My previous postdoc supervisor submitted our work to a conference venue in December last year. He was the first author in this submission while I was the second author. It got accepted in March 2020. He did not inform me about this submission. The conference will be held next month; however, they already put this accepted paper online in IEEE Xplore last week. I get to know about this submission when I was searching for some of my papers online in the IEEE Xplore last week.

Now the problem is we have also submitted the same work in April 2020 to another conference (me as the first author, and he as a second author). He was fully aware of that submission, however, at that time, he did not inform me that the work is already accepted in another conference venue in March. Now I know that my work is accepted in one conference while it is in the review at another conference. So there is a clear plagiarism problem.

In this situation, when I informed him, after some argument, he now suggests withdrawing the paper in review with some excuse, and go with the accepted one.

Kindly suggest what should be done? Should I inform everything to both the venues and withdraw from both the places. Other options are to withdraw the accepted paper citing that it was submitted without my consent, or should I go with my supervisor's suggestions? I do not want to face any plagiarism related trouble.

  • 2
    This isn't plagiarism. But dual submission is not an acceptable practice and normally leads to rejection and other bad things.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 19:24
  • 5
    Your first step is to improve communication between you two.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 19:48
  • 7
    And the second step is to withdraw one of them. Quickly, before it is noticed.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 20:20
  • 2
    @stackoverblown That is highly field-dependent. Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 17:15
  • 1
    It depends on the field, but submitting already published results to a conference or talking about similar results on two different conferences are acceptable (and common) in many fields.
    – Greg
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 3:15

1 Answer 1


I cannot really judge any behaviour, but a couple of things popped out for me:

  1. Your advisor submitted an article without letting you know
  2. He put his name as first author
  3. He is now suggesting to keep the one with his name as first author and withdraw the one with your name as first author

I personally would write a letter informing the first conference that the submission was without your consent and ask for their policy. I would then write a second letter to the second conference informing them that the same article was submitted without your consent to another conference and attach the first letter. I would also write a third letter to your advisor with a copy of the first two letters.

Note, this is a "nuclear option" that will likely destroy any relationship with your advisor. But, if your supervisor truly stole your work as you describe, I assume this relationship is already ruined.

  • 10
    As a bit of warning: it is a pretty serious accusation to say work was submitted without your consent. While your suggestions follow what happened, they set up a major conflict. Approaching it this way would be a substantial bridge burning. I worry this answer makes it sound like no big deal.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 16:47
  • 1
    I agree with you, but I think that the bridge was already burned (assuming this is what happened) when the work was submitted without consent and the authors order switched. But yes, I did not mean to make it sound as no big deal.
    – user
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 17:28
  • Thank you, everyone, for your suggestions. I withdrew the paper that was under review.
    – user125325
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 4:45
  • 1
    I hope you are happy with the outcome
    – user
    Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 13:20

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