I had a paper accepted at a conference in theoretical computer science. However while revising the final version I found an error in the proof of an important lemma. Although I believe the error is fixable, It will require some effort. I will not be able to fix the error before the deadline for the final version.

1) Should I withdraw the paper?

2) Should I leave the lemma without proof, and add the corrected proof at the final version.

What would be the best thing to do? Would I be able to resubmit the paper to some other conference? What would be the damage for my reputation?


2 Answers 2


I would contact the programme chair of the conference and ask for advice (perhaps suggest the options you have already given). It could be that by submitting the paper you are under an obligation to attend, in which case you should seek permission from the conference chair to withdraw the paper. To protect your reputation, at the very least explicitly state in the draft that lemma is currently unproven. We all make mistakes, without exception, so we should all be understanding when they happen to others.


These type of problems happens in research. If I were in your place, I would have had following choices (first to last):

  1. I would mail the conference chair stating the situation and get their suggestion.
  2. I would write the final version of the paper along with a letter to conference chair regarding this and would submit both the manuscript and the letter during final camera ready submission.
  3. You could request for quick re-review of the new version.

Its not a good idea to withdraw paper like that give the fact that the conference organizing committee spent a lot of time for your work to be reviewed.

PS. I am a CS guy and a researcher.

  • Well, if a paper has an error which cannot be corrected with minor changes, it should not be published. That's very simple. Your answer promotes academic dishonesty.
    – user80161
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 14:22
  • @Axel Either you don't understand the OP's situation or you don't understand my answer. Your comment does not make sense. Don't just jump to random questions for the sake of commenting.
    – Coder
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 16:41

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