1. Setup the Paper Review Directory in the Repository
If not already done, review the Paper Writing Steps and Guidelines and create a subdirectory called “reviews” in the paper’s repository directory to contain the paper’s review and rebuttal.
Check into this directory a text copy of the email containing the reviewer comments.
As an example to follow through these steps, here are the reviews received on an HPCA paper we wrote in 2008.
(note: despite the relatively mediocre reviews, this paper was ultimately accepted, I suppose we rebutted fairly well… The final version of the paper may be found here.)
2. Reading and Analyzing the Reviews
Read each of the the reviews thoroughly (of course).
Write a text file that contains an itemized list of the reviewer comments from each reviewer.
One of the authors of the paper should write the initial draft of this and check it into the repository in the reviews directory.
3. Collating and Prioritizing Issues
In a new text file break down the reviewer issues into itemized categories (throwing out duplicates).
Sort them from most important to least important and checkin the itemized list as a separate file.
Typically, at this point the paper authors will meet to discuss writing the rebuttal.
4. Write the Rebuttal
In consultation with your coauthors, fill in the itemized issue list with prose either clarifying or describing how the issue will be addressed in the final paper. Some notes:
- Remember to be polite/civil/humble. Even if the reviewer completely misunderstood something fundamental in the paper, remember that this at least partially reflects on the paper’s ability to communicate your ideas to readers.
- Where appropriate, refer to the reviewers by their reviewer number.
- Use easy to identify subject headings for each issue category.
- Write the rebuttal in text. Most conference websites require the rebuttal be input as text.
- Keep an eye on the provided guidelines. Typically rebuttals must be less than ~5000 characters.