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Article
Peer-Review Record

Managing Sustainable Transitions: Institutional Innovations from India

Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6076; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116076
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Anonymous
Reviewer 4: Anonymous
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6076; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116076
Received: 1 March 2021 / Revised: 11 May 2021 / Accepted: 17 May 2021 / Published: 28 May 2021

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

This is an original and innovative contribution that links specific cases studies to much bigger questions. 

Author Response

 

Reviewer 1

This is an original and innovative contribution that links specific cases studies to much bigger questions. 

 

Response: We thank the reviewer for recognising and appreciating our efforts to link specific cases to larger ideas in the sustainable transition initiatives. We have additionally revised the manuscript substantially based on comments by other reviewers.

Reviewer 2 Report

Dear authors,

 

Thank you for submitting your truly interesting article. The topic is stimulating and very up-to-date, however, the paper lacks many sections which shall be included in any scientific paper:

  1. Methodology – you are using the method of case study which reminds of more ethnographic approach of collecting testimonies. Your paper does not include the section on methodology so it is hard to follow this method. Also, this section would include potential bias and limitations. Please add this section and carefully provide arguments for using specific methods you chose.
  2. Literature review is partially done in the introduction section, but it should be separated and provided in more depth. This is not just for the sake of filling empty space, but the literature should be compared to results in the discussion section.
  3. Also please add conclusion where you briefly summarize your results and provide some implications for further research

Additionally:

  1. Table 1 on line 409 nicely compares the case studies, but it lacks more comment to this comparison, I recommend to elaborate more on this
  2. Similarly, please discuss the matter of scaling up your case studies, if it is possible, under what circumstances etc.
  3. Lines 104-112 I wonder if these rooftop gardens do have a potential to have an impacts on the supply of food in India / worldwide. More evidence/references would be welcome

Lastly, please closer pay attention to small typos and formatting issues.

Author Response

Thank you for your review comments. We have tried our best to address them. Please see the attachment for a detailed response.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 3 Report

In this paper, authors present three case studies from India to analyse how external disruptions could act as game changer for agricultural practices to shift toward sustainability. Case studies embrace different type of agricultural systems and transition options.

The diversity of case studies should allow the reader to have a global picture on how external disruptions act as game changers and which components of the agro-socio system drive to more sustainability. Unfortunately, the very narrative path taken by authors do not allow going further than a descriptive understanding of case studies. I understood that authors take advantage of their networks to present a diversified set of success stories. I do appreciate this, and I do think that this approach deserves to be published in international literature. But, to achieve their goal, authors should consider a less narrative paper and present a conceptual reflexion that will allow the international reader to understand regime shifts globally in order to foresee those changes in their own system. Table 1 is a first attempt to have this global framework, but my feeling is that the author should go further and purpose, for all case studies, a functional framework of the agro-socio systems before and after the external disruption and draw where regimes was shifted (the role of women, local stakeholders implications, founding and loans systems, certification system, supply chain, to take somehighlighted by the three case studies …) and how it can be linked to a specific game changer. Indeed, the authors stated that they want to test how Covid-19 can act as a game changer but from my understanding, only the third case study can be linked to the pandemic situation. For the first one, changes started in 2018 (line 117) and embraced by authorities with no mention of the Covid-19 situation (line 125). In The second case, regime shift is explained to be occurred because of severe drought and inadequate loan systems. I agree that pandemic could act as a game changer but in this paper, authors present Covid-19 as the only one and this do no match with all case studies. From my perspective, authors do not need to rely only on pandemic to assert their reflexion. They can just point out that regime shift need an external game changer disruption and that with 3 case studies, they will show how agro-socio systems can tend to more sustainability according to the origin of the disruption. If authors manage to present a kind of "before" and "after" functional framework for all case studies, they could show as game changers will act differently on the agro-socio system components. This approach could allow generalization of authors perspective keeping a case studies approach.

I do realize that my comment implies major changes in the structure of the paper. I do hope authors do not consider my remarks as an invasive posture toward their publishing strategy. My only concern is how the 3 cases studies could best be added value for the international community.

Some general comments :

Line 27 : catastrophic : maybe consider using less dramatic terms. I don't want to minor anthropogenic impacts but avoiding anxiogenics terminology in a scientific paper could help the reader.

Lines 37-38, same comment

Line 45 : misspelled word ?

Line 47 to 53 : From my perspective, this part crucial to emphasize to in the introduction.

Line 142 : in fact, regime shift have been made before Covid-19 (see line 25). Lockdown gave more opportunities but cannot be really considered as the game changer.

Lines 191 to 198 : my feeling is that part could better fit in the introduction

Author Response

Thank you for the detailed comments. Please see the attachment for our responses to the concerns raised. 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 4 Report

Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to review the paper “Managing Sustainable Transitions: Institutional Innovations 2 from India”. The paper is very interesting as it showcases three cases of sustainable transitions. Authors have done a great job in positioning their description against the need for shifting to more sustainable production systems and processes. Nevertheless, the paper lacks the basic elements of a research paper. First, I don’t see a literature review on how game-changers triggered sustainable transitions in other cases. Second,  I don’t see the methodological framework that drives the analysis of the case studies. Without a theoretical or methodological framework, it is very hard to understand the contribution of the paper. In order to improve their paper, authors should make clear what type of method did they use in order to evaluate the three institutional innovations. A discussion about how past research dealt with this issue is very important. I can see in Table 1 that the authors used some attributes (Practice and Transition elements) to compare the case studies. Therefore, they could explain how these attributes were selected. Is this the result of a literature review or just a selection that they made on their own? Moreover, in the discussion and only after the presentation of the case studies, authors refer to one past relevant case (i.e. Millets in Tribal Areas of Odisha).  So, it would be very nice if they had already presented a framework where they could compare their cases with some additional past ones (like the Millets in Tribal Areas of Odisha) based on this framework. I believe, that this could help the readers understand the innovative elements of the Indian cases and future researchers in evaluating similar cases.  

All in all, I see potential in the paper. I will opt for major revision and I will be happy to propose the acceptance of the paper provided that the authors presented a methodological framework for their study and compared their cases with past ones using this framework, in order to highlight what is the new contribution of their selected cases to our knowledge around sustainable transitions.

Author Response

We are thankful for the suggestions and comments provided by the reviewer. Our responses are detailed in the attachment. 

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 2

Reviewer 2 Report

Dear authors,

 

thank you very much for taking the time to carefully include the comments of both reviewers. I checked the paper and the changes and the paper is now more readable and well-rounded. 

 

I have no more comments and I recommend accepting the paper as it is.

 

lastly, thoughts and prayers to India and its another wave of pandemics. coming from a country that was recently badly hit, too, i wish you all safety and good health.

Author Response

We are glad that the revisions were found to be satisfactory, and thank the reviewer for his/her wishes and prayers. We are ardently hoping for things to get better in India. 

Reviewer 4 Report

I would like to congratulate the authors on their improved manuscript. After considering their revisions, I suggest the acceptance of the paper.

Author Response

We are glad that the revisions were found to be satisfactory, and are grateful for the extremely helpful comments.

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