I'm reviewing the paper X related to the topic Y for a conference which is single-blind (in Computer Science). Also, I'm about to submit a paper to a different conference related to the same topic (single-blind).

In fact, I noticed the paper X is a good recent work in the literature to which my paper belongs. However, it does not have the exact purpose as my work does, so I do not need to compare my results to those of paper X.

Therefore, I like to cite paper X in the introduction of my paper, but I'm not sure if it is appropriate. Well, based on the quality of the paper X I expect it to be accepted (with 75% of confidence!), but would it be appropriate if I cite it as a submitted work, especially when it is not my work?

  • 10
    You are committed to privacy and non disclosure
    – Alchimista
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 10:52
  • 4
    I changed the title. The answer would be totally different if this paper was a preprint you found outside the peer-review process. Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 11:05
  • @DavidKetcheson: Ok. I try to see if i can find a pre-print :)
    – Bob
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 11:07
  • The question and current answers seem to be about your obligation to the authors of the paper you're reviewing. You should also consider if you're willing to give up your anonymity as a reviewer of that paper by citing it before (or very shortly after) it is published. Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 23:16

2 Answers 2


Reviewers obligations in general include respecting the confidentiality of peer review and not revealing any details of a manuscript or related communications, during or after the peer review process. Detailed for example in the COPE Ethical Guidelines for Peer Reviewers.

That said, by citing a confidential manuscript you reveal the title, potentially giving away a scientific message, and the authors, disclosing the fact they are working on a specific research question.

You can however cite a different version of the work in case it was previously published on a preprint server for example.

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    One thing I would add to this answer, is that maybe by the time your camera ready version is due, the paper is already officially published. At that point, you can cite them the correct way.
    – Lot
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 12:53

You should not cite unpublished work that you discover during peer-review, because the reviewing process is confidential and citing such work violates confidentiality. There's an exception when such works are publicly available (e.g., as preprints), in which case they can be cited (without harming confidentiality).

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