I submitted a paper to an applied mathematics journal. I have since found a way to generalize one of the results.

Is it acceptable to update the paper during the first review step even if I have not been requested to improve on this particular aspect?

I understand that this would create extra work for the reviewers since they would have to check that part again. However, writing a brand new paper with the additional result would probably cause even more extra work for the review community. I also understand that a dissemination strategy that incorporates some salami slicing might be better for my career, but somehow I am opposed to doing that kind of thing.

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    Possible duplicate of Adding a citation after paper is accepted because that answer covers what is asked about here. – corey979 Aug 20 at 14:41
  • That question refers to a very minor change after acceptance. I would like to make a somewhat major unrequested change (rewriting 1 or 2 pages) in the middle of the review process. The purpose of the change is to strengthen the contribution. This change will be reviewed by the original reviewers. – Asdf Aug 20 at 14:46
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    Please read the second paragraph of that answer and bear in mind that "overall - aim at the highest quality of the article that you can achieve at the moment". And duplicates are not only for similar questions, but for answers to those questions that answer another one - like here. – corey979 Aug 20 at 14:49
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    I see. But the two questions refer to two different situations. The other question refers to the 'almost-accepted stage'. In the other answer you say that it may happen that an extra sentence or so may be needed to clarify the changes. That is hardly the same as replacing one or two pages of text and requesting the reviewers to evaluate this part a second time. That requires an extra effort of their part. Furthermore, since the change is non-trivial, the reviewers may not agree with it. – Asdf Aug 20 at 15:07
  • Could there be an issue of priority if someone else finds the same result after your submission date? – Keith McClary Aug 21 at 1:43
up vote 20 down vote accepted

Yes, yes it is. Just make it clear when you do so the reviewers can review the new additions.

That said, if you think the result merit a new paper, make a new paper, and reference the one under review.

However, while I am an early stage researcher my suggestion is: have a high ethos when publishing. It is way better to have 1 very good paper than 3 weak-related ones. Your objective is to show the world new research, do not fall in the paper-mill trap. Your worth is in the quality, not in the quantity.

In this case you should inform the editor that you have improved results, indicate briefly what they are and ask for his/her advice. It might depend on the state of your original paper's review, of course.

You could also express your desire that it get updated so that it is more complete. Give your reasons as you express them here.

But if you try that and fail it won't reflect badly on you if you publish the updated results separately.

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