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I am a recent Ph.D. graduate applying to postdoc positions, and I am a bit uneasy about the small number of publications I have worked on. However, the main paper I worked on during my Ph.D. was accepted by a reputable journal with no requested changes from the anonymous peer reviewer (which my advisor said is nearly unheard of for this journal). Is it reasonable for me to say "accepted without revisions" or "passed peer review without revisions" when listing it on my CV? Also, would it be appropriate to mention this anywhere else, e.g., a cover letter or research statement? It is a long paper, and I'm one of just two authors, so I feel that this might look impressive and help mitigate not having many other publications.

On the other hand, I wonder if it would come off as weird, unusual, or off-putting. There is also no way for the reader to verify the claim.


I should add that it was the anonymous peer reviewer who had no revisions, and recommended the article for publication without any changes. The journal editors did ask us to make small revisions to the formatting.

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    FWIW, most reputable journals gather multiple reviews of prospective papers. It strikes me as very odd for the paper to be published based on a single review, especially when that review is so anomalous as to be described as "unheard of". Nov 13, 2023 at 14:31
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    I expect that to be mildly complimentary if it's said about a PhD Thesis (accepted without revisions). For a paper, it does not say anything. Could be an excellent paper, or a sloppy review. Nov 13, 2023 at 14:37
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    Football coaches tell their players, with respect to celebrations, to act like they've seen the end zone before, and will again Nov 14, 2023 at 0:04
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    I really like this question. In a nutshell, it can be rephrased as asking whether having a paper accepted without revisions is a notable accomplishment in the way that, say, being first author on a paper in your third year of undergraduate or getting 20 publications in Science before you are 25 would be. Nov 14, 2023 at 0:32
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    @NuclearHoagie Some astronomy journals only have a single reviewer. Depending on the field, it's not that peculiar. Although I'll note that I've never had a paper accepted without revisions nor had no comments when reviewing a paper. Nov 14, 2023 at 23:20

10 Answers 10

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Do NOT add a remark that a paper was accepted "without revisions" to any of your application documents.

The ease of getting a paper published is rarely an indicator of its quality. It is more likely that it is an indicator of the quality of peer review. In my experience, revising papers after receiving reviewer comments (especially if this meant that the paper was rejected and I had to submit elsewhere) help make them better.

If you want that this paper stands out in your application materials, make sure that your advisor highlights in their reference what makes this paper special. But note that neither length nor amount of revisions make a paper stand out. This could achieve your goal of compensating for the low number of published papers.

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  • Although this answer doesn't have the most votes, I'm accepting it because of the helpful suggestion it contains (and because otherwise, all the answers pretty much say the same thing).
    – Will
    Nov 14, 2023 at 14:38
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    It's the use of boldface that clinches it, I would say.
    – einpoklum
    Nov 14, 2023 at 20:36
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I would most readily assume that a paper accepted without revisions went through some fairly lackadaisical peer review rather than being so perfect that experts in the field couldn't find a single thing wrong with it. I'd like to think that my papers that went through revisions before publication are better papers because of it.

I'd also assume someone bragging about this is fairly inexperienced with the peer review process and/or trying to pad a resume.

Given those things, I'd strongly recommend against it. There's no honest way to make a published paper on your CV more than exactly what it is.

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    There's no honest way to make a published paper on your CV more than exactly what it is. Maybe if there's a "best paper award" or something?
    – Allure
    Nov 14, 2023 at 6:54
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    If you got a nobel prize for it, that might be worth mentioning. On the other hand, whoever you're applying to will already know about it.
    – Christian
    Nov 14, 2023 at 12:18
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No, you shouldn't do this. It will just come across as though you're trying to pad out your CV.

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Bad idea. Personally, I much prefer having constructive comments than no comment at all from a reviewer, so in my mind a paper accepted without review is just one that was not improved as a result laziness of a referee.

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    Is there a process to appeal against such "laziness of a refree" Nov 13, 2023 at 16:39
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    I have had a couple of papers accepted without revisions in my career, and while I think they were good papers, they were certainly not perfect. Specifically, I know from subsequent conversations that they could have been clearer. A more exacting referee could have helped with that.
    – Buzz
    Nov 14, 2023 at 13:38
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If the paper has been accepted for publication but is not yet published, I would just describe it as "accepted". It's certainly more common to see than "paper accepted without revisions", and without knowing the quality and detail level of the referee report(s) it communicates the same amount of important information. If the paper has been published, just list the publication details (presumably in a standard citation format), which, again, are the important information. Think of it this way: if there are two applicants for a position, the fact that your paper was accepted without revision while the other candidate's paper was accepted after major revision is not going to be what determines the outcome.

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    Normally a paper only is officially accepted if no revisions are required anymore (other than correcting typos and the like). So I agree that the paper should be listed as "accepted for publication", and that's really all information there is. Nov 12, 2023 at 22:54
  • Isn't "accepted" implicit when you include the conference/journal anyways? Presumably in some standard citation format. Nov 13, 2023 at 13:42
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    For the latter, I meant that the published works are listed in a conventional format, e.g. My Name, Julius Caesar, and Albert Einstein, “A quantum theory of Caesar salads,” in Proceedings of Culinary Physics, 2020, pp. 42–2112. Nov 13, 2023 at 14:28
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    @MateenUlhaq Thanks. Given that OP only described the paper as accepted, it never crossed my mind that it might be published. I agree it's implicit that a published paper was accepted at some stage. Will edit.
    – Anyon
    Nov 13, 2023 at 14:31
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    Some people also use "in press" for the stage where the paper is officially accepted, but the full citation (e.g., page or issue numbers) aren't yet known.
    – Matt
    Nov 14, 2023 at 20:13
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Getting a paper accepted speaks for itself. No one cares how the sausage is made, only that it was made and tastes delicious. A good paper that was accepted after ten rounds of revisions is still a good paper, and a mediocre paper that was accepted with no revisions is still mediocre.

You should only brag about impressive achievements. Getting a paper accepted is impressive (assuming the journal is reputable). The fact that it was accepted without revisions is not, and could even suggest bad things about the journal and/or referee.

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If you systematically had papers accepted without revisions, I would start to consider building a statistics, either thinking you are a genius, or that the journals you submit to have a flawed review process.

If you present only one datapoint in your CV, I would guess it was a lucky shot and I would not care about any remark on the paper. But I tend to agree with other answers, a published paper is a very good on its own, no need to pad it with additional linings.

Additionally, the quality of a paper is not measured in how long was the revision, but in how long it resonates in the scientific debate.

The biggest accomplishment and gain from having a paper accepted without revision is that you do not have to spend time in revising it and that the paper is out in the wild soon.

You probably do not realize it, but you have just earned research quality time. You have no due revision dragging in your agenda (and brain), you do not have the impelling sense of your paper being rejected ... celebrate!

I would quantify that time in ~3 weeks.

In other words: no one cares if your paper underwent 6 major revisions or no revisions at all... apart your mental health. You can surely do something meaningful for your CV in those 3 weeks.

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The only time people comment on this is when the paper is still under review or being looked at/worked on. So on my CV it'll say something like "Paper X, RR, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management" or wherever. But once it's published, it's published. So, no, don't say that it was published in one shot, I've never seen anyone do this before and it would appear bragg-y.

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Of course you can . But instead of stating with no revision explain it as " Accepted in the first place with minor changes"

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If this is a publication still in the publishing process, you should write "to appear" or "to appear in".

See, for example:

If it has already appeared, then you should list is as is standardly presented because deviating from that with extra embellishments only looks dubious.

If it is a special paper and it won some award, (or even nominated for an award) that is worth mentioning. If it has some number of citations that is faster than typical papers get in your field, that also could be worth mentioning.

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  • You've never seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The question asks "Can I write" it this way ?
    – Nobody
    Nov 14, 2023 at 8:56
  • Welcome to Academia.SE. Note that our format is strictly Q&A: the Q was "can I mention the lack of required revisions," so the only probative part of your answer is the word "without." Your answer would be stronger if you provided a rationale for why OP should not do this.
    – cag51
    Nov 15, 2023 at 5:40

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