Rebuttal letter (Guide & Sample Letters)

A rebuttal letter is a response to reviewers and editor’s comments after an author or researcher submit their work for publication. You will hardly find a manuscript that has been submitted for publishing with no suggested revisions.

Every journal or publication site has their set guidelines for publication. When an author submits their manuscript for publication, it goes through the hands of reviewers/editors to figure out if the author has adhered to submission guidelines and if their work is ready for publication. The letter will respond to the reviewer’s comments besides revising the manuscript.

You can also use the letter to counter false accusations, an appeal for performance evaluation report at work or in legal circles to counter false evidence.

Authors find challenges in writing such letters. If you’re in doubt on how to respond to reviewers’ comments, use templates and samples.

Things to keep in mind when writing a rebuttal letter

  • Appreciate the reviewer’s comments. Appreciate the reviewer’s comments as a way to better your work. You must recognize the reviewers have a more profound understanding of the guideline’s authors should follow to have their work published.
  • Thank the reviewers. As an author, you need to appreciate that the reviewers took the time to go through your work before highlighting the changes you need to make on your manuscript. Start your rebuttal letter with positivity; thanking your reviewers for their comments.
  • Be positive. It’s factual, as an author you took due diligence to prepare your manuscript before submitting it to reviewers. This notwithstanding, you must embrace positivity when you receive the reviewer’s comments. Their work is to make sure you present the best form of your work for publication. You must be ready to have your manuscript revised severally before publication.
  • Respond to all reviewer comments. Whether you agree with the reviewer’s comments or not, make sure you answer all the comments from the reviewers. You must copy the reviewers’ comments in your letter and include a response to every query alongside the comment. If you’re in disagreement with any comment, back your response with relevant data and information. You can opt to use different fonts or color to distinguish your response from the reviewer’s comments.
  • Indicate the corrections you’ve made. When resubmitting your world, you must offer adequate information on the corrections you’ve made to enable the reviewers to recognize the corrections you’ve made to your manuscript easily. If two or more reviewers have commented on the same issue, guide them to the response.
  • Include complete citations. Avoid using the name of the first author and the initials- et al. for your citations. Include full references to enable the reviewers to look up for the references.

Things to avoid when writing a rebuttal letter

  • Avoid negativity. You should take the receiver’s comments positively. Never assume reviewers are biased or incompetent. View the reviewer’s comments as the best way to deliver the best to your readers/audience.
  • Avoid excuses. In your response to the editor’s comments, you should not give monetary excuses or any other excuse as a valid reason why you could not make corrections or repeat an experiment.
  • Don’t rephrase the reviewer’s comments. Before responding to the reviewer’s comments, make sure you’ve understood what they meant. While responding to the remarks copy the reviewer’s comments as they are. Avoid rephrasing the comments since the act can change what the respondent had in mind.
  • Avoid generalized answers. In your rebuttal letter, make sure you respond specific reviewer’s comments while avoiding general responses. Exhaustively answer all the queries. Avoid instances where you only answer a few comments leaving the rest unanswered.

#1 Sample rebuttal letter/email

College of health science
San Diego State University

5500 Campus Road

San Diego CA 92182-7720

Dear reviewers,

We’re thankful for your kind comments on our manuscript following our submission for publication.

We’ve re-looked at the manuscript and changed in line with your comments.

The edited manuscript has a well-organized coding system that’ll guide you on the changes we’ve made.

Once more we thank you for the comments. We believe the research findings are now ready for publishing.



Professor Mark Ottoman

On behalf of all authors

#2 Sample rebuttal letter/email

April 4, 2019

Jack Smith


Jungles connections ltd

50200 State Lane

San Diego CA 45033- 5680

Dear Mr. Smith,

Thank you for the evaluation response letter dated [date]; a report of the evaluation of my performance for the past none year at Jungle Connections.

Though I appreciate your response following the review, I’m not in agreement with the results of the evaluation that I’m the worst employee in the company.

The reviewers made a decision based on my performance at our State lane branch, yet they ignored my performance at Reserve Road branch.

In consideration of the above reason, I appeal for a reversal of the decision and request a fair hearing and a second evaluation by another set of reviewers.

I await a favorable response and a new evaluation.


Jim Kimberly

Store’s department

Type of rebuttal letter

Legal rebuttal letter

A legal rebuttal letter is a document that counters claims, and evidence presented by presenting a side of the story not known to the attorneys. In the letter include;
  • Fresh evidence to counter the present evidence
  • The correct version of the case
  • Reasons to disregard the former evidence

Performance review rebuttal letter

A performance review rebuttal letter serves as an appeal for the employee’s performance report. Most companies conduct a yearly evaluation for all their staff to determine their performance over the specified period. The letter should include these details;
  • Name and designation of the employee
  • An appreciation of the performance report
  • Reasons for disagreeing with the performance report
  • Measures you’d like the management to take

Rebuttal letter to false accusations

If you’re falsely accused in the media or at your workplace, you can write a rebuttal letter to counter the allegations. Your letter should feature the following information;
  • A summary of the false accusations
  • Your side of the story
  • Actions to be taken

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