I have some published papers and in my CV, I mention them under the heading of "Publications".

However, I have some papers that I have not yet submitted to a venue (conference or journal). I think that I cannot mention these papers as "Publications".

What is the best and more appropriate description for the papers that have not been submitted yet? e.g. "Research Papers"? Or "Research Manuscripts"? Or something else?

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    "Manuscripts in preparation" is pretty much the standard way AFAIK.
    – 299792458
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 12:53
  • 1
    "Manuscript in preparation" is standard from what I've seen. But note - while it's OK for a junior researcher with only 4-5 papers to list those in preparation, it doesn't look good for more senior people. If you're new, it's fair to show that you have more potential work, but if you already have even a modest publication record, "in preparation" looks naive and/or like resume-padding
    – iayork
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 17:25

4 Answers 4


Work in Progress might be good as it implies that there may still be some work to do in the writing - and even some uncertainty about the final title. In addition it also subtly says that you are still active and not resting on your old achievements.

You could, in addition, mark each paper according to its readiness, or at least those that are ready for submission.

I think that Research Papers carries a connotation that they are internal and may not be published.

  • 1
    To me, "work in progress" suggests that the paper is not yet complete and quite likely that even the research leading to it has not yet been finished. In other words, it isn't a paper yet. Since the question asks about actual papers, I think the work is more advanced than "work in progress". Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 14:41
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    @DavidRicherby, as, I said, mark it appropriately. But it is a bit better to be conservative in such things than overly optimistic.
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 14:44

I want to second the idea that your "Publications" or "Scholarship" section of your CV should have subsections. Typically, there would be separate subsections something along these lines: books and book chapters; peer-reviewed journal articles; peer-reviewed conference proceedings; non-peer-reviewed publications; unpublished manuscripts; manuscripts in preparation.

I also recommend highly that any piece of scholarship that you list on your CV in this section should be publicly available, if only by request. This is of course the case for published materials. For unpublished materials and papers in preparation, I think the best practice is that you should make them available upon request. Thus, it is best not to list something until it is in state where you are ready to share it.


I suggest using subdivisions in your list of publications, for instance:

  • Peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Peer-reviewed conference articles
  • Non-peer reviewed publications
  • [edited] Future submissions
  • @Buffy you're right, I didn't think this through. edited.
    – Erwan
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 12:42
  • Good, but note to the OP that something like "pending publications" is misleading if the work hasn't been submitted. If you are questioned on it you will be embarrassed (at best).
    – Buffy
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 12:44

I recommend to take a positive attitude and just list them in sequence (i.e. reverse chronological, right up front, along with the rest) and say "in preparation for J. Appl. Phys." or whatever journal is planned. Use your common sense. But if you publish all the time in J. Appl. Phys. and know the paper meets the subject and quality hurdles, fine, list that. If you seriously think it is a Science/Nature/Phys Rev paper, than list that. I'm going to assume you are an accomplished paper writer and getting publisheder. Or well on your way to being there. So this should not be rocket science to know where you plan to submit. And you should be submitting to places you plan to get accepted at (not chasing rainbows or submitting junk).

Given that you say "in preparation" or "submitted" or whatever qualifier, it's OBVIOUS that the paper may never get finished (or might evolve, split, merge, etc.) Even "in press" still has some wiggle room in that there is a remote possibility it shifts venue or the like (I mean it's not in the archived literature yet). So what. Not a big deal. Note, I see many CVs on the web that have this exact structure. The simple caveat is plenty. You don't need to obsess about different sections or the like.

The other, not insignificant, benefit is that it concentrates your mind. And makes you more likely to finish, submit, get published. Because you have identified the target.

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    To my mind, "in press at X" is much more impressive (sorry) than "in preparation for X." The in press paper has been reviewed and accepted, so the journal name carries some weight. For things that are in preparation or submitted, the title may be informative, but the journal choice is...aspirational: reformatting a paper for a high profile journal isn't usually the hard part of publishing there. "Under Review" is in the middle, since your paper has usually been evaluated, at least by an editor, but perhaps not completely.
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 13:54
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    There's no real wiggle room in "in press". It means that publication has been agreed with the journal and you're just waiting for the article to be physically printed. Unless something very unusual happens, the paper will appear in the stated venue. Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 14:38
  • Dave/Matt: of course. The words give their own import: in prep, submitted, in review, in press, etc.
    – guest
    Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 19:15

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