It is well-established (and typically spelled-out in journals' instructions to authors) that is unacceptable to submit a single manuscript to multiple journals for peer review simultaneously. However, the rules for presubmission inquiries (which are essentially cover letters asking whether the journal would be interested in reviewing a given paper) are not clear to me; a presubmission inquiry does not constitute a formal submission.

Is it permissible to submit a presubmission inquiry regarding a single manuscript to more than one scientific journal?

Is it unethical to do so?

Further details on what presubmission inquiries are:

Presubmission inquiries are relatively common in genetics and biology. From the Nature website:

Presubmission enquiries are provided purely as a service to authors (for example, to see if a manuscript is likely to be of interest to the journal) and are not compulsory... Presubmission enquiries are not required for Articles or Letters, and can be difficult to assess reliably; Nature editors cannot make an absolute commitment to have a contribution refereed before seeing the entire paper. Entire papers should not be sent as presubmission enquiries, but should be formally submitted through our online submission system.

  • 1
    What is a a presubmission inquiry? Is this practice common in your field?
    – virmaior
    Jun 29, 2018 at 4:23

1 Answer 1


As an author I have done two presubmissions in the past. I do not know how they are handled by editors, but as an associate editor myself I gather they are informally skimmed by 1-2 editors within hours after submission. This means it is unlikely some "multiple presubmission" would be detected and I have never seen specific rules about priorities in presubmissions.

Thus I think one is safe from editorial action if "caught" in multiple presubmission enquiries. However I believe it will not be seen with good eyes by a handling editor, and might leave a bad impression.

Thus I would not recommend doing it. Particularly as an editorial answer usually comes in less than 48h.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .