I am reviewing a paper, which is a review paper. The paper seems good, but the authors included many their own observations, which are unpublished. Is it good for a review paper to include may unpublished findings?


  • Systematic or anecdotical observations? Oct 23, 2016 at 12:31
  • What did the editor say when you asked them? Does the journal's advice to authors cover this? What have previous review articles in this journal done?
    – 410 gone
    Oct 23, 2016 at 12:52
  • Thanks. I haven't contact with the editor about this. Usually, when the authors talk about something, they will briefly say what they found related to that topic in a sentence and mentioned that the result is not published. Oct 23, 2016 at 18:16
  • 2
    This can be very helpful to other researchers, and some journals encourage it. To me, the dividing line is: is this useful to the field? Sometimes it is a good way of opening up the "file drawer" of things people tried, but didn't work, e.g. "we thought about X, we found Y, it wasn't worth publishing." But if the authors are presenting data that could support future claims like "we showed X causes Y," then they should also present the requisite methodological detail!
    – AJK
    Oct 23, 2016 at 22:58
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    This is pretty common in book chapters, but for a true review paper, I find this questionable. A review paper should lay out the current state-of-the-field on a particular issue, and it would be difficult to do so if most of the data is unpublished, and thus not peer-reviewed. What is the ratio of new (unpublished) data to old (published) data? Is the unpublished data presented as anecdotal evidence in a discussion, or does it play an important theoretical role?
    – HEITZ
    Jan 4, 2017 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


A review paper contains commentary about previously published work, a critical evaluation of that work, and possibly a synthesis based on that published work. I can imagine a rare case where an author might want to include one or two pieces of new data, possibly referenced as "to be published." If there was very much of this I would recommend that it be removed.

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