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A manuscript is the outcome of a tremendous personal effort: months of research, long nights of data collecting and management, countless hours of writing and reviewing, until you finally think it has reached a good-enough quality level to submit it for publication. After such an incredible endeavour, it would be only fair to see your paper published in no time at all. However, even the act of submitting has its rights and wrongs and is very often subdued to strict policies concerning the exclusivity of publication. In the rush of having a published paper, many researchers choose to approach several publishers with the same manuscript, in a short period of time, without waiting for acceptance or rejection letters. This is called a simultaneous submission.
The whole idea of simultaneous submission is still rather controversial in academia: is it really fair to ask authors to give their work away, for months in a row, until they finally obtain any kind of answer? Not to mention that many times a response never even arrives.
On the other hand, editors spend a lot of time and energy appraising immense quantities of submitted manuscripts. They search for novelty, scientific originality and fresh ideas in order to achieve – or maintain – high levels of acknowledgement among the scientific community. Furthermore, authors aren’t always truthful or aware of the etiquette concerning simultaneous submissions: in some situations, they don’t tell their potential publisher they have submitted their paper elsewhere – by signing a written statement that they haven’t – and, in other situations, they fail to inform that their manuscript has been accepted somewhere else.
All things considered, obliging authors to submit their work only to one venue at a time is a way for editors to guarantee publication exclusiveness and consequently captivate a more refined audience.
At the end of the day, you will find yourself facing a double-edged sword: on the one hand, the most renowned publications demand submission exclusivity; on the other hand, submitting to journals that are OK with simultaneous submissions improve your chances of a successful acceptance for publication.
Sooner or later, any scientist aiming to see his work published will have to make this choice. The good news is that there are things one can do to increase success in being accepted by publishers, even those with exclusivity policies – for example, a high-quality text, edited to perfection, is a decisive element to achieve that acceptance letter you are longing for. This is the right moment to invest in translation/text editing services: at Elsevier we guarantee successful publication or a total refund if your manuscript is turned down due to poor grammar.
What is a simultaneous submission?
Sending work to multiple venues at once is generally considered unethical because it breaches the author’s promise that his work is original and has never been openly seen/published before. There are, however, publishers that don’t have such a strict policy regarding simultaneous submissions. But… is this really the best practice for authors? Probably YES if they’re looking for higher acceptance rates but definitively NO for the author’s reputation. Here are some reasons why:
- Researcher or submitter?
Submitting your paper countless times is just a sign you are a restless submitter but not necessarily interested in improving your work to reach the scientific level expected from a good publisher in your field of study.
- Waste of time
Submitting for publication takes a lot of time. Forms have to be filled, publication policies need to be properly read and checked, and if you are repeating this whole process over and over again you are simply just taking time from important research that could get you far in the future. Similarly, editors are not willing to waste time reading manuscripts that won’t bring the novelty and exclusivity they look for. Even if you politely decline your publication acceptance because you are doing it with someone else, the odds are that the rejected editor will never read your work in the future.
- On the road to bad decisions
When you send your paper to more than one venue, what will likely happen is that your work will be accepted by two or three less relevant publishers while being still under consideration by a much better acknowledged one or, even more exciting, by a venue that actually pays. This situation might be difficult to resolve: should you risk rejecting the less relevant publishers while you wait for the best venue to accept your submission, or should you rather take the first chance you get at being published?
Know more: Integrity and quality in research.
Also called redundant publication, duplicate publication is also a misconduct practiced by many authors whose priority seems to be publishing at any cost, disregarding aspects such as transparency and ethics in science. It consists in publishing a paper that is very similar to one previously published by the same author, with no acknowledgements concerning sources and without permission from the copyright holder. Normally, authors expect to hide the obvious similarities by adding a new title and modifying the abstract. The data set, conclusion and findings are, however, the same as the previously published paper. Unlike simultaneous submission, it can be many years until the redundant paper is published.
The authors may think that it’s in their right to republish their own work again, probably with a few upgrades and by a more distinguished publisher but, in fact, duplicate publication violates many fundamental legal and ethical aspects:
- Copyright permissions, since they are held by the publisher and not the author;
- Distortion of empirical evidence, since data sets are counted twice, although they are the same;
- Waste of editorial resources, taking up editorial space that other researchers could use;
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