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My paper received a good review, but we've been implicitly asked (interpretation of my supervisor, not mine) to do two experiments to verify a method I use. We then asked the editor for some time to perform these experiments, which the editor accepted. Then two things happened:

  1. The experiments were messed up due to some unfortunate technical error and now I can't meet the deadline.
  2. After some deep digging in preliminary experiments and literature, I found data that could replace these experiments just good enough in my opinion.

The question is now: Should I ask for more time to retry the experiments, or should I just send the literature/preliminary data to the reviewers? Which choice would be wiser?

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    You should ask both your supervisor and the editor which is the best way to proceed. Your supervisor might find it acceptable to reuse existing data; the editor might give you time to redo the experiments. – Dave Clarke Jul 11 '14 at 9:34
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    Which choice would be wiser? This is completely a judgement call that depends on your specific paper. Nobody here can answer it for you. – ff524 Jul 11 '14 at 9:49
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Based on the reviews and the willingness of the editor to provide an extension, your paper clearly is worth it for the journal. You should definitely contact the editor, briefly explain the problems (don't focus on excuses but on what remains to be done) you have had to meet the deadline and ask what can be done. It will be advantageous to provide a solid plan for the remaining work so that this is clear from the beginning to the editor. So assess the remaining work, make up a realistic plan for what is required and provide this to the editor. If all this requires the assistance of your advisor then plan it together. In the end, it will be up to the editor to provide an extension and a clear plan is necessary.

In my own experience as editor, I much more appreciate realistic plans than optimistic ones that fail. In your case it seems as a case of force majeur and such things happen. I am, however, always suspicious of long excusing accompanying letters since I really do not care about the reasons but need to focus on the timing of revisions for planning issues and the like.

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