Publishing in a journal is a long process that might take a lot of time (> 1 year), and is possibly involved of several phases (submit, re-submit, re-re-submit...)

As the time passes, things change. Specifically, new results appear.

What should one do with the new stuff that happens between resubmissions?

  • Do one needs to cite / refer to papers that first appeared after the original date submission?
  • Do one needs to update citations to papers that on the date of the original submission appeared only on arXiv, but now appear in a journal (those possibly slightly different than the original work cited in the original submission)?

EDIT: maybe one should wait for acceptance, and only then do the updates?

  • 1
    It's worth checking out this answer to a slightly different question regarding preprints but I think the the manuscript should be updated as much as possible. academia.stackexchange.com/a/1149/319
    – bobthejoe
    Sep 3, 2012 at 21:40
  • 1
    @ran-g Since you have some responses below that seem to answer your question, please consider marking one of them as ‘Accepted’. Sep 24, 2012 at 14:45

4 Answers 4


Yes, you should update your references at every possible opportunity. Whenever the manuscript is in your hands, if it is possible for you to update the references, you should do so. Paper rejected? Update the references before resubmission. Paper accepted? Update the references before sending back the revision. Multiple rounds of reviewing? Update the references after each round. Submitting a journal version of a conference paper? Update the references before submission. Reviewing galley proofs? Okay, then you probably can't update the references.

Your paper serves as not only a description of your new result but also as a guide to the surrounding literature. Your readers (including referees and editors) are best served by the most up-to-date snapshot possible.

Of course, if one of the papers you cite has undergone a revision (for example, and ArXiv preprint has appeared in a journal), you must read the new revision yourself to make sure that the cited information is still there, so that you know how to appropriately cite it.

I typically tag completely new references (for example, a relevant ArXiv preprint appears while my paper is under review) with phrases like "Since this paper was submitted..." or (since I'm in computer science) "Since the preliminary version of this paper appeared...."


Would like to add a partial answer. Don't know the answer to the first one.

But about the second:

Do one needs to update citations to papers .....?

Yes, they need to be updated. Most publishers ask to update bibliography with latest information.

But if the original content that appeared in arXiv is changed in the final publication, it is better to keep the original citation in your paper, specifying the exact version that you cited.


The answer to both of these questions is it's your choice. However, I definitely recommend that you update the citation information, because (a) it probably won't take long and (b) it will possibly be quite helpful to your readers.

I work in a field where it's uncommon for much to change between the time that I first submit and that I resubmit. Perhaps I might find out that someone proved a result in our paper about the same time that we did. In that case, I would add a line in the acknowledgments section stating so, and add a citation to the relevant paper or preprint.


Might some of the reviewers have published the relevant paper(s) that have come out and which you are not citing? Yes? Might they appreciate it if you cite rather than ignore their work? Yes? Better update your citations, then.

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