• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products via PF Here!

How common is it for articles to be published in more than one journal?

  • Thread starter Simfish
  • Start date

Simfish

Gold Member
813
2
Say, if I publish in the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, then does it make it harder for me to get the paper into the Astrophysical Journal or Icarus later on? What about a paper that hits both Astrophysical Journal and Nature/Science/PNAS?
 

mathwonk

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
10,733
912
In math this never happens. You publish a paper at most once in your lifetime. If you have a volume of your collected works it is reprinted, or if it is so famous it gets reprinted in a collection of articles, but that's about it.
 

jhae2.718

Gold Member
1,110
20
It's pretty much considered bad form to submit the same paper to multiple journals. Submitting the same paper can even get you "blacklisted" from certain journals.
 

Mute

Homework Helper
1,381
10
I don't think it's simply a matter of bad form: it's probably illegal. Most journals tend to specifically state you cannot submit the same article to multiple journals, as the journal will hold the copyright to your article after it is published. They usually have you sign an agreement to this in order to get the paper published. You can of course skirt around this by adding new content, expanding on the original paper, etc., but you cannot submit exactly the same article to more than one journal.
 
6,814
10
Say, if I publish in the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, then does it make it harder for me to get the paper into the Astrophysical Journal or Icarus later on?
It makes it impossible. Once it's submitted to one journal, you'll get into serious trouble if you submit it to another.

What about a paper that hits both Astrophysical Journal and Nature/Science/PNAS?
Also doesn't happen.

What does happen regularly is that papers that get rejected by Nature/Science/PNAS get resubmitted to Astrophysical Journal. Nature/Science/PNAS frequently reject papers on the grounds that the research is merely "good" and not "earth-shaking" at which point you take the rejection and then submit it to Ap.J.
 
1,086
2
I don't think it's simply a matter of bad form: it's probably illegal. Most journals tend to specifically state you cannot submit the same article to multiple journals, as the journal will hold the copyright to your article after it is published. You essentially sign an agreement to this in order to get the paper published. You can of course skirt around this by adding new content, expanding on the original paper, etc., but you cannot submit exactly the same article to more than one journal.
Beat me to it. Unfortunately, I'm not too familiar with the details of rights transfer when submitting a paper to a journal, but I would assume you transfer at least full rights to publish. This means it is no longer you that decides if, when and how the paper is going to get published.
 
1,086
2
What does happen regularly is that papers that get rejected by Nature/Science/PNAS get resubmitted to Astrophysical Journal. Nature/Science/PNAS frequently reject papers on the grounds that the research is merely "good" and not "earth-shaking" at which point you take the rejection and then submit it to Ap.J.
This, on the other hand, is perfectly fine. When submitting a paper, you make an offer, and if they refuse it, you are no longer bound by it. Then, you can do whatever you could prior to submitting the paper to the journal.
 

Simfish

Gold Member
813
2
Wow interesting - thanks for all the replies!

So what happens if someone publishes truly earth-shattering research? (say, something along the lines of discovering the double helix structure of DNA). Do the same types of papers sometimes hit both Nature and Science? (considering that both Nature and Science want to capture the hottest scientific discoveries?)
 
1,086
2
So what happens if someone publishes truly earth-shattering research? (say, something along the lines of discovering the double helix structure of DNA).
What do you mean what happens?
 

Simfish

Gold Member
813
2
What do you mean what happens?
Does the same research get published on both journals? As in, is there any overlap in content between the two journals, or is their content almost always completely independent of each other? (as we would expect if people could not publish the same paper in both journals).
 

eri

1,034
20
You only submit to one journal at a time. You don't send your paper everywhere and hope someone will take it, you start with the best journal you think it can be published in and work your way down if they won't take it even after revision (assuming the science is solid).
 

fzero

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,119
289
You only submit to one journal at a time. You don't send your paper everywhere and hope someone will take it, you start with the best journal you think it can be published in and work your way down if they won't take it even after revision (assuming the science is solid).
Depending on the field, it's also sometimes possible that a short letter can be published in the rapid communications section of a journal, with a longer version containing all of the details appearing elsewhere. You would never submit papers that contain exactly the same analysis. The long version would also make clear that a letter version has been submitted by citation so that editors and referees can decide whether publication of the longer version is warranted.
 
6,814
10
So what happens if someone publishes truly earth-shattering research? (say, something along the lines of discovering the double helix structure of DNA). Do the same types of papers sometimes hit both Nature and Science? (considering that both Nature and Science want to capture the hottest scientific discoveries?)
No. You have to choose.

The other thing is that there is a process for notifying when you've discovered an asteroid or supernova.

http://www.cbat.eps.harvard.edu/

There's also a procedure to follow if you've been contacted by extraterrestrials.

see http://www.atnf.csiro.au/people/rnorris/papers/n188.pdf
 
6,814
10
Depending on the field, it's also sometimes possible that a short letter can be published in the rapid communications section of a journal, with a longer version containing all of the details appearing elsewhere.
In astronomy, ordinary research results are sent off to the Los Alamos Preprint Server and made available via preprints immediately, and this takes place several months before the journal publishes. People in astrophysics don't read journals for research results. It's mostly for archival purposes with some degree of post-hoc quality control.

The only situation in which you wouldn't want to do that is if you think you've been contacted with space aliens or something like that in which case you want some other people to confirm before you look silly.

In some fields what journal publishes your paper is of crucial importance, but it's not terribly important in astrophysics. If you are in the US, you publish with Astrophysical Journal, and if you are in Europe you publish with A&A or MNRAS.

You would never submit papers that contain exactly the same analysis.
However, one big discussion is how "thin to slice the salami" (i.e. how many papers you can get from the same set of results).
 

jtbell

Mentor
15,369
3,117
You only submit to one journal at a time. You don't send your paper everywhere and hope someone will take it,
In other words, it's not like applying to colleges or grad schools, or for jobs.
 

AlephZero

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
6,953
291
I entirely agree about not sending the same paper to more than one journal.

But if you want to be a "successful" academic you have to learn the trick of getting 20 slightly different papers published about one not-very-profound research project :devil:
 

Simfish

Gold Member
813
2
Interesting replies, everyone.

Another question: Is it bad practice to submit a preliminary draft to arxiv.org and then to upload several updated subsequent drafts to the arxiv?
 

Vanadium 50

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
23,222
5,553
Yes. The arXiv is a preprint server, not a place to upload drafts. Typically, it's revised only once, when the journal prints it.
 

eri

1,034
20
If you're at all concerned that your paper might not be accepted to a journal, don't put in on arXiv until it's accepted. That's pretty standard practice. At least that way you don't have to upload a few revised versions, or anything that might have a mistake no one in your group caught.
 

Related Threads for: How common is it for articles to be published in more than one journal?

  • Posted
Replies
14
Views
7K
Replies
3
Views
7K
Replies
23
Views
5K
Replies
2
Views
866
  • Posted
Replies
9
Views
3K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top