I have written a manuscript which is based on some results of a preprint. I have submitted it to a journal and it is under review. Will the reviewers also verify the results of the preprint?

One thing worth mentioning is that my result is groundbreaking (if it is correct!), it seems to me that any reviewer should also verify the results of the preprint to prevent errors.

Edit The preprint was not written by me. I just apply the results of it. I tried to verify the preprint but my knowledge is not sufficient.

  • 4
    I believe there are other Q&A here that address the issue of the responsibility of reviewers: it is not to "verify results". Authors must verify their own work before submitting, it's your job to get it right, not the reviewer! Here's one: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/10611/… I'll try to find some others.
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 6, 2023 at 15:08
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    Sorry if I'm a bit blunt, but the sentence "One thing worth mentioning is that my result is groundbreaking (if it is correct!)" is rather unsettling. Of course, you first have to make sure yourself that your result is correct before you submit it to any journal. Peer review serves as a quality control to safeguard the scientific community (and science itself), not as a proof verification service for authors. Mar 6, 2023 at 15:14
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    Did you verify that the preprint was correct with regard to your work? If not, why not?
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 6, 2023 at 16:44
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    "I tried to verify the preprint but my knowledge is not sufficient." - You shouldn't base your work heavily on things that you cannot understand enough to know is correct. Have you discussed this with your advisor?
    – Bryan Krause
    Mar 7, 2023 at 3:28
  • 9
    ... and if your paper is published, and at some future time the preprint turns out to be wrong, it is you who will be blamed for your wrong paper, not the referees.
    – GEdgar
    Mar 7, 2023 at 11:51

4 Answers 4


The academic review process is prone to errors and has a wide quality range, despite being in general pretty good. This means that individual experience will vary a lot and no-one here can predict what the quality of review will be.

Strong statements demand strong evidence. This means that a reviewer is much more likely to look carefully at the preprint that you are using if you indeed have achieved a "groundbreaking" result.

A competent reviewer will in any case try to assess whether you applied the preprint result correctly.

I am a bit concerned that you might be using the review process as a way to check your result. This is really the author's task. I hope that I just misinterpret the tone of your question.


Because peer review is random, the answer is "maybe".

If your reviewer is diligent, has free time, is a real expert in your field (i.e. they might already be familiar with results adjacent to the one you got or can quickly understand the preprint), etc. - then they might check. See example.

Conversely, if your reviewer is pressed for time, is in a bad mood, is distracted by other upcoming deadlines, etc. - then they might just assume the other manuscript is right.

There might also be cultural/field-specific reasons as to how carefully reviewers are expected to check a manuscript.

Ultimately there is no way to predict what your reviewers will do.


Here is what I would do if I were a referee (my field is math):

  1. Take a quick look at the preprint you are referring to.

  2. If I see that it is clearly wrong, then reject your paper.

  3. If I see that it is clearly right, then continue reading your paper.

  4. If I cannot easily conclude, ask an expert in the area what do they think.

  5. If after step 4 it is still inconclusive, then reject your paper without further reading.

There are some known exceptions to this strategy, e.g. when the preprint in the question is the work of Perelman or Thurston.


For me, the answer is "yes, but".

Before recommending acceptance, I would consider it necessary to check correctness of any preprint on which the paper critically depends.

However, I would not attempt to do this until I am completely convinced that the paper in question is otherwise correct. If there is anything that needs fixing before I can be sure of this, I will just recommend revisions and defer any attempt to check the preprint until the next round. It is possible that the preprint will be an accepted paper by that stage, in which case I can assume it has already been checked.

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