I want to submit two separate works to two different conferences in CS field. The conference deadlines differ only by 3 weeks and one of them would be held in November while the other in September.

The problem is that i designed an algorithm and used that in both of the works. This algorithm is not the essential part of these papers, so i can introduce it completely in paper A as a novel method and just cite and use it in paper B; or vice versa!

But the problem is that at the time of submission, both of them are just submitted works, and i'm not sure if citing a submitted work is acceptable? Especially because if i only cite and use it in paper B, the reviewers cannot read paper A to see the complete proofs. And even i'm not sure which paper may be accepted/rejected!

Also if i introduce the method in both papers as a novel method, then if both of them get accepted they will consider it plagiarism!

3 Answers 3


I had done something similar during my PhD (upon advice by my supervisors). I'll explain my situation as it seems similar to yours (though you only told us about the similarities but not the differences between the content you have for your two papers).

I've developed a novel technique as well, and had quite a bit of results, though not quite enough for a journal submission. We submitted two conference papers:

  • The first one was targeting a smaller, very specialized conference, specifically in the subfield focused on the theory used in my technique; here we submitted a paper dissecting the theory behind my new technique and offering an exhaustive test of parameters and similar.
  • The second one in a much wider-topic conference, focusing on the performance of the method on the datasets of wide interest and comparison to other state of the art.

The theory was discussed at length in the theoretical paper. However, as there was no guarantee either of the papers would be published, we also introduced the theory in the other paper in a much denser and shorter, but still complete (i.e. containing everything necessary to make my experiments repeatable) manner. We then referred to the theory paper in the performance paper.

For cross-citation of such papers:

  • upload them both to preprint services (arXiv is fine but occasionally there is institutional services which are much less demanding to use)
  • cite them as (submitted) or (submitted to X) or (under review) and update it through the submission process (if you pass the first round of reviews)
  • some conferences allow/require to send a copy of any relevant but unpublished materials, so you can also send the second manuscript as supporting material with the submission (especially if, for any reason, you did not manage to use a pre-print service).
  • make sure there is no "significant overlap" between the papers (which would constitute auto-plagiarism) and that you are not re-using your own text

Most importantly though, if you can, talk to your supervisor. They will likely have experience and will be able to advise you best since they know your work.


Publish the algorithm on arXiv (or similar), e.g., by releasing a preprint of paper A. Paper B can now cite results on arXiv. This addresses your concern that reviewers of paper B "cannot read paper A."

Do not release the algorithm as a novel contribution of both papers A and B, that's problematic, as noted in the question.

  • What is "the above question"? I guess it's a brain-fart for "the above answer" but please don't write that. The order of answers is dependent on user settings and voting so the answer that's "above" on your screen isn't necessarily the one that's "above" on mine. Instead, say "User-X's answer" and link to it by clicking the "share" link below the answer. Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 14:14
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    I believe there is only one question, the one at the top.
    – user2768
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 14:39
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    Oh. Writing "the above [thing]" suggests that you're trying to disambiguate from some other [thing]. Edited. Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 15:15

Publish or Perish (3)–Fraud and ethics, 2000 has on page 3 a short description of the phenomena of “dual publication”. It happens quite often and is seldom punished. Another source see self-plagiarism mixed:

“Self-plagiarism refers to the practice of an author using portions of their previous writings on the same topic in another of their publications, without specifically citing it formally in quotes.“ Tips from the Editor, 2000

He comes to the conclusion, that self-plagiarsm is probably not a scientific misconduct, but it violates the copyright of the publisher. To prevent any kind of plagiarism the editor of the journal / conference should be informed and the plagiarist should be asked for an explanation.

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    Self-plagiarism mostly refers to (as you say) using verbatim potions of own previous text without quotation marks. The author is asking about a partial content overlap, not whether it is okay to use the same text in both. While avoiding self-plagiarism will definitely play a role in publishing (this kind of) results, the question was how to write and present two papers on different topics, but both relying on a (yet unpublished) technique he developed.
    – penelope
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 13:32

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