I have accidentally found myself in a dual submission situation. I submitted it to one journal over four months ago. A few weeks later I sent another email inquiring about the status of the article. After waiting a further few months I assumed I had not been successful and there had been an error. At this point, I should have sent an email request to remove the article from consideration. I did not. I then submitted the article to another journal (around three weeks ago). I am now aware of how serious submitting to two journals is. I have since received an apology for the delay and confirmation that my article has been received by the first journal, informing me it has been sent for peer review. I immediately responded apologising and asking to remove my article from consideration.

Is there anything else I need to do in order to correct this mistake?

  • 4
    There is nothing "accidental" about the situation. When you submit a manuscript to a journal, you confirm that it is not under consideration elsewhere. You decided to go ahead without having received an answer from the first journal. Strictly speaking that is academic misconduct (although there are mitigating circumstances and your corrected it). Don't do this again.
    – user9482
    Oct 19, 2021 at 7:03
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    I'm curious, why did you withdraw from the first journal (where the article had progressed further) rather than from the second journal?
    – nanoman
    Oct 19, 2021 at 7:21
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    @nanoman: One likely reason (which I would have felt in OP’s situation) is that the second journal is entirely “innocent”, while the first journal is (at least partly) responsible for the situation. So it seems fairer that the first journal, not the second, should have to deal with the negative consequences.
    – PLL
    Oct 19, 2021 at 10:18
  • @PLL Sure, but the consequences for the journal (and waste of referee time) are lower for the paper that was submitted only three weeks ago. It may well be that this paper was simply sitting in a queue and no one had spent any time on it yet. So it would have seemed cleaner all around to withdraw the one submitted very recently.
    – nanoman
    Oct 19, 2021 at 16:00
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    Hello, OP here. My first thought was the same as @PLL outlined above. Although, I can understand your perspective too- Perhaps that would have been a better response. I was in a bit of a panic! Thankfully, the first journal responded quickly acknowledging the withdrawal. I have also been informed the second journal has responded and the research has been sent for peer review. I will certainly ensure I am not in this position again. Oct 27, 2021 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


No, you have taken proper action.

Assuming it wasn't in the system was an error of judgement, but your withdrawal has corrected the problem.

  • 2
    Proper actionS, just in the wrong order, as Churchill more elegantly didn't say "Americans will always do the right thing - after exhausting all the alternatives."
    – EarlGrey
    Oct 19, 2021 at 13:20
  • OP: I would have actually retracted the second one.
    – Alchimista
    Oct 20, 2021 at 9:26

First journal: I am not sure what they claimed, but 4 months without communications seems a long time. They are at fault. But they can live with harming your interest, you are "just" a client, golden rule for a succesful business is "you cannot please all your clients".

Second journal: I assume they asked you (via submission forms and the like) if you submitted or if you were planning to submit the same material somewhere else (or similar legalish gibberish). Depending on what you answered, you are at fault. You have been careless and you harmed yourself doing your job, luckily your job is not "truck driver", so for the moment the damage is only on you [1].

However the first journal has a history of poor communication, ask insistently confirmation of the cancelled submission. Apart from the copyright, there is the larger issue of people already doing peer review (free work) without any use.

Additionally, if your research field, or at least the pool of experts regarding your paper topic, is small enough, you put yourself in a dangerous situation: what if the two journals sent your paper to the same reviewer? If I were the reviewer (let's say I am reviewer A), I would immediately contact the editors that sent me the paper for review.

In a theoretical world, the second submission may be invalid (we do not know what you declared during submission), so you should withdraw the second submission and submit it again to another journal, openly declaring to the editor all the submission history with the previous two journals, so the editor can properly present your paper to the reviewers.

Reviewer A receives then the same paper for the third time. Thanks to the short introduction from the editor, reviewer A finally understands the authors had issues with submission to the previous journal(s). Without the note from the editor, reviewer A would think the authors are exploiting peer reviews and the submissions system, trying their luck to get their work published in blatant disrespect of decency, fairness and consideration for other people works.

[1] Don't worry, Academia (the big one, not StackExchange only) is full of people taking moral shortcuts and having all kind of double standards, so you are not the first, nor the last, but at least consider how serious it is if you lied, even if it was just a "box ticking form on the web".

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    Hello OP here, Thank you for your response. Thankfully I have heard back from the first journal quickly with confirmation of withdrawal. Taking your advice on board, I emailed the second journal to inform them of my mistake, provide an explanation and let them know the resolve. Luckily they were understanding! Oct 27, 2021 at 12:14

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