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I submitted a literature review manuscript to a journal in September. In January, I got the result of the first round of revision. The result was conditional acceptance with a number of corrections and questions. During the revision, some papers about the survey's subject were published. Should I include those papers? Otherwise, is there a chance that reviewers would keep the conditional acceptance status and ask me to include these papers?

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  • If time allows it I would certainly consider adding discussion of these new papers to your review during your revision. – pbond Jan 24 '17 at 19:59
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I can answer from two perspectives:

  • What is necessary to get published in the journal currently considering your article? If the peer-reviewers didn't ask you to add the new articles, then there is no need to do so. They probably aren't aware of the articles---you are almost certainly more up-to-date on the literature than they are, which is why you are doing the literature review. In the worst-case scenario, if one of the peer-reviewers or editors later becomes aware of new publications before final publication, then they might ask you to add them, but I can't imagine that that could possibly be a reason for rejecting your article since they've already conditonally accepted it.

  • What should you do for the highest quality literature review publication? Of course you should add the new articles. To be as complete as possible in reviewing the literature, a literature review should include all relevant literature, even after the article is accepted all the way until final publication. However, I do understand the conflict between trying to do research perfectly properly versus the practical constraints of time, resources or energy (e.g. too much work too late in the game when you want to move onto other stuff). If for whatever reason you decide not to add the new articles that you are aware of, then at the very least you should explicitly mention in your article the end date (year and month) of your literature search or the date of the last included article, so that readers will clearly understand that there might exist some work published after that date that you explicitly state. That way, you can honestly state that you included all the work you are aware of up till the date you specified.

There's one more important consideration: although it probably doesn't matter for the journal peer-reviewers and editors (because they probably wouldn't know), it certainly does matter for your readers. In particular, it is highly likely that the authors of these recently published articles would be your potential readers, since, by definition, they do research in the area. Once they find out about your literature review published after their own work is published, they would probably get excited, expecting their work to be included. But if it isn't, supposedly because they just barely missed your inclusion cut-off date, they would likely be quite disappointed. It's not a good idea to disappoint your potential readers.

So, my final recommendation is that if it will take you only two or three hours to incorporate the newly published work (perhaps one hour to read each article, another hour or two to appropriately incorporate it into your review), then I think it is certainly worth the extra effort.

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  • Thank you very much! That's exactly how I feel about this. I will put more effort on the other corrections that I must make and surely I will include the new papers if there is available time. – PC. Jan 24 '17 at 23:31
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    I revised my answer to add another important consideration: the authors of the left-out articles will most likely read your review, and you might not want to disappoint them. – Tripartio Jan 25 '17 at 10:03

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