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I have submitted a paper and got a R&R. After the submission, I have learned new method techniques for my research and I found those very compelling.
Now, I would like to use them and I was wondering whether I could change the method section of the reviewed paper and re-submit the changed paper with the new method?
It would still be the same research question, the same dataset and theoretical framework (with minor adjustments). Of course, I would explain in detail that the newly discovered method would suit very well to the same dataset used before, would present the results better and thus, improve the paper a lot. However, the reviewers haven't criticized the used method or suggested a new method approach for my paper.

So,

  • Is such a change in the method section after the first peer review round possible?
  • Is such a change acceptable and okay for the journal editors and the reviewer?
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    It seems a major modification, I don't suggest you to do it because the reviewers spent time on your initial submission and your modification meens double work for them. I would say keep the same paper and submit another one with the new method which will certainly yield to different results. Otherwise, you withdaw your paper and appologise to the editor by explaining the situation. – Younes Jul 19 '17 at 15:27
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    I don't agree with @John. The review process is meant to publish the best version of the paper as possible. If in the meantime you learnt something new that would improve the paper, you now have the possibility to make the paper even better than it would be initially. A fair, devoted reviewer should appreciate this. John's suggestion to publish a second paper with the other method didn't work in my case - the editors decided that the 2nd paper was too similar to the first one, differing by only the method (which was more rigorous in my opinion, by the way). – user68958 Jul 20 '17 at 23:10
  • I know one rule in revising a reviewed paper: not making any unrequired revision that may either change the result nor the conclusion. In this case the paper will be completely different. Regadring the silimarity beteen two submissions, I remember that my ex supervisor reviewed a paper of a well known researcher, where the paper was almost similar to another one (cited few hundreds times), in the comment he said the paper Y is similar to paper X, the response was the paper X used xxxx words, while Y used yyyy words and the similarity is less than 30%. The editor then agreed with the author. – Younes Jul 21 '17 at 5:35
  • However, I am not a well known researcher ;) If the editor has such an agenda to look not only at the innovation of an article, but also the author's name, then two similar articles might be fine (I get the editor's logic that having a 'big name' in the journal brings attention and citations). Would you say contacting the editor about this and just telling him/her about my idea is another option? – Stefan_W Jul 21 '17 at 9:49
  • @Stefan_W I don't think the editor cares about the weight of the author's name at all. It is just a random combination of letters. It is much important for him, the reputation of his journal. With different result and 30% dissimilarity with any other published/submitted paper, a researcher is allowed to submit a manuscript without any problem. I have to check an official text about this point (I remember I read a few years ago a publication from the EGE: European Group on Ethics) – Younes Jul 22 '17 at 0:05

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