I understand Arxiv preprints are the way to go. But, I submitted a paper to an elsevier journal 2 months back. I am still to receive any review for it. I made a mistake of not putting in Arxiv before submitting it.

Now if someone does the same work as I have done. Can I complain about plagiarism based on the fact that I submitted the paper 2 months ago to the journal? Or, is Arxiv the only way to address this issue?

  • 3
    It is only plagiarism if they copied (and therefore have read) your paper. But there should be a record of your submission date: ask the journal. But why do you need to prove that you were first? If you explain what happened, and what you want to achieve, you will probably get a better answer.
    – Louic
    Aug 31 at 9:09
  • Also, there is nothing stopping you from still uploading the pre-print to arXiv.
    – mmeent
    Aug 31 at 9:29
  • 1
    @mmeent While I have seen examples of policies allowing posting to the arXiv prior to submission but not after (a while ago, don't remember which journal), I find it extremely hard to imagine that they'd be enforced. I'd personally just go for it anyway.
    – Arno
    Aug 31 at 10:01
  • 1
    @Louic, As far as I can see, that list contains no examples of journals with that particularly irrational restriction. (And explicitly says Elsevier journals do not have it.)
    – mmeent
    Aug 31 at 10:17
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    You might be overly paranoid. Unless you have solved some famous and long-open problem of your field, a priority dispute is extremely unlike to arise when another group of researchers publishes a work that is similar to yours. Aug 31 at 12:21

You cannot complain about plagiarism unless you can show the other authors have read your paper. You can, however, say you have precedence based on the fact that your paper was completed first (or you might be able to say the results were obtained independently).

If your paper is accepted it will say "received [date]" and that date would establish precedence. You can also upload a preprint, of course.

  • Yes, important to note that unless the journal bans it somehow it's not too late to preprint.
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 31 at 12:25

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