I submitted a paper to a journal and I got extensive reviews, and the paper was rejected, but they encouraged resubmission if I successfully did a bit more science and made other drastic revisions. Note this is not the same as being conditionally accepted; I had to resubmit the paper. Well I did this and the paper was accepted the second go around with minor revisions.

The Journal has the policy that you may post a copy of the preprint, the draft prior to review, on your personal website with a link to the final article which is behind a paywall.

My question is, since they rejected the first draft of the paper, can I ethically call the second draft, the one with major revisions and extra science, the pre-peer review paper. It was the raw draft submitted prior to the second set of reviews after which they accepted the paper. Or because that paper did benefit from the first set of peer reviews, I should post the original first draft? My guess is that I am allowed to post the second draft; what do you think?

  • 1
    Have you asked the publisher?
    – StrongBad
    Jan 8, 2014 at 13:33
  • Are you sure this is the policy? I thought it was more normal that you could use the final version you sent the publisher after peer review but before the journals editing and typesetting. Jan 8, 2014 at 16:57
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    Not Wiley Blackwell: "After publication of the published final version, the right to self-archive on the Contributor’s personal website, or in the Contributor’s institution/employer's institutional repository or archive. This right extends to both intranets and the Internet. The Contributor may not update the submitted version or replace it with the published Contribution. The version posted must contain a legend as follows: This is the pre-peer-reviewed version of the following article: FULL CITE, which has been published in final form at [Link to final article]. Jan 8, 2014 at 17:58

2 Answers 2


It seems clear to me that the answer is post what you call your second draft. The first "round" is a closed chapter because of the reject decision. You should consider your new round as the round of relevance for the final publication; it is a new paper, the old is "dead". The first round draft will be so different from the final that it cannot represent the final version. If you receive a major/minor revision, it means that the submission has intrinsic values that are clear to the reviewers and editor and in such cases the early drafts carry with them enough to mirror the final product. So from this perspective the reject decision is a clear line of separation.

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    +1, although I will never understand why reviewers' contribution is considered part of the publisher's property with respect to author-retained rights. They are not hired by the publisher..
    – user7112
    Jan 8, 2014 at 8:40
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    I am sorry if my answer comes across as stating that reviewers work "belong" to the publisher. I do not think they do. One has to check the copyright of each journal to find out but most journals includes copy editing and type setting into what they copyright. Since reviewing is a voluntary exercise, I think they need to contract reviewers in order to get them into their realm. Maybe that would be a good question to pose here? Jan 8, 2014 at 8:45
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    My comment was a badly expressed generic rant. I was not criticizing your answer. I am sorry for that. I meant that I fail to understand why we accept the fact that the publishers do not usually allow self-archiving of the reviewed version(s) of author-generated papers. This "giving you the right to" self-archive the "before review" version of a paper but not the (still author-generated) reviewed paper somehow implies that the publisher considers the work of the editor and the reviewer as its own property. We as authors (including @user1544793) become afraid of our own produced knowledge.
    – user7112
    Jan 8, 2014 at 13:37
  • @dgraziotin: If you go there, you end up asking why do journals get any copyright at all, and that's a separate discussion... which is unproductive in these comments, and hopefully will be sorted out soon anyway. Jul 8, 2015 at 17:30

Just to add to Peters excellent answer (+1), one of the purposes of publication is to establish priority on discoveries and inventions, and this is established by the "submitted" date that appears on the final published paper.

If the journal is suggesting that you could submit a revised version as a new paper, then the submission date will be the date of the revised version, so it is only fair to treat the second version of the manuscript as the first draft of that paper.

Some journals have decided to get rid of the "revise and resubmit" option following review so that papers are either accepted or rejected (with the possibility of resubmission). This is done so that the journal appears to have a rapid processing time from submission to final publication. I think this is deeply unfair to authors as it is misleading and also could prevent them from getting fair priority on their discoveries. Generally it is also not actually treated as a new paper as it is sent to the same set of reviewers. The journal shouldn't be allowed to have their cake and eat it as well, either it is a new paper, or it isn't - if they reject a paper, they should have no rights over it whatsoever.

  • I really like the "The journal shouldn't be allowed to have their cake and eat it as well, either it is a new paper, or it isn't" point. If they wanted that "first draft" to be the one posted they should have conditionally accepted the paper. Jan 8, 2014 at 16:55

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