I'm a college student, and this summer I submitted an article to a non-profit journal, which only accepts submissions from college students. About a week ago I was informed that it was tentatively accepted, pending significant revision.

In that intervening time, I had some very significant personal events come up in my life. I don't feel like I'll be able to truly dedicate myself to the revision process.

Is it ethical to write to the editor and ask to withdraw my paper? Had I known this is how I would feel, I would never have submitted the piece. I feel that it is incredibly unprofessional and risky to ask out at this point... but for my own sake, I feel that it is what I need to do. I don't know if this is something that is ever done, and I would also hate to come across as ungrateful.

Any advice you could share would be greatly appreciated!

  • 2
    Why not tell them it will take a while and do it later? Nov 14, 2017 at 22:02
  • Unless your results are no longer good, I would simply tell the journal that I need more time. They're not likely to mind. I used to approve all such requests without thinking ...
    – Allure
    Dec 28, 2017 at 0:19

1 Answer 1


Editors are people too. Contact them and explain to them as much of your situation as you feel comfortable sharing. All journals are different, so ask what their policies are on extensions or postponements. Also, ensure that it's not a predatory journal.

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