Submitting two or more papers to the same journal

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Submitting two or more papers to the same journal

With the mounting pressure to publish and get cited, researchers these days are highly concerned about choosing the correct journal to submit their papers to. One of the many questions regarding journal choice that prolific young researchers face these days is this: Is it better to submit two or more papers to the same journal? Or is it better to try and publish in as many different journals as possible? Which choice will ensure maximum readership and citation?  

First, let’s make a few facts clear. When I am referring to two submissions, I’m talking about two completely different papers. Submitting the same manuscript twice, two very similar manuscripts, two manuscripts with fabricated data, or salami slicing a single manuscript are definitely out of question. All these practices are unethical and should not be indulged in.

  • My article refers to two authentic manuscripts based on two different studies. They may or may not be on closely related topics. Now the question is, whether it is advisable to submit two such manuscripts to the same journal at the same time or whether it is preferable to submit the two studies to two different journals.
  • Technically, it is perfectly acceptable to submit two papers to the same journal at the same time. In fact, for closely related studies or if your article is a series, that is, Part 1 and Part 2 of one big study, then it is always preferable to publish it in the same journal. This will ensure that your readers get a clear idea of your research.

If the two papers are on completely different topics, you will first have to ensure that both the studies match the scope of the journal. If they do, you can submit them to the same journal. Of course, even if you do, the two papers would probably go to two different referees. Many authors have submitted two papers to the same journal at the same time, and have had absolutely no problems.

However, there is a general difference of opinion among authors about whether you should submit two manuscripts to the same journal at the same time. Some authors are not in favour of this practice for the following reasons:

  • They argue that submitting two papers to two different journals would give you a broad readership. Their advice is to try and publish in as many different journals as possible. This shows that your work has been accepted by a wide range of academics rather than the same set of people who are on the editorial committee of just one journal.
  • Unethical practices are rampant these days and a lot of people try to publish in journals where their supervisors or someone in the department happens to be an editor. For a young researcher who is just starting out, it might look a little suspicious if you have all your publications in the same journal, even if you are innocent. If you already have a good number of publications in different journals, no one will question your credibility if you publish two or more articles in the same journal.

Contrary to this view, some authors feel that submitting two manuscripts to the same journal has its perks. Here’s what they have to say:

  • The best part of submitting to one journal is that you don’t have to follow two different house styles for the two papers. This will prevent a lot of confusion and will make formatting much easier for you. You will save both time and effort that way.
  • Also, you might be able to establish your reputation and build up a relationship with the editor as you will be corresponding with him/her for two different papers. You will have a better idea of how he/she works and how long he/she takes to respond. 
  • Wider readership might not result from sending your papers to two different journals; you might end up just splitting your readership and get two sets of readers for the two subfields that you have written on.

I have laid down some of the pros and cons of submitting two manuscripts to the same journal at the same time. You should weigh them carefully and decide where you will send your submissions.

Do you have any other views on this topic? If yes, please share them in the comments section below. I’m sure many people will benefit from your perspective.

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Published on: Nov 25, 2013

Senior Editor, Editage Insights. Researcher coach since 2015
See more from Kakoli Majumder


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