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Recently our group has submitted a manuscript with me as the leading author. The manuscript is about computation and modeling, which involves lots of data analysis. Right now the manuscript is under review.

Today I just found that my manuscript has some errors and should be corrected, and some key figures should be revised, too. Even if the final conclusion wouldn't be affected, I still believe I should correct these errors. So at this moment, I really don't know how to proceed. Should I notify the journal and ask them to stop reviewing? Or should I wait and revise everything once I hear back from the journal?

I believe research integrity and honesty are critically important, and I hope I can make it up properly!

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    Are they just minor errors? What do your co-authors think?
    – Kimball
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 14:18
  • If your subject is math, this was already addressed on MO. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 22:50
  • Your second paragraph is so eloquent, I would include it (before the questions at the end) verbatim in my letter to the assigned editor.
    – Alexis
    Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 15:54

2 Answers 2

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Tell the journal now. They can cancel the review process and return the manuscript to you for revision.

It's better to make your revisions now than after they have made a formal 'revise' decision, because it sounds like the errors are pretty major, in which case you don't want to waste your reviewers' time. Comparatively, if for example there's a typo somewhere with no material impact on your results, you can fix that during revision.

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    I agree that the description in the question sounds "major". Still, if the editor judges the errors to be sufficiently minor based on OPs more detailed description, they can also decide to go on with the review process and have it dealt with during revision. In any case, it's up to the editor to decide, so +1. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 19:09
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    I disagree on one point: They should discuss with their co-authors, or at the very least let them know, before contacting the journal.
    – usul
    Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 0:01
  • I just checked again. It is not that serious, but still needs to revise two figures. I will talk to the corresponding author. Thanks for your advice! Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 6:37
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Don't worry about it for now. It is not published yet. Fix the problems during revision. It is unlikely your paper will be accepted as is. If so, I would be worried about the journal you are submitting to. Otherwise, during revision, fix the mistakes even if the reviewers did not query them, and inform the reviewers and editor of the changes so that they pay attention to your changes when you resubmit your paper. If the paper is rejected because of your mistakes, then too bad. Go to another journal.

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    I think it is difficult to judge from the information we have available whether the reviewers can reasonably be expected find out the mistakes by themselves. Maybe 'I would be worried about the journal if they do accept your paper' is a bit too harsh?
    – user_phys
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 16:59
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    Perhaps you should re-read what I wrote. I said a journal that accepts a paper 'as is', meaning no revision. The only journals I know of that do so are predatory journals. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 19:55
  • I agree with this answer. Perhaps the referees spot the problems. But either way: In each round of revision, one typically writes a letter to the editor and an answer to the referees. There, you can explicitly say that you found these errors, and explain how you corrected them for the new manuscript.
    – QuantumAI
    Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 15:43

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