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Withdrawing policy form Physics Tomorrow Letters

Withdrawing policy form Physics Tomorrow Letters of an academic or scientific manuscript that has been submitted to PTL or press for publication is never advisable. If your manuscript has been submitted very recently and has not yet entered the publisher’s editorial and review process, a withdrawal request rarely presents a problem. However, it will not make the best impression, so do be sure to apologise for any inconvenience and give a clear if the very brief reason why the withdrawal is necessary.

Once a submitted manuscript has entered the editorial process and is under peer review, it is considered unethical to withdraw the manuscript and doing so may prevent future publication through the Physics Tomorrow Letters. When peer review is complete, however, and the editor sends you reviewer comments and his or her own decisions about your work, you have the right as the author to withdraw your manuscript because you are unwilling or unable to make the changes required to achieve publication. This does not mean that being asked to improve your grammar or correct your spelling is a justifiable reason for withdrawal at this point. Sound grammar and spelling are necessary, after all, for clear communication. However, if one or more reviewers request major changes that will compromise what you think important about your research, withdrawing your manuscript for submission elsewhere may be the best option, especially if you cannot persuade the editor that your point of view is valid. The publication cost, any offers and promotion, any conflict with any reviewer can not be the reason for the withdraw of any manuscript. However, Physics Tomorrow never charges for manuscript withdrawal. In future Physics Tomorrow can take any legal action to that author if necessary concerning this senario.


  1. Case

If your manuscript has already been accepted by an editor and you have agreed to publication through the journal or press, it is simply wrong to withdraw your work without truly compelling reasons and doing so can result in penalty fees as well as a refusal to publish any of your writing for more than a year. Compelling reasons can include recently discovered or finally confessed instances of academic or scientific misconduct, especially if publication might bring harm to more than the individuals responsible for the questionable activities, but my focus here is on situations in which an author or authors must negotiate the withdrawal of a manuscript for legitimate, unforeseeable and unavoidable reasons. 



  2  Case 

If a postdoctoral researcher who is co-authoring with a senior academic a chapter in a collection of essays, but her co-author has fallen ill during the research and writing process. The situation is clearly explained to the editor, and the corresponding author also suggests alternatives to the original design for the chapter.

Finally, withdrawing a paper after it has already been published by a journal is never an appealing option, and the ramifications can be legal as well as ethical and financial. Even when a journal paper exists only in a digital online version, it usually cannot simply be withdrawn once it has been formally published; instead, it must be retracted, with the notice of retraction and all the possibilities of misconduct it implies becoming a permanent part of an author’s publishing career. The reasons for considering such an extreme action for a published manuscript must therefore be very good indeed, and poor treatment of your work by a disreputable journal is certainly among these good reasons. 




  3  Case 

An early-career scholar who made an unwise choice of journal for a co-authored research paper writes to the editor requesting that the published paper be withdrawn or corrected. There is a history of problems and the paper as published will be detrimental to the authors’ careers and professional reputations – a striking reminder of how important it is to learn about a journal before submitting your writing and watch for warning signs of trouble so that you can withdraw your paper before matters escalate.

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