About six months ago, I submitted a paper for publication. The paper is somewhat long and technical, and I believe that only a small number of researchers will bother reading it (nevertheless, I do believe that my results are nice). I still haven't heard from the referee, but I tend to believe that the paper will be accepted for publication.

A few days ago, I observed that the main results from my paper provide a completely new proof of an old classical result in my field (actually, they provide a new and significant extension of that old result). The proof of this observation is only one paragraph long.

My question: How should I publish this new observation? I can add it to my old paper and resubmit it, but even if it's not too late to do so, I'm afraid that my result won't get noticed (as the long paper will only attract a small number of specialists). On the other hand, uploading a one page long paper to arxiv might make me look funny, and I don't know if any reasonable journal will consider publishing that ridiculously short note.

Relevant biographical information: I'm currently a postdoc. I want to get a decent TT job, so (sadly) it's kind of important for me to impress people in my field.

  • I've certainly seen many half- to one-page papers, although I don't know which journals might now be receptive to such papers, even if they have previously published such papers, such as Proc. AMS --- Very short notes not to exceed 1 printed page of an unusual nature. – Dave L Renfro Dec 24 '17 at 11:02
  • It should be possible to publish it as separate note if it something of relevance. It won't be 1 paragraph long as you will have to reintroduced it. You can add a bit of decoration and point on an adequate title. – Alchimista Dec 24 '17 at 20:43

I can add it to my old paper and resubmit it, but even if it's not too late to do so, I'm afraid that my result won't get noticed (as the long paper will only attract a small number of specialists)

It is certainly not too late to do so -- you haven't even received a first referee report yet. I suggest that you add the extension of the old, classical result to the present paper. There are two aspects here:

Rewriting the paper:

If you just tack the new result / proof on at the end of a long paper, indeed it might not get noticed. So don't do that. Rewrite the abstract and introduction of the paper so that your new result / proof gets much more prominence: if the deduction is only a paragraph, you could even do that in the introduction. This is a great way of selling the results of a long, technical paper!

Resubmitting the paper:

You could either send a new version of the paper to the editor and ask them to send it to the referee or you could wait for a referee report. In my opinion, either one should probably work here: the changes are not going to bother the referee, and if the paper gets accepted, neither the editor nor the referee is going to be bothered by a new version with the same technical guts but with superficial rewriting so as to permit a nice new application. What I would say is: since you know how to improve your paper and it hasn't been accepted yet, the smartest move seems to be giving the referee access to the improved version before they make up their mind...if the editor is on board with that.

So: I would suggest writing a new version, sending it to the editor, and seeing what they think.

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  • I agree with this if the OP wants to add the result to the current paper (+1), but I'm not convinced that's better than making a separate, short publication. I think, depending on the situation, writing a new paper could be better (and then one can revise the old paper after the referee report to mention this application). – Kimball Jan 9 '18 at 3:03

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