Q: If I find and communicate a mistake about data on resubmitting for a minor revision, would it be regarded as a fraud?

Detailed Question -

I submitted a manuscript for a retrospective clinical study, and was told by the journal that my manuscript would be accepted only if I made a minor revision and provide a [some] raw data. Reviewing my data with that requirement, I found that there is a data input mistake, though it is not in the main theme of the manuscript. Of course, I didn't mean to do any fraud. If I tell this mistake honestly, would the potential acceptance be canceled?

1 Answer to this question

From all that you have described, it seems to be a genuine mistake or oversight. Also, it doesn’t seem to impact the core of the research – the “main theme of the manuscript,” as you have written. So, the research continues to have merit on its own.

Coming to the matter of communicating to the journal and seeing what they have to say about this, couldn’t you simply say that you have made some additional data changes based on the feedback from the minor revision and that it doesn’t impact the results? (If that is indeed the case.) From what you have described, I don’t think the journal should, or would, penalize you for this, and no, it’s definitely not a fraud. A fraud would be if you had made up data (data fabrication) or modified data (data falsification) to answer the objectives of your research. So, your situation looks good. Don’t worry. :-)

However, if for some reason, the journal decides to cancel the acceptance, you may of course submit to another journal. As necessary, you may share with the other journal the history of the previous submission.

Additionally, you may also consider our new AI-powered platform, R Pubsure, that aims to help researchers avoid or at least minimize desk rejection. It does this through its machine checks that enable you to make your manuscript submission-ready. Once you are ready to submit, it gets even better. On the platform, you can showcase your manuscript to several journal editors, one of whom may consider it for publication with their journal, if of course they find your manuscript relevant and interesting. You may learn more about the platform here: R Pubsure

Finally, as yours is a minor revision, you may also find the following resources helpful:

Hope that helps. All the best for the re/submission, which hopefully leads to an acceptance!