I was recently given to review a journal paper that significantly overlaps with a work that we recently submitted to a conference (about half of the contributions are the same).

Any advice on what to do in this case?

(even if I tell the editor now that I'm unable to review the paper, I've already read it).

marked as duplicate by FuzzyLeapfrog, corey979, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, Flyto, user3209815 Feb 26 at 13:36

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  • With the slight difference that our paper is currently under submission. – user104841 Feb 22 at 21:57
  • Since this is tagged CS, are preprints available for both papers? – Anyon Feb 22 at 22:00
  • Neither have a preprint available, and now I'm uncomfortable uploading one. – user104841 Feb 22 at 22:02
  • @user104841 That's unfortunate. Both groups noting "we recently became aware of a related work" would've been appropriate if they were. It might still be possible by going through the editor, as suggested by Buffy. – Anyon Feb 22 at 22:30
  • just decline to review and don't take advantage of them. – A Simple Algorithm Feb 24 at 16:50

If you already submitted the paper you have some evidence of your own work even without a "published" preprint. Inform the editor of the situation and get advice. You may even be permitted to review it and point to your own paper in the review, but that would be up to the editor.

Parallel independent work is pretty common, especially in popular fields.

One option is to use editors of the two journals (assuming there are two) to act as intermediaries to get the two groups together. I don't think I'd recommend doing it on your own, however.

  • Our submission was to a conference, sorry for not mentioning this. Does this change anything? If we are rejected, would it be OK to submit it again? – user104841 Feb 22 at 22:18
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    If you are confident about the work then you should be fine, but continue to develop a paper trail to show you haven't plagiarized the other work. I don't think that journal vs conference is a deciding factor. – Buffy Feb 22 at 22:19
  • I guess I should also avoid writing a review for their paper. If we are accepted to a conference, should I notify their editor? – user104841 Feb 22 at 22:25
  • Probably best to do that, but give full information. The conference chair may need to make decisions, but also knows about parallel work, I'm sure. It is best if the news comes from you. – Buffy Feb 22 at 23:02

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