I submitted my paper in a journal and after five months the reviewer replied as follows. I cannot understand him. Would you please let me what is really he means (bold words below).

Words are omitted ('even [if] an intruder', p. 3), misspelled ('asses' instead of 'assess', p. 4), and extraneous ('a multi-objective problem is about to find a vector', p. 6). Some of the carelessness is substantive (e.g., the definition of pareto dominance, p. 7).

In my Paper:

In my paper

Thank you for your help.

  • 3
    He is saying you left out a word on page 3, you spelled a word wrong on page 4, you have an extra word on page 6 (my guess is that the word is "about". and you have a substantial error in your definition of pareto. Mar 9, 2014 at 16:33
  • 1
    I said before your inequality sign is backwards, but so is everything else. It would be easier to fix by saying "A vector ⃗ v dominates ⃗u denoted by..."
    – Jim
    Mar 9, 2014 at 19:29
  • 1
    In addition to what Jim pointed out, there's the error of defining $\preceq$ (not $\prec$) as a strict inequality by requiring at least one $u_i$ to be different from the corresponding $v_i$. Also, the "e.g." in the reviewer's parenthetical mention of this particular definition suggests that this is not the only substantive error. It would, of course, be nice if the reviewer had listed all the substantive errors that he noticed, but, as a matter of principle, it's the author's job, not the reviewer's, to find and eliminate errors. Mar 10, 2014 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


I would imagine by extraneous the reviewer means more than 'unnecessary' or even 'superfluous', in that about does not belong in the sentence he quotes (though 'about finding a vector' would be acceptable). He seems to be assuming that you failed to edit properly, and left in a word you intended to take out. A clearer usage might be "'This this sentence is incorrect' has an extraneous this".

Substantive appears to be an attempt to find a more impressive way of saying substantial. Substantive has a number of meanings; the closest the OED has is "That has a firm or solid basis; enduring; important, significant, weighty; of substantial extent or amount, considerable." which could fit here, but is certainly no better than substantial itself. The reviewer believes your definition has a careless error, which affects the substance of the paper.


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