A while ago, I submitted a first paper and it has been Under Review for a while. After submitting the paper, I was already working on another paper, which is related to the first one and requires giving it proper reference.

Currently, I have finished the second paper and I'm confused between two options:

1- Waiting for the first paper to get published (in case of acceptance) and then give proper reference to it in the second paper and proceed to submit.

2- Proceed to submit the second paper without giving proper reference to the first (since it has not yet been published), and hope that the decision on the first paper will be received so that I can give proper reference in the revised version of the second paper.

Which one of the two options is reasonable and ethical?

NB 1: Note that the results of the second paper do not make those of the first useless, and each paper has its own results.

NB 2: No preprint option is available from the first journal.

  • 8
    What do you mean by "No preprint option is available by the first journal" - does the journal forbid preprints? If they do not forbid preprints, it's important to know that most preprints are not posted as part of the review process even though some journals have started doing this. Instead, most preprints are posted on independent archive sites like arxiv, biorxiv, etc.
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 15, 2022 at 13:36
  • @BryanKrause, yes the journal forbids preprints after submission.
    – Med Med
    Aug 15, 2022 at 15:19
  • 8
    @HichamKhalil: So as a corollary you have now learned not to submit any further articles to this specific journal in the future. Aug 15, 2022 at 16:59
  • When I had a situation like that I have cited my first paper as "bla bla bla, preprint" or "bla bla bla, to appear in...". Then, when I got a revision for the second paper, I have edited the reference of the first paper.
    – Yanko
    Aug 16, 2022 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


The third option is to reference the earlier paper and mark it in any citation as (submitted, not yet accepted) or similar. Note that the time to publication and the review process make this possible. Few papers (not zero, but not many) are published exactly as first submitted. This will give you the opportunity to update the citation if the first paper gets published.

In essence you will need to make such changes eventually in any case, so you may as well let the reviewers know of the existence and status of the earlier paper. This isn't an especially uncommon situation.

Ethical considerations would occur if the second paper is actually published without necessary citations. But it isn't a big issue for submission, provided you are clear.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .