I've read today a paper about my research field that seems similar to my submission (rejected) to a conference. It includes ideas, some scientific elements, and concepts but is not exactly a word-to-word copy of my work. I'm not sure this is plagiarism.

Could you guide me how to investigate this issue? Is there any way to find who had access to my submission in a double blind review?


I'm pretty sure that you won't be told who had access to your submission absent a lawsuit, which I don't advise. However, you might be able to instigate an investigation by contacting the conference chair (or program chair,...) of the conference you submitted to.

You could send both your own work and a reference to the other work you found to the chair and ask for an investigation. The chair knows who saw your paper and might be able to establish an improper connection if such exists. I wouldn't express it as a complaint or an accusation, but simply a request that the committee investigate.

However, even if such an investigation is undertaken, and it might not be, you might never hear the results. This could be true even if sanctions were applied to another researcher.

On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence in the history of the world of parallel research and independent researchers coming to the same conclusions nearly simultaneously. Newton and Leibniz parallel investigations that led to the Calculus is a classic example.

While we like to think that our thoughts are our own, it is usually true that we build on the shoulders of others. The giants that you had access to are also accessible to others. Your insights might be shared, especially in any field that is especially active.

I'll note that while copyright law varies around the world, your claim of copyright might be weak if your paper hasn't been published anywhere. This might be mitigated if you put an explicit copyright claim in the paper itself, but local laws will determine that.

  • Other than possibility of the issue, my submission was rejected; while, that paper has been awarded 1st Best Paper! This is not fair. I'm feeling so sad! – C2121 Jul 1 '18 at 14:02
  • Thanks for giving the information, Buffy. I will negotiate with the co-chair of the conferences. – C2121 Jul 1 '18 at 14:05
  • 2
    @Mohamad, I'm going to just guess here that the committee received two papers that were quite similar. They couldn't accept both. Given that the other was valued very highly, doesn't mean that yours was considered low quality. While you feel sad, of course, you might take heart that your ideas, at least, seem valued. The second racer in a contest feels bad, but might have done extremely well in absolute terms. It feels terrible to run at world record times only to finish second. – Buffy Jul 1 '18 at 14:32
  • I do appreciate your comment. No, That paper was published within about a year of my submission date. I will investigate the issue for myself as well as other real researchers. You're right ...While you feel sad, of course, you might take heart that your ideas, at least, seem valued... – C2121 Jul 1 '18 at 14:44
  • @Mohamad, sorry, no. I prefer to keep my anonymity here. – Buffy Jul 2 '18 at 14:34

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