Withdrawal of a research paper after submission but before publication and during peer-review or even after acceptance is an uncommon event and not considered as a good scientific practice. Before withdrawing a paper, it should be considered that reviewers and editors have already invested significant time in finalizing of the manuscript.

Once the manuscript submission process is completed, the next step, i.e. initial review of the paper by the Editor followed by peer-review by the invited experts begins. During these steps, the researcher should wait for the final decision. However, in some cases, one may want to withdraw the manuscript. For instance, you may want to revise or add important points or may want to correct some errors which are discovered after manuscript submission. In these case, the manuscript needs to be withdrawn much before the peer-review process starts.

Another common reason to withdraw your manuscript is that authors discover or suspect a glaring error, possibly while checking the proofs. This error may require performing some experiments again or removing existing data set. It may call for doing some supplementary analysis. This may lead to additional work, but it can help the researchers to avoid any future retractions. If the authors do not want to make all research data available for commercial reasons or copyright or when they realize that they have made manuscript submission to a potentially predatory journal, here also authors can withdraw their paper. There are unethical reasons for withdrawal of a paper like being unaware of the publication fees or just wanting to submit one’s manuscript to a higher impact journal.

Another reason for withdrawal of research paper is impatience with peer review process. This process is not a black or white issue. However, there are journals who take a long waiting time for completion of the peer review process. Some complete it within 1-3 months, whereas some take 4-6 months. Even if this is the case, the time period of peer review is mentioned in most of the journal websites. Thus, retraction based on the time period can be unreasonable at times.

In particular, after acceptance of manuscript when the journal and referees have behaved blamelessly, as an author it is hard to justify unilaterally withdrawing the paper. When the paper is submitted, the writer implicitly agrees to publish it there if accepted. A submitted manuscript is a request for publication and not a request for the option to publish. It is not ethical to withdraw a research paper which has been accepted. In the publication process journals, reviewers and editors have spent time. To withdraw a manuscript after it has entered this process is a waste of their time. However, the legal ramifications of this behaviour are probably limited.



Cover letter

  • The cover letter of a journal is the most important document which tells the editor that the paper is submitted for consideration. With every manuscript there is a well written cover letter that accompanies it during the submission process. Some research papers have specific requirements which is provided in the letter and these are stated as the paper’s instruction to the authors. Another important point is to always make sure the cover letter contains all journal required elements. The importance and novelty of once findings should be succinct and focused in the letter, which should also contain the scope of the target journal related to that specific area.A strong letter also tells the journal editors that particular journal should publish their manuscript. Writing a cover letter is an important task after perfecting the manuscript and selecting a target journal. It also captured the attention of editor which gives information about the importance of findings which indicates all authors have approved for the submission and the manuscript is not submitted concurrently to more than one journal.
  • Strong cover letters not only introduces the manuscript but also it gives an important opportunity to persuade journal editors for considering to publish the manuscript.

    Outline for the Cover Letter
    According to the information and statements required by the target journal,every cover letter should contain:

    • An introduction which states the title of the paper and journal to which it is going to submitted.
    • The reason why the study is relevant and important to the journal’s field.
    • The overall findings and major experimental results and the important conclusions which are derived from the research part.
    • A clear expression that the manuscript has not been published and that is not considered for publication in any other journal.The important conclusions derived from the research work should also be stated.
    • An idea or statement that all authors agree for manuscript submission to the journal.
    • Any other details that will give support to the editor to forward the manuscript for review.
    • One or two more sentences should be written to address each of these above points.
    • While writing the body of the cover letter open the cover letter with a statement explaining the purpose for manuscript submission and the title of the journal.

    To complete the cover letter the researcher should polish and revise these sentences.Keeping the cover letter in a concise manner the explanation of the body is limited to one or two brief paragraphs.The researcher can also include one or two more sentences that links the results to interest of the readership of journal if suitable, which may be helpful to review the content to stay focused on the important results and conclusions.The findings and conclusions should be clearly and concisely explained.

    A research cover letter is nothing but an opportunity to impress the author.A well written cover letter is a golden opportunity to manifest the reader an immediate value.A compelling and concise cover letter is the first chance to stand out and considered for acceptance amongst tough competition.The cover letter of a manuscript shows the unique combination of experience and skills which meets the key requirements of the research work.