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I am part of two different labs that are studying very similar things. One is the impact of smoking on elbow or shoulder replacement, and the other is the impact of smoking on wrist replacement.

They both want to submit to the same journal within the same month, and I am afraid since I'm going to be an author on both papers (first on one, third on another) that I am putting both in jeopardy.

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I doubt that being the author on both papers will, in itself, have any effect. If you remove yourself from either, in other words, I'd expect the decision of the publisher to be unchanged.

But the issue is that they seem awfully similar, though it isn't my field. Unless you have some reason why the effect should be different for one joint rather than another, I'd worry that the publisher won't want both of them.

However, if the methodologies (surgical and/or research) of the papers are sufficiently different, which you haven't suggested, then a publisher might be interested in both.

Is is possible that you combine the two papers in to one? As an outsider in the field, this would seem like a more interesting paper to a publisher, even if there are some differences in outcomes. It surprises me that you haven't suggested this already, since you know of the similarities.

FWIW, there are no ethical issues in submitting both papers, whether at the same time or not and no matter the authorship.

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  • re combining into one, the OP is 1st auth on one and someone else is 1st auth on the second. So which academic is it who doesn't get 1st authorship? I can see Alice looking up at us from the bottom of that hole.
    – CGCampbell
    May 18 at 10:20
  • Medical research can be surprisingly specialized; that said, to me this sounds like fairly low-impact research on both studies. I presume these are retrospective correlational analyses, a dime-a-dozen in the medical field, but still useful as a collective whole.
    – Bryan Krause
    May 18 at 20:21

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