Q: The journal editor says my paper is a case of duplicate submission. What should I do?

Detailed Question -

I submitted a paper to JSS one month ago and it got rejected. The editor suggested revision and re-submission. However, the reviewer questions were too difficult to answer, so I revised my paper and submitted it to PCA. I got a reply from the Chief Editor today saying that this is a case of duplicate submission. I am very confused.

1 Answer to this question

From the Editor-in-chief’s comments, it appears that your paper does not meet the formatting requirements of PCA. Did you read the journal guidelines very carefully and reformat your paper according to the PCA house-style? If your paper is formatted according to JSS guidelines, the editor will easily be able to identify that and understand that you had submitted the paper to another journal earlier.

The allegation of duplicate submission is very serious, and is, in all probability, because of the paper that you have submitted to EI journal. Even if you have used a different methodology, if your data set is the same or if the two papers are on very similar or closely related topics, it might be considered as duplicate submission. Ethical and editorial committees and journal guidelines explicitly state that authors should submit copies of similar or overlapping studies at the time of submission. Additionally, each of the two papers should contain clear references to the other.

The best that you can do is either re-submit to JSS or submit to a completely different journal. At the time of revision, include clear references to the other paper in your manuscript. Remember to format your paper according to the journal guidelines. And most importantly, clearly mention in your cover letter that you have submitted another paper on a similar topic to EI and submit a copy of that paper along with your manuscript.

I would also suggest that you get in touch with the EI journal editor and inform him that you have written another paper on a similar subject. Preferably, submit a copy of this paper. That way, you can at least ensure that the other paper too does not get rejected, or worse, get retracted after publication.