Q: Is it ethical to publish a reply to a "Letter to the Editor" without publishing the original letter?

Detailed Question -

I sent an "letter to editor" to a journal. That manuscript is still under "Editorial review". Surprisingly, I found the title of my letter with "Reply to letter to editor" prefix in recently published issue of a renowned journal published by medknow. I read the article and it is the reply to my letter. Now, my 1st question: how readers will know about the question while they are reading reply to that question? 2nd question: Is it ethical to publish reply to my letter with the title of my letter without publishing my letter?

1 Answer to this question

This is an interesting question. Is the reply published in the same journal where you submitted your Letter to the Editor? Is it possible that someone else also submitted a similar Letter to the Editor, and it got published before yours? Generally, when publishing a reply to a Letter to the Editor, the journal would provide a link or reference to the original Letter to the Editor. In the absence of this, it would definitely be confusing to the readers. It is possible that this was a mistake on the part of the journal. You can check some of the previous issues in which replies to Letters to the Editor have been published. If these have the original letter (or a link to it), you can be sure that this was a mistake on the part of the journal. It would be best to write to the Editor and seek a clarification on this.

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