical lines separating the information in the columns, and I’m concerned that the presentation may not be as clear as it was with the lines. I see that the guidelines indicate that tables should be on a vertical/portrait page, but I also notice that a few articles in the printed version of the Journal of Changing Weather feature tables on a horizontal/landscape page, so perhaps that would be a good layout for increasing the clarity of Table 3. I’m certainly open to any suggestions you have for this table.
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I’m also attaching a certificate from Proof-Reading-Service.com verifying that the article has been professionally proofread with special attention to meeting the Journal of Changing Weather author guidelines for formatting, structure and referencing.

I hope that the changes I’ve made resolve all your concerns about the article. I’m more than happy to make any further changes that will improve the paper and/or facilitate successful publication.

Thank you once again for your time and interest. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

[sign here for a formal letter]

Sandra Jones
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