I've written an article which is 32 pages long, (including 1.5 page of references and 3 pages of appendices). I intend to submit it to a conference which accepts 20-page long articles including references and excluding appendices, with at most an additional 10 pages for appendices.

The obvious way to proceed is to move some parts of the original article to the appendices. Indeed, some proofs are very similar to proofs published in former articles (which are of course, cited throughout the proofs). Thus, it's no big deal if they were to be moved to the appendices, since the original proofs are, to my opinion, what makes the article interesting.

However, the article will still be 32 pages long. A possible fix is to simply remove the previous appendix of the article. This appendix is a proof written in a previous article (which I'm not affiliated with in any way). The goal of the appendix is to show that this proof can still be applied to the more general context the article deals with. The proof is essentially the same: at the exception of some trivial tricks in the equations, the only thing that differs between this proof and the original one are the equations.

However, I'm quite embarrassed to simply say "trust me, do the same proof and it'll work". A solution I've thought about, since the article is already an eprint available on Internet, is to cite this eprint in the conference version of the article. Something along the lines of "This proof can be found in the full version of this article [1]".

Is it ethical, and likely to be accepted by the editors?

  • 14
    Sure, it's ethical. This issue has nothing to do with ethics. Your second question is the more relevant one. Some conferences will expect papers to be complete, self-contained works that can be read and understood without reference to much longer works that are posted elsewhere, so in such a conference your suggested solution would be frowned upon and possibly lead to rejection. Still, there's nothing unethical about submitting such a paper. And as @Uwe's answer says, in some disciplines it's considered totally standard to cite a fuller version containing additional technical details.
    – Dan Romik
    Mar 23, 2022 at 17:40
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    On one occasion, I had a paper rejected for not citing another version. Unbeknownst to me, a student had published a early version of our paper. When I stumbled upon it, I explained to the student that it’s enough reason alone for a rejection... which is precisely what happened. The reviewer said it was suspicious that we’re publishing the same content twice, and the editor agreed. Mar 24, 2022 at 3:51
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    Cover both paper the same topic or are there differences? Having the same paper published twice would be unethical...
    – usr1234567
    Mar 25, 2022 at 9:49
  • @DanRomik - seems like a good answer; please put it in the answer box :-)
    – cag51
    Mar 26, 2022 at 22:20

2 Answers 2


Referring to the full version (technical report) of a paper in a conference publication of the same paper with a strict page limit is completely standard, at least in computer science.


Actually, it might be essential to cite an earlier version, if it is or will be published. If you imply that the two works are independent then you are being dishonest and open yourself to charges of self plagiarism.

Presumably the longer/earlier paper has a more complete context a reader of the new version may well want access to that context without guessing that the earlier version exists.

Yes, cite it.

And be aware of any copyright restrictions that may apply if you have given up rights to a publisher.

  • 5
    This is a good point. It would arguably be unethical not to cite it. Mar 25, 2022 at 13:39

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