I have an article accepted in a journal, providing I make certain revisions. I have now made the revisions and sent them off, but am awaiting the journal's confirmation that the reviewers are satisfied. How do I reference my own paper in this limbo situation? 'Accepted'? 'In press' seems a bit ahead of myself. But 'In prep' seems to not do it justice, as it has been accepted. Does anyone use 'under revision'?

It is likely the case that by the time I finish the piece in which I cite myself, the situation will be clearer. But for this point in time (and for ongoing conference presentations) it would be good to know what the style is here.

  • 4
    Has the journal really told you that your paper is accepted, pending revisions? This may be a case of "Academia varies", but in my field, journals are very careful to call the paper "rejected, but will accept a revised version" or something along those lines. They'll only call it "accepted" if the revisions are really just correcting typos, in which case it won't go back to reviewers afterwards. Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 10:05

5 Answers 5


"In revision" might be a good option for some venues, say when referring to the work in a presentation.

  • I like this one, because it indicates the manuscript is closer to publication than simply "unpublished" or "submitted", without actually stating a venue that may or may not eventually occur. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 16:27

The most closest thing you could refer to would be to consider your article as unpublished or submitted for publication.

In APA style:

Authors. Manuscript Title. Manuscript submitted for publication

In IEEE style

Authors, “Title of paper,” unpublished

  • So, at this stage, I can't differentiate between an article which has been accepted pending revisions, and one which has not been accepted at all (and may even be rejected)? Also, would you mention the journal at this stage?
    – dmt
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 9:43
  • 2
    This is the method of citation prescribed in the most journals. In Elsevier, you could only cite unpublished articles that are accepted for publication (as In press). But, of course it wouldn't hurt to specify where you've submitted in the references section. After all, references are used to help the reader to access the relevant material. Have you considered uploading a pre-print in arXiv and then referring to it, @dmt?
    – Ébe Isaac
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 9:56

IMHO, the best strategy is to upload the preprint version to an open archive such as arXiv or archives-ouvertes. Almost every journal accepts this (check sherpa.ac.uk/romeo in case of doubts).

This way, your work is accessible to everyone instantly and freely, nobody can steal your work and, more importantly in your case, you can cite it. Just mention Preprint and provide an url or, nicer, a clickable link. You can also mention Submitted to ... for example.

Of course you can upload the author version or even the publisher's version if allowed (check the above link to know), once the article has been reviewed and accepted.


I often cite papers as

Mary Smith, Semi-automatic arithmetic quasi-algebras, to appear in Journal of Algebra.

You will need to decide based on the specifics of your situation whether "to appear in" is actually accurate.

If there is some chance that your paper might still be rejected, this is probably not a good idea. But if it has indeed been accepted, it is probably fine. (Your description makes it sound like both of these are true, which I find rather contradictory!)

Note: I am in mathematics, where there is no official style that must be adhered to. Also, most papers are on the arXiv, so it's more likely that I would actually cite them as

Mary Smith, Semi-automatic arithmetic quasi-algebras, to appear in Journal of Algebra. arXiv:1601:56789.

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    Accepted subject to revision is not the same as accepted. It's not yet confirmed as to appear. I think this is a misleading answer.... The arXiv approach is another matter, but it still wouldn't be appropriate to mention the journal if it is pending revision. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 16:26

Each journal has its own rules about citations/references. You may find an "author guide" in the journal's website and look for your case.

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