I submitted a paper to a journal a few months ago and applied for a research grant one year ago. Currently, my grant application has not yet been awarded, but I anticipate that it will be granted in approximately two months. The exact date, however, is unknown.

I intend to include my grant number in the acknowledgments section of my paper, as per the grant policy. However, my grant number is currently not available as my application is still in progress. Last week, I received a report from the journal indicating that only minor revisions are required and I have one month to submit my revisions.

Question 1: What should I do if my paper is accepted before I receive my grant number? Question 2: Is it possible to ask the journal to add my grant number after the online version of my paper is published?

My questions may appear illogical or unethical, but let me explain how grants work in my location.

Applying for a grant is like playing a game. Once your grant application is successfully awarded, you are given a specific time period, often 1 or 2 years, to "finalize" it. If you cannot finalize your awarded grant within this time frame, you will not receive any funding.

To finalize a research grant, you must acknowledge the grant with a grant number in your published papers. The number of papers and the time frame in which they must be published are specified in the grant policy. If you cannot meet these requirements, you will not receive any financial support and will likely have a negative reputation in the academic community.

So I am following the rules and trying to meet them. If I were a very smart person who could produce many papers in the future, I wouldn't be worried about this matter.

  • 18
    You need to explain why you think that a grant that hasn't been awarded has contributed to the paper and thus requires acknowledgement. Otherwise this makes no sense.
    – Buffy
    Feb 4, 2023 at 15:19
  • 6
    Can you link to your funder's terms and conditions which lay out the rule described in your edit? Those conditions seem exceptionally unusual, and as others have noted seem quite against normal standards for the acknowledgement of grants. Feb 5, 2023 at 0:35
  • 4
    You're basically asking how to cheat the system. It's no surprise that you aren't getting any help.
    – DonQuiKong
    Feb 5, 2023 at 9:24
  • 2
    What you are describing is not a grant but a form of contract, where you receive payment at the end of the contract against deliverable. Honestly, something’s not right as you have explained things: if they are as you suggest, then it is incumbent on the organization awarding the grant to give you the “grant number”, as this number is required for completion of the “grant”. Feb 5, 2023 at 16:03
  • 4
    The simplest solution in this case is to contact the funding agency and ask them directly how to proceed as you do not have this grant number. Feb 5, 2023 at 16:05

3 Answers 3


You list grant numbers in the acknowledgments because the grant supported the work presented in the paper. But since you have not been awarded the grant, it cannot have supported the work in question. Consequently, you should not list the grant in the paper.

  • I think the judgement on this depends very much on the grant policy (and essentially where you live). I just want to find a solution for my situation.
    – user167557
    Feb 4, 2023 at 13:04
  • 8
    @FieldAussie: If you think your funding agency (which you did not name) is this unusual, then contact them directly. Feb 4, 2023 at 15:20
  • 7
    @FieldAussie You might want to consider that you are in fact mistaken about your situation. Since it is clearly impossible the acknowledge a grant number before it has been assigned (unless your grant is about time travel), it clearly cannot be the grant policy that you do so.
    – TimRias
    Feb 4, 2023 at 17:12
  • 4
    I am fairly certain that you misunderstand the grant policy, as others have already mentioned. If you understood it correctly, how far back would you want to go to correct papers for grants you received years later? Feb 4, 2023 at 17:30
  • @WolfgangBangerth "I would like to acknowledge grant #XXXX-XX-XXXXXX, which I received 30 years ago. It has set me on the research path I have been following since. Its importance for this paper could not be overstated, as the research presented here would not be possible without that invaluable support."
    – Lodinn
    Feb 5, 2023 at 7:44

You should not acknowledge support from a grant for work done prior to the awarding of said grant, irrespective of the date you applied for the grant. The policy of all grants I know applies only for work done during a period covered by the grant.

In your situation it would be incorrect to put a grant number in your revised paper.

  • Yes, but it is always safer to put in relevant papers that come out at the beginning of the grant. Jul 9, 2023 at 16:12

One possibility is to ask the journal for more time to submit the revisions (which they are likely to agree to since they probably have plenty of papers happy to have their publication dates bumped up slightly earlier). Then, if your grant application is accepted and you start receiving grant money while you are still working on the revisions, then the grant is supporting the paper and it is acceptable to acknowlege the grant in the revised paper.

I don't know if this is really a great choice, but it seems like an ethical choice to me (presumably you have plenty of other work you can be doing while you're waiting to do the revisions).

It's certainly not ethical (as others have pointed out) to list a grant that you haven't received or that didn't contribute to the paper; and the journal won't change any published version after it's published (that would be unethical on their part).

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