We got the verdict from MS: risky major revision.
In a profession where rejection is norm, this counts as a good news, at least we survive to fight another day.
This is the revision of a rejected paper. In the revision we have addressed every concern raised in the last round. Indeed, I wrote the longest response letter—longer than the revised paper itself—in my career. My attitude is clear: for every issue they raise, we know much better and deeper—they are woefully outgunned, in every dimension.
The revision would have been accepted if we were insiders of the clique. Indeed, we swing referee 1 from ‘major revision’ to ‘minor revision’, and referee 2 from ‘rejection’ to ‘major revision’. They change because they don’t know our identity, so they must judge the paper based on the merit itself.
But the AE (associate editor) knew we are outsiders and determined to kill the paper. If it were up to him, we would have been eliminated in the first round. Fortunately, the DE (department editor), his superior, is a smart and fair guy. Twice, he gives us a fighting change.
Here is the situation: R1 minor revision, R2 major revision, AE rejection, and DE major revision. So if we can persuade R2 to minor revision, AE will have to give in. After all, he does not want to be the bad ass to go against all his peers.
For this month, I will finish TYM and INV first. Then take the MRF revision seriously.
It must come out.