Peer Review History

Original SubmissionJune 25, 2019
Decision Letter - Hafiz T.A. Khan, Editor

PONE-D-19-14424

Is half the world’s population really below ‘replacement-rate’?

PLOS ONE

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Professor Hafiz T.A. Khan, Ph.D

Academic Editor

PLOS ONE

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Additional Editor Comments:

Minor revision.

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Reviewers' comments:

Reviewer's Responses to Questions

Comments to the Author

1. Is the manuscript technically sound, and do the data support the conclusions?

The manuscript must describe a technically sound piece of scientific research with data that supports the conclusions. Experiments must have been conducted rigorously, with appropriate controls, replication, and sample sizes. The conclusions must be drawn appropriately based on the data presented.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

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2. Has the statistical analysis been performed appropriately and rigorously?

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

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3. Have the authors made all data underlying the findings in their manuscript fully available?

The PLOS Data policy requires authors to make all data underlying the findings described in their manuscript fully available without restriction, with rare exception (please refer to the Data Availability Statement in the manuscript PDF file). The data should be provided as part of the manuscript or its supporting information, or deposited to a public repository. For example, in addition to summary statistics, the data points behind means, medians and variance measures should be available. If there are restrictions on publicly sharing data—e.g. participant privacy or use of data from a third party—those must be specified.

Reviewer #1: No

Reviewer #2: No

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Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

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5. Review Comments to the Author

Please use the space provided to explain your answers to the questions above. You may also include additional comments for the author, including concerns about dual publication, research ethics, or publication ethics. (Please upload your review as an attachment if it exceeds 20,000 characters)

Reviewer #1: This paper deals with an interesting topic, i.e. evaluating the variability in contemporary replacement level of fertility instead of empirical estimated level. The paper justified the findings through illustration from different regions. The only flaw of the article is that it is too brief in some places. The following comments are my recommendations about some specific points.

1. The paper requires a careful revision for small typos.

2. TFR=2.1 is usually considered as replacement level of fertility in conventional setting (also in this paper). This value should be denoted using a consistent term all over the paper (say BRF, or some new term).

3. Please summarize the contents and explanations of the graph of Wilson in one or two sentences.

4. In addition to the three sketches, please include few more lines mentioning the importance of a variable replacement level of fertility (say, for national level policy implication).

5. In materials and methods, interpretation of NRR, f(x) and L(x) are missing.

6. Please express all the demographic indicators like TFR, RRF,... in plain texts (instead of italic) all over the paper.

7. There should be two distinct part in the Materials and method section. The first one will be for methods only and the second one will be for data sources with justification notes (where necessary). The word "exercise" should be replaced by illustration or analysis.

8. The statement "This means that 54,364,244 are, effectively, unaccounted for." is not clear.

9. In the result section, the observed TFR should be denoted with a distinct, different notation.

10. The result analysis should be stronger and it could benefit from few more graphical representation (please see the next comments). For instance, the difference between the observed TFR and RRF could be presented from other different point of views. Figure 1 is difficult to understand or compare. A plot with higher resolution is required for that.

11. The statement "Taken together, it is reasonable to assume that the majority of the world's population ... probably also TFR<2.1." is not clear. Please rephrase with further explanation. Beside, this statement is too generalizing without mentioning clear assumption or citing reference.

12. The first part of the result needs more explanation for the observed regional pattern. This global illustration is more convincing for the title of the paper than Indian or Chinese context alone. Both for the global and Indian data, a plot showing the seasonal difference (for selected years) between contemporary replacement level of fertility and RRF will be useful.

13. From the formula of RRF, clearly the variability in replacement level of fertility are attributable to its components (SR_b, L(x) or ASFR). How the different components are affecting the regional scenario? I think including these component-wise detailed findings is out of scope of the current manuscript but some discussion on this should be included.

14. The discussion section will be better with some guidelines regarding further scope of research from the obtained results.

Reviewer #2: The is an interesting paper. I agree with the arguments made by the author. However, I have some minor comments which the author may consider it before the publication.

1. I am unable to get the answer in the conclusion about the title you started with. Is half world population really below replacement level? The analysis and the conclusion seems to be brief and unable to get the correct view of the authors based on the revised calculations. Though the authors have contested the other publications and methods those authors have used for their conclusions in the introduction, I am unable to get answer for it. The figure 1 is not clear to read, proportion of world population below the replacement level over time based on the revised method. It would be good, if you provide a table comparing your proportion of pop with previous authors calculations to prove that how your method has changed the previous authors conclusions in a comparative view. In the case of India, it is clearly shows that proportion below RRF is greater than proportion of pop below the TFR of 2.1. But this was not the case with world population. It is very unclear.

2. Though I agree with the revised method of RRF to be used for the replacement level fertility not TFR 2.1. But I have a concern, how RRF is affected by the tempo effect for a given period. We know that TFR is distorted by changes in timing of births, duration of marriage, parity distribution and at entry into sexual union. How the RRF is affected by these factors because the RRF is estimated from the period ASFR and TFR of a given year. Suppose we use the tempo adjusted TFR for computing the RRF, what would be effect on the proportion of world population below the replacement level (adjusted RRF). In other words, how it would affect your conclusions? What would be your response on this?

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Reviewer #1: Yes: Dr. Ahbab Mohammad Fazle Rabbi

Reviewer #2: Yes: Kannan Navaneetham

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Attachments
Attachment
Submitted filename: Review for PONE-D-19-14424.pdf
Revision 1

Please see attached response to reviewers file.

Attachments
Attachment
Submitted filename: Response to comments.docx
Decision Letter - Hafiz T.A. Khan, Editor

Is half the world’s population really below ‘replacement-rate’?

PONE-D-19-14424R1

Dear Authors, 

We are pleased to inform you that your manuscript has been judged scientifically suitable for publication and will be formally accepted for publication once it complies with all outstanding technical requirements.

Within one week, you will receive an e-mail containing information on the amendments required prior to publication. When all required modifications have been addressed, you will receive a formal acceptance letter and your manuscript will proceed to our production department and be scheduled for publication.

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With kind regards,

Professor Hafiz T.A. Khan, Ph.D

Academic Editor

PLOS ONE

Additional Editor Comments (optional):

Reviewers' comments:

Reviewer's Responses to Questions

Comments to the Author

1. If the authors have adequately addressed your comments raised in a previous round of review and you feel that this manuscript is now acceptable for publication, you may indicate that here to bypass the “Comments to the Author” section, enter your conflict of interest statement in the “Confidential to Editor” section, and submit your "Accept" recommendation.

Reviewer #1: All comments have been addressed

Reviewer #2: All comments have been addressed

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2. Is the manuscript technically sound, and do the data support the conclusions?

The manuscript must describe a technically sound piece of scientific research with data that supports the conclusions. Experiments must have been conducted rigorously, with appropriate controls, replication, and sample sizes. The conclusions must be drawn appropriately based on the data presented.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

**********

3. Has the statistical analysis been performed appropriately and rigorously?

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

**********

4. Have the authors made all data underlying the findings in their manuscript fully available?

The PLOS Data policy requires authors to make all data underlying the findings described in their manuscript fully available without restriction, with rare exception (please refer to the Data Availability Statement in the manuscript PDF file). The data should be provided as part of the manuscript or its supporting information, or deposited to a public repository. For example, in addition to summary statistics, the data points behind means, medians and variance measures should be available. If there are restrictions on publicly sharing data—e.g. participant privacy or use of data from a third party—those must be specified.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

**********

5. Is the manuscript presented in an intelligible fashion and written in standard English?

PLOS ONE does not copyedit accepted manuscripts, so the language in submitted articles must be clear, correct, and unambiguous. Any typographical or grammatical errors should be corrected at revision, so please note any specific errors here.

Reviewer #1: Yes

Reviewer #2: Yes

**********

6. Review Comments to the Author

Please use the space provided to explain your answers to the questions above. You may also include additional comments for the author, including concerns about dual publication, research ethics, or publication ethics. (Please upload your review as an attachment if it exceeds 20,000 characters)

Reviewer #1: (No Response)

Reviewer #2: The authors have addressed all the comments and the paper reads very well. I am fully satisfied with the revised manuscript.

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7. PLOS authors have the option to publish the peer review history of their article (what does this mean?). If published, this will include your full peer review and any attached files.

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Do you want your identity to be public for this peer review? For information about this choice, including consent withdrawal, please see our Privacy Policy.

Reviewer #1: Yes: Dr. Ahbab Mohammad Fazle Rabbi

Reviewer #2: Yes: Kannan Navaneetham, Professor, Department of Population Studies, University of Botswana, Botswana

Formally Accepted
Acceptance Letter - Hafiz T.A. Khan, Editor

PONE-D-19-14424R1

Is half the world’s population really below ‘replacement-rate’?

Dear Dr. Gietel-Basten:

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on behalf of

Professor Hafiz T.A. Khan

Academic Editor

PLOS ONE

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