Is it allowed that someone use the same paragraph in two submitted articles for two different journals? Note: both of these articles are unpublished still so it's not possible to cite one in another one. Also, those articles are submitted concurrently. If it is considered self-plagiarism, it should be really avoided or not? Because when someone works on a topic rigorously may introduction or even materials and method section will be relatively the same as his/her previous works. Any idea or suggestion is appreciated.

2 Answers 2


If the method is taken from elsewhere you should cite the protocol, and use block quote if necessary. If the method is novel, then pay attention during the submission, you should see one common question asking if the work has been presented or circulated elsewhere, you may use that to declare the potential repetition and let the editors decide. If no such slot exists, it's better to inform the editor in the cover letter.

Moving forward, consider cascading your publications: while paper A is under review, paper B should be being finalized, paper C being drafted, paper D's experiment being done, paper E and on being conceptualized. That way you can avoid problem like such and still maintain a reasonable output level.

To be honest, if I saw two papers from the same author saying "education data were broken down into 3 levels: less than high school, high school completed, and college or above." I will not jump off my chair and scream "plagiarism!!" But people's ideas about this issue are not all the same, I'd agree that assuming the worst would be a good approach.


To be safe, assume that it would be self plagiarism rather than making the opposite assumption. Cite the "other" work by author, name, etc and list it as "unpublished" or "under review" or whatever is fair.

It is just a good policy, protecting your own reputation, to be scrupulous in such things - even over scrupulous. Some people take it as a serious issue, others do not, but you don't have control over that.

So, whether it is "allowed" or not, I suggest you avoid the practice.

  • 1
    I know it's a really bad practice but sometimes it's not possible. Let's say in those two articles I used an identical chemical method to etch my samples. I just describe the chemistry of solution plus time and temperature. How can I paraphrase it in another article which I used the same etching method? I mean practically it's just a name of some molecules and that's it.
    – user97402
    Sep 13, 2018 at 16:29
  • Actually, @MehrdadYousefi, for some things in math, for example, and I suspect chemistry, people recognize that there is essentially only one way to state things - especially formulae. So an accusation is very unlikely But a cross reference is also good, even in those cases so that your readers will find both papers if they find one. Perhaps something of the form "This is also discussed ... in X" where X is in you list of references.
    – Buffy
    Sep 13, 2018 at 17:41

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