Recently I got a paper accepted in a high impact journal. The acceptance letter came to me with a few reviewer comments, and it was recommended in the letter to take care of those comments. I submitted the final version with incorporating those revisions in the paper and due to one particular comment, I had to change a paragraph almost entirely.

But now after the proofreading, the journal says only formatting changes can be made, and other changes need further approval from Editor in Chief. Can this anyway jeopardize the paper and result in its rejection? Also, is there any way to communicate with the journal to settle this issue?

  • 2
    I am confused. They paper has been accepted right? If it is in the proofreading part, then this means that the final version has been accepted by the editor, and only typos are to be corrected. Do you want to change anything more at this stage?
    – PsySp
    Mar 7, 2017 at 16:02
  • The paper has been accepted and with the acceptance letter some comments from the reviewers also came, which I incorporated in the paper. The comments were mostly trivial, like grammar and typos, but for one or two comments, we had to change the writing of a paragraph, though the writing actually meant the same thing as before but it in a clearer and crisper way. After this, the final files were submitted, which was before the proofreading stage. The got the no change mail from the journal after the proofreading stage. Mar 7, 2017 at 16:22
  • Do you plan to do changes on your manuscript at this proof reading state? You made the necessary corrections and the meaning of the mail is that the paper is basically under production and you cannot change its content (modulo E-i-C approval).
    – PsySp
    Mar 7, 2017 at 18:28
  • @PsySp, I think I did not fully clarify my statement. The journal asked me to submit a final version of the paper after the acceptance letter came. I forgot to mention that the paper went through an earlier round of review and I submitted a review version after incorporating those reviews. It then got accepted and the reviewers asked for some minor final reviews, out of which one or two made me rewrite a paragraph. I then submitted that as the final version as the journal asked. Mar 8, 2017 at 6:27
  • It is only after this submission that the proofreading stage began, so I had already incorporated all the reviews before proof reading stage even began. The proof that came to me was done on the final version that I submitted, i.e. the version that took care of the final comments of the reviewers. So basically I want to say that I made the changes before the proofreading stage and after the the acceptance, and note that the changes were not made arbitrarily by me, they were as per the final comments of the reviewers, and the recommendation of the EiC. Mar 8, 2017 at 6:27

3 Answers 3


What you've described sounds like a 'conditional acceptance', but I'm confused how you got to the proof stage without addressing the comments suggested. How did that happen? Also, no, do not make major changes during the proof stage.

  • I actually submitted the final version with the revisions, I have made an edit, please see. Mar 7, 2017 at 15:54
  • Also, the acceptance letter said specifically that the paper was accepted. Mar 7, 2017 at 15:55
  • I made the changes after the acceptance letter came, and introduced the revisions in the final version that I submitted. Can that create a problem? Also, I did not make any major change during the proof, just some changes in the references, and biographies etc. Mar 7, 2017 at 15:58
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    What "further changes can only be made with approval of the Editor-in-Chief" usually means is changes after you submit your revised version that addresses the comments of the referees. Mar 7, 2017 at 16:01

Reviewers sometimes have further complaints, even when the editor has decided to accept a paper. If the editor issues an acceptance, you should not attempt to respond to the remaining reviewer comments.


You need to ask the journal what you should do. And then do it.

If you represent everything as it happened, then the journal gave you the wrong instructions. Maybe you misunderstood. It does not matter.

Presumably, you are dealing with a person at the journal who is in charge of typesetting and no longer with an Associate Editor. Explain to them that you were trying to follow the instructions in the acceptance letter, but in case you misunderstood them, offer to submit the version of the paper you submitted before acceptance, with the small corrections that needed to be made, but without the alterations to that paragraph. You might include the acceptance letter. As long as you are willing to cooperate with them, your article will get published.

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