I just finished a rebuttal to reviewers’ comments about a paper I submitted to CHI 2010. I had a grand time — I laughed, I cried. I drafted replies, then slept on it. Etc etc.
If you’ve written a rebuttal before, you may be familiar with some of these techniques. I used these strategies for writing a clear rebuttal and dealing with the review process:
Filed under writing a clear rebuttal:
- Organize your rebuttal by issues related to the methodology, analysis, and design implications separately. I gave them section headers.
- Itemize your points and give your points titles.
- Then address each one next to its title. Stick to the facts and don’t apologize. You will make the following changes in the revision.
- Mention which reviewer(s) brought up each issue. This will make them feel good, and will show your attention to details.
- Address all points, even little minor ones. A typo in my paper was mentioned by several reviewers — I addressed it in the rebuttal.
- Avoid telling reviewers how stupid and pig-headed their comments were. (This is where you cry and sleep on it.) Instead tell them how much you love them. You might even tell them that twice.
Filed under dealing with the rebuttal process:
- Complain on Twitter. I found lots of comrades when I did this.
- Write a blog post. Last week several good ones were written (and got exposure, comments, etc.) by James Landay and Gene Golovchinsky.
- Draw a comic! I am actually in the process of drawing my second (ever) comic on what’s wrong with the academic review process. Stay tuned!**
**Isn’t it ironic that I had to write my rebuttal before I could dedicate time to illustrating what’s wrong with the process. However, the writing of the thing also gave me good fodder for the comic
I’d love to hear your thoughts about what other strategies you employ in writing rebuttals (either similar or different from mine here)! Good luck to everyone who’s still writing!