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Every Journal has strict rules about duplicated submissions, and I do not mean by any mean publishing the paper in 2 venues.

My approach is mostly form an Economics point of view, given the fact that most reviews take between 2-3 months, plus any number of months for a resubmission, limiting yourself to only one Journal seems not only a waste of time for the individual, but an overall drag for the scientific community. Even if you make a groundbreaking discovery, you won't get published in about 1 year.

Multiple submissions increase dramatically the chances of getting your work published, and if you get accepted in both, you can always pull out your paper. From a Marketplace point of view, this makes sense, since in this way, Journals would be fighting for authors and not the other way around.

Models like Arxiv have proven that this is not such a crazy idea

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arXiv is not a peer-reviewed site. Different publishers have very different rules about publishing to eprint servers as well as their journals. For instance, AIP/APS allows an author to put her own version of a manuscript onto arXiv, while ACS doesn't allow this at all. –  aeismail Jan 9 '13 at 12:28
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In case the uninitiated are reading this, one should be aware that if a publisher discovers a case of double submission, they will likely ban you from submitting to any of their journals for up to several years. –  David Ketcheson Jan 9 '13 at 17:03
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I don't see what arXiv has to do with this at all. –  Nate Eldredge Jan 9 '13 at 20:52

4 Answers 4

up vote 30 down vote accepted

One possible answer is that the referee process of a paper is a very professional and time consuming job (at least I am sure it is in mathematics). Therefore it is not fair you submit your paper to several journals and make them to referee your paper by different experts and then you withdraw your paper just because your paper got accepted by another journal.

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Another thing that can happen is that both journals ask the same referees. That can really piss somebody off to be asked to review the same paper again. This is also a good reason to make sure you actually improve a paper after rejection, lest you receive a review that simply says: "Hated it the last time I got it too." –  jakebeal yesterday

I think there are three reasons.

  1. From the publishers' perspective they want to squash competition. They want to know that if they invest the time and resources to evaluate the paper that they have a very good chance of publishing it. I don't particularly like how the publishing industry currently works and I might argue that this is in fact a reason to double submit.
  2. The second reason is about the reviewer and editor resources. These are our colleagues and wasting their time is not fair. As a reviewer I want to know that if I put time and effort into a review, that my comments will be considered. Even if my review leads to a rejection, you will likely think about the feedback before resubmitting.
  3. Having little or no cost associated with multiple submissions reduces the effectiveness of the peer review process. You increase the chance of finding a set of reviewers who miss flaws and potentially ignore reviewers who find flaws.
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Adding to point 2: Given the sizes of some communities, it is quite likely that your colleagues would realize at some point that you submit to more than one journal at the same time (e.g., when one referee gets the same manuscript twice). They will not like that you increase the overall refereeing workload and let them partly work in vain. They may immediately refuse to referee any of your papers in the future. –  Craig Peterson Jan 9 '13 at 15:35
    
Care to explain the downvote? –  StrongBad Jan 10 '13 at 9:17

If the point of publication was to get it published as quickly as possible, then there might be some merit to your argument. But the point of peer-reviewed publication is to have the community vet your work and certify its basic soundness (not value/impact necessarily - that's a different story).

In that case, the delay involved in publication is a problem that needs to be fixed, but you shouldn't fix it by allowing multiple instances of peer-review.

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Would be interesting to have a "pool" of peer reviewers (attached to something like Arxiv) willing to give their time (like the do now) and give scores in this pool. Then, the Journals can come and bid for high scored papers, or papers that have been accepted as passed by peer reviewers. That way the power would be with the authors, not the journals. –  Leon palafox Jan 9 '13 at 23:08
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This is similar to what some of the "publish-then-review" proposals are getting at. –  Suresh Jan 9 '13 at 23:22
    
+1 for the point. –  JeffE Jan 10 '13 at 5:06

One reason could be- if the paper gets accepted at both the venues, then you'll have to decide which venue is better. You could have thought about this before submitting also, so to avoid loss of time of the reviewers, you should do it before.

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