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I (first author) received a decision on a manuscript recently (minor revision). All my co-authors were cc'ed in the decision email and some of them replied to the decision email saying "congratulations" to me while cc'ing the other co-authors.

One of them accidentally cc'ed the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) of the journal!!! Actually, his reply was to the EiC of the journal with me in the cc. I think this horrible as formally the paper is still pending minor revision before publication.

How should I react? Should I just ignore this or send an email to the EiC apologizing for the misdirected email of this co-author? I do not want to overreact but this got me anxious as I have been eager for this paper to get accepted.

  • 51
    Relevant PhD comic. The EiC will just ignore this. – Roland Aug 20 at 12:58
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    You're overthinking this. I've made that same mistake before. Nothing bad happened to me. – Richard Erickson Aug 20 at 13:43
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    As long as the email wasn't "congratulations getting this by this jerk EIC!" they will not care. Minor revisions are reasonable to congratulate - I've never been involved in a minor revisions decision that didn't result in publication on the next submission. – Bryan Krause Aug 20 at 15:30
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    @BryanKrause Even then most EiCs would just laugh it off (or, maybe, reconsider how they are seen in the community). What else is there to do for them? Out of spite backpedal on the paper and reject it? – xLeitix Aug 20 at 15:44
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    Surely this happens on a daily basis. – Anonymous Physicist Aug 20 at 23:12
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I think you can safely ignore it. I don't see how or why the editor would suddenly disfavor your paper because of something like this. They seem to think your paper is worthy of publication and they want to publish such papers, not get upset about small communication glitches.

And, of course, people often get cc'd on emails they shouldn't see, causing minor embarrassment. And I think that it is only that here: minor embarrassment.

Let it go. Someone got a chuckle out of it perhaps, but there isn't any reason for them to take out the big hammer.

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    (+1) they want to publish such papers, not get upset about small communication glitches --- That's what I was thinking also. I think it's all too easy to get caught up in worrying about what others think (I'm certainly not immune from it), and it helps to think back to situations you were in where someone (for me, often a student) thinks the worst about something that maybe I didn't even originally notice, or maybe I had originally laughed it off, thinking "oops, well at least I'm not the only one who does something like this". – Dave L Renfro Aug 20 at 13:06
  • Thanks for the answer! I thought that I might be overreacting to this. I am not doing anything about this. I am sure the EiC is getting a lot of these glitches given the volume of submissions he receives. – user18244 Aug 20 at 23:41
  • I'm not even sure it is an embarrassment, because I think "minor revision" is already worthy of a congratulation, especially with a difficult journal. It is like congratulating someone for reaching the finals in a sports competition before the final match takes place ;-) – Falco Aug 21 at 13:34
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I think this [is] horrible as formally the paper is still pending minor revision before publication.

It's not horrible, just a harmless glitch.

How should I react?

"Have you considered... Masterly Inactivity?"

I do not want to overreact

Good, because emailing the editor-in-chief would be an over-reaction...

PS - More generally - don't get so stressed out! You'll experience much worse gaffes in life to be worried and anxious about :-)

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    Thanks for the answer! I am firmly masterly inactive at the moment :) – user18244 Aug 20 at 23:43
  • Thanks for involving Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey in an good answer. – Carl Christian Aug 21 at 15:59
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    @CarlChristian: Actually, I've been meaning to use that link ever since I answered this question, where I also really wanted to use it, but didn't because it would have been too inconsiderate. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Aug 21 at 22:22
  • Upvoted for "You'll experience much worse gaffes in life to be worried and anxious about :-)". @user18244 should consider this a practice run. Once I sent what I thought would be a private email to a potential investor that I happened to know, and it ended up getting forwarded to my CEO. I had been very candid about the state of the company...that was not a pleasant time :D. Assume every email will get misdirected. It's the safest thing. Candid commentary is best done in person or over the phone where there's no record to be misinterpreted later. E.g. in court. :D – msouth Aug 22 at 14:49
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    @msouth: And let's not forget "Reply All by someone you've BCCed" debacles. Happened to me a couple of times before I learned my lesson. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Aug 22 at 14:55

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