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A few classmates and I are worried about the time lag between submitting a research paper to a conference or journal and the further time lag between rejections and re-submissions during which someone else has the chance of scooping our idea.

Based on the pointers to using the Dataverse network to prove that a research idea was created by a certain author at a certain point of time, I wrote to few conference organizers if they would accept the Dataverse network as a reliable reference. I received no reply.

Given that a paper like this with spelling and grammar errors did not get rejected, I conclude that lower tier journals are more eager to publish anything that comes their way. For higher tier journals/conferences, I read the rejection rate is 98%.

So one strategy I can think of is:
1. Publish an initial idea/approach in a lower tier journal, where revealing details are not presented, but the overview and results are mentioned like in this paper.
2. Once the paper is accepted and published, cite the published paper in a newly written paper where all details are revealed, and the concepts/results are expanded/improved on a bit more and send for publication to a top tier journal.

Is this a reasonable strategy that would work or would you suggest a better approach?

UPDATE: I wrote to a number of conference organizers and journals. So far KDD and IEEE responded saying that putting up a document on arXiv is ok, before submitting it to an IEEE or KDD conference. Officially, IEEE mentions it here and there's also their code of peer review ethics here.

marked as duplicate by Buzz, Community May 11 '18 at 5:14

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    In CS/HCI the best approach to "stake" the idea would be to publish a poster paper. You only write one-two pages describing the general idea, but it doesn't count as a publication. – TheWanderer Apr 17 '18 at 7:37
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    Given that a paper like this with spelling and grammar errors did not get rejected --- Given that the journal's name includes all three of the words "international", "advanced", and "research", I'm not particularly surprised. – Dave L Renfro Apr 17 '18 at 11:06
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    By scooping, do you mean that they listen in on your group discussions and steal your idea, or that they coincidentally and independently come up with similar work? – aparente001 Apr 19 '18 at 11:40
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    I know scooping encompasses coincidence too, but I'm addressing situations when a paper is rejected and someone who knows of the idea presented in the paper steals the idea to publish their own paper. I also remember reading a case here about a student whose professor created a delay for him via an internal review and published the paper under his own name. By the student was ready to publish, he found that the professor had already gotten it published independently. user153812 says in a comment that some conferences don't accept arXiv published papers. So I'm still searching for a solution. – Nav Apr 19 '18 at 14:50
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Submitting the manuscript to institutional repositories, and if the field permits it, publishing at arXiv, before sending to a journal are the most common ways to guard against scooping. Another line of defence is storing all communication with the journal you submitted to, so that if any malpractice is found later, you can bring it to the editor's notice and get justice.

The strategy you suggest is flawed based on two reasons:

(1) Many high-ranking journals will not touch a fluffed up version of something published in a low-ranking journal. It is possible that it may not even go to review. There is a high premium on brand-new, original research now; I have come across cases where high-ranking journals reject papers that even use data from previously published work.

(2) This doesn't really prevent someone from scooping your work. As you said,the first publication will not have all the details. Someone could still use your work and claim that they independently expanded/improved upon that initial version.

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    Good to know arXiv is a preprint storage point. I thought it was a journal. Teachers were discouraging us from putting our papers there saying even low quality papers get accepted there. But if after submitting to arXiv if I can submit the same to a journal or conference, that solves the problem! – Nav Apr 17 '18 at 8:21
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    @Nav arXiv accepts everything (that constitutes research -- there's probably a more precise definition on arXiv). I cannot understand your teachers' rationale. – user2768 Apr 17 '18 at 8:45
  • @Nav - arXiv isn't peer reviewed, so it doesn't distinguish based on quality. It is moderated, so very dubious or off-topic submissions would get excluded. Barring that, everything goes. If you choose the arXiv route, just check the policy of the target journal - see if it permits prior submission to arXiv. Many journals explicitly state this on their webpage. – user153812 Apr 17 '18 at 10:43
  • Ok. Will check journal rules. I guess even conferences would have such rules? If both journals and conferences accept arXiv as a repository where authors can timestamp their work/idea, then it'd be a great help when needing proof during disputes and could potentially reduce deliberate scooping. – Nav Apr 17 '18 at 15:15

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