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So my situation goes like this : I happened to land upon a significant discovery in my lab In a very field very hot right now. My bosses are awesome and we send our findings to a ~20 impact factor journal as a rapid communication. Journal review comes back 3 weeks back, reviews are favorable. 2 of 3 reviewers just commended work and did not ask anything and third one asked to show extra proof. I do some extra experiments for revision of article and we send it back this week. I think we satisfactory answered all reviewers questions.

The day we send it back we hear of a similar paper published in a different but very famous journal by a well known scientist of that field. While his work is much deeper than our rapid communication in one cancer , ours is more broad and applicable to more cancers than his work (that’s why rapid communication as we had hoped we could build upon the work) We also show a very different mechanism that his lab didn’t. It’s a question of two different labs landing upon a similar discovery simultaneously. Now my paper is still under review by that top journal. How will his publication this week affect my chances of getting accepted by this journal? Time line is this:

my article submission: Feb 20 2018 My revision submission : Mar20 2018

Similar paper submitted : October 2017 Similar paper gets accepted : Feb 18 2018 Similar paper gets published: Mar 20 2018

I am pretty sure if he hadn’t published, our paper would have very likely got accepted because it’s a big discovery. But now that he has, I am feeling all the jitters, nightmares etc. it’s literally two years of my day and night hard work that has gone in this work. Just super concerned.
I am not a PhD, just an MD. So I am unaware of how these situations are handled in biomedical scientific publishing.

  • Some journals, including top ones, have "scooping protection" that will not reject papers under review if something similar is published in that time. Take a look at your journal's guidelines. – phimac Mar 25 '18 at 3:24
  • In physics questions of priority no longer arise because papers are on arXiv before being sent to journals. If you had posted your paper on biorXiv (or another preprint server) before submitting it, this would have proved that you got your results independently of the similar paper. And if the similar paper had been on a preprint server six months ago, you could have taken it into account when writing your paper. – Sylvain Ribault Mar 25 '18 at 20:51
  • @SylvainRibault The biorXiv is not nearly as well-read as the arXiv. That doesn't mean it isn't valid to use it, and doesn't mean there aren't some advantages to doing so, it is still quite uncommon in most areas of biology, and it's importance for establishing priority is nothing like in fields like physics. – Bryan Krause Mar 26 '18 at 16:08
  • @BryanKrause Right. But I wonder, does it happen that someone gets scooped after posting on biorXiv? – Sylvain Ribault Mar 26 '18 at 20:40
  • @SylvainRibault I'm sure it happens all the time, yes. It's rarely possible to ever show exactly the same result in biology, so it's more important that a paper be well-reasoned and well-read rather than first, with 'well-read' probably being more important. Since it is not yet commonplace for biologists to monitor the biorXiv, papers there are often not going to be 'well-read' versus other work coming out around the same time in top biology journals. – Bryan Krause Mar 26 '18 at 20:44
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Just wanted to share the happy news that the prestigious journal has accepted my manuscript as it is and the report will be online by coming Friday. My discovery therefore gets published less than 3 weeks after the other lab published theirs. Simultaneous discoveries, I would say!

Thanks

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