73

Recently my paper was accepted pending major revisions (i.e., not yet accepted), and while following the reviewers' comments and revising my paper, I realized that both reviewers missed a mistake that I made in a function block diagram. What should I do?

  1. Correct it and let them know in the joined point-by-point response?
  2. Wait until they tell me about it?
  3. Ask them to double check that diagram?

I'm afraid it may send the wrong message and I'd look disrespectful by showing them that they missed the mistake.

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Adding a citation after paper is accepted; and a related thread. – user68958 May 9 '18 at 12:16
  • 1
    You could email them asking if that block diagram is okay . – theenigma017 May 9 '18 at 12:22
  • 30
    Just change it and add a note that you noticed and fixed a mistake in diagram 133.21. – Džuris May 9 '18 at 14:06
  • 10
    It is a major revision. It will be reviewed again, supposedly. Fix it, consider mentioning the fix somewhere, but you don't even have to. The reviewers should review the major revision in its entirety, not just the changes. – Anony-Mousse May 10 '18 at 12:18
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    Nitpick: I'm sure your paper was accepted pending major revisions. It's not accepted yet. – Karl May 13 '18 at 15:39
187

YES. The responsibility for correctness of the paper is yours not the reviewers’. The reviewers may help you find errors, but that is secondary to their main function: recommending to the editor whether to publish.

124

Which makes you look worse? Mentioning to the referees that they missed something or publishing a paper with a mistake in it?

Fix the error and include it in the list of changes you've made.

Don't mention that the referees missed it, of course. Just do something like "Response to referee 1: ... Response to referee n: ... Other changes: Figure 4 incorrectly showed blah; fixed.."

30

The text is yours, you can do whatever you want with it (within reason, if you want it to still get accepted, that is).

The reviewers' opinions are just that, opinions. You do not necessarily have to do what they said, although you should justify in the letter why you didn't and how you disagree with them.

And yes, if feasible, you should correct any and all errors that you spot in the process.

  • 1
    Thanks you very much, and It's not about reviewers as much as it is about misleading readers who may read the paper in case it got accepted. Thank you again – KADEM Mohammed May 9 '18 at 12:27
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    @rahul People usually have better things to do than worry with that. I'd just ignore it as childish. Because it is, pointing out that the reviewers missed something is pointless, mostly because hey, you wrote it, you missed it first :) – Fábio Dias May 9 '18 at 13:48
  • @KADEMMohammed Readers wouldn't see the difference unless you published a preprint, and if you did, you should probably update the preprint to correct the mistake as well. – David Z May 9 '18 at 21:40
20

If you plan on having other researchers cite your paper (which you hopefully do), then you can count on your mistake being found by others - either directly, by reading your paper and finding the mistake, or by calling out someone who used your paper, inherited your mistake, and will make sure to pass the bad rep on to you. This is the last thing you want.

Correct it. Even if it were disrespectful to the reviewers (it isn't), not correcting it can potentially affect you a lot more.

10

This is a no-brainer... it is your responsibility that the paper is correct, and it will be your reputation that is tarnished when people notice the mistake. Correct it and tell them in the response that you noticed that mistake, but it has been corrected. Nothing wrong with that at all.

-4

I had made such a correction just three days ago for a paper that I had published almost two years ago. A couple of subscripts were missing from my equations in my published paper. I wrote to the editor and politely asked him to correct it. And within a week it was implemented. yay!

The online version has an editor note like: (Received 13 May 2016; published 23 September 2016; corrected 3 May 2018)

  • 17
    This is interesting but doesn't seem relevant to the question, which is about corrections to manuscripts that are still in peer review, not manuscripts that have already been published. – David Richerby May 9 '18 at 12:57

protected by Alexandros May 12 '18 at 19:21

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