In general, journals give about 1 month for you to revise a manuscript because of a presentation or language problem and about 3 months for revisions needing re-analysis or new studies. Estimate the time needed and negotiate with the journal early on, if you are keen to revise and resubmit.
If you choose to resubmit to the same journal, you should perform any additional requested experiments or analyses, or consider whether you can reasonably justify not doing this for some of the experiments. If that is the case, you will need to provide a well-reasoned argument for not conducting the suggested work: for example, because the suggested experiments fell outside the scope of your study. Your manuscript will need to be revised based on any new data, perhaps following consultation with a statistician, and you should also prepare a response letter.
Structure of a response letter
The response letter should resemble a short version of the cover letter. Its tone should be polite, business-like, and clear. Address the first part to the journal editor. State the manuscript reference number and title so that the editor can refer to previous correspondence about your submission.
Here is an example of a manuscript originally submitted to the British Journal of Haematology:
“Dear Professor Smith,
Re: manuscript reference no. BH0914325J Please find attached a revised version of our manuscript…”
Then, thank the journal editor and reviewers for receiving and reviewing your manuscript. For example, “We would like to thank you and the reviewers for your insightful comments, which have greatly helped us to improve the quality of our manuscript.”
Give an overview of the main changes you made to your study and explain how you have indicated these revisions in the manuscript. For instance, “In accordance with the comments of Reviewer 1, we deleted the table and prepared a new summary figure (Fig. 6). Our revisions to the text are highlighted in yellow and the deletions are shown as strikethrough font. Our point-by-point responses to the reviewers’ comments are shown below.*
Complete this part of the response letter by signing off as you did for the cover letter, e.g. “We hope that these revisions are sufficient to make our manuscript suitable for publication in the British Journal of Haematology and look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.”
Then provide the full contact details of the corresponding author and list your point-by-point responses below.