I am new to this research world and very confused. I submitted the manuscript to a journal and a few hours after I submitted it, I realized that I had made some mistakes. While I was working on editing the format, I accidentally changed everything back to non-italic. I then italicized many places where it was needed, but not in the reference list. When I looked at the reference list after sending the manuscript, I noticed that mistake and some punctuation mistakes. I sent a new version later, but the day after the editors wrote to say that the manuscript had passed the desk stage and the originality check and would be sent to the reviewers.

I asked about the version they checked and it was the first version. The editors told me that some errors can be corrected in later stages. However, I am worried that my manuscript would be rejected due to this technical error. Please tell me your thoughts on this. This is not a top rated journal and it is my first research. Some professors told me that this should not be a fatal flaw. Thank you.

  • 21
    As a reviewer, I've occasionally mentioned inconsistencies in formatting of the references, but never as a reason for rejection. More generally, anything that can be trivially corrected is no reason for rejection. Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 2:21
  • 4
    Unless the formatting errors (or choices) make the paper extremely tedious (or distracting) to read, it is a non-issue Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 15:00
  • 1
    Very relevant; smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3977
    – Clumsy cat
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


Trust your professors on this one: not a big deal. You even asked the editors and they said it was not a big deal, and these things can be corrected later! Everyone is in agreement.

If your manuscript has flaws that make it difficult to read, reviewers might comment on that and it might reflect poorly on the paper overall, but reference formatting is entirely a style. Different reference formats are different and the people reading your paper don't need a particular format to evaluate the work. Either the editorial staff will fix the formatting or you'll be asked to submit a corrected version if your paper is accepted. It's extremely unlikely this will impact the opinion of the reviewers at all - they'll be focused on the content of your work.

In the future, use a citation manager for your references that automatically formats them for you, to save you time, avoid mistakes, and make it easy to switch between formats as you unavoidably will need to submit some of your work to more than one venue.

I also like to always let a fully ready project sit for a day or two before doing the final submission - a little bit of time can help you catch and fix some of the little things. If you have a submission deadline, that might mean you have to hold yourself to having everything ready a day or two early so you can review again before the actual deadline.

  • 1
    Also, if you can, use a source-code control system or something similar. That way, you can go back to a previous version. Prefer something that you can use to diff two versions (see the differences)
    – Flydog57
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 21:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .