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I want to submit an abstract for a call for papers for a good journal in my field. I don't have the paper ready yet, but I have a vague idea for a paper that I would like to propose to the journal editors. Is it possible to write an abstract on such a basis? If selected, there is time of 7 months to submit the manuscript.

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  • What field? Scientific? Math? History? ...?
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 14:26
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    Applied Linguistics
    – Erin
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 14:41
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    This may not be the best site for this question, given the field. Not many linguists are regular here. There is a companion site that might be better: linguistics.stackexchange.com. Check their help center before posting, though. But I've added a tag to try an ping whoever is about.
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 15:18
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    Indeed this could be very field-specific, but I suspect the answer is: you can always try. It's just an abstract, and it can be changed by the time the paper is ready.
    – stochastic
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 17:47
  • What is your confidence level of being able to complete a paper of acceptable quality in the time? What is the penalty if you don't?
    – BillOnne
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 17:54

2 Answers 2

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It is not uncommon to submit an abstract of an unwritten paper for a conference proceedings (when applying to participate in a conference) or another low-key publication. Usually, it is about an ongoing work that is expected to be finished or an obvious offshoot of research already done.

However, if the project hasn't started yet, there is a high risk that it won't be finished in time. If the publication is low-key, one can still submit partial results or something like that... but the editors usually don't take it kindly, if one promises a paper and then bails out. And this may turn out badly even for low-key conference proceedings, since the editors and/or conference organizers in this case are usually people prominent in the field.

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I'm a mathematician but I once wrote a paper with an economist and did precisely this. We submitted an abstract for an economics conference where the paper would be presented, and the abstract was accepted. It probably helped that my co-author knew the organizers. Then, we had to write the paper as quickly as possible, which was actually a very good incentive to get it done. My co-author presented it and fielded questions. It was peer reviewed by a panel and published in the conference proceedings. Later, we rewrote the paper more carefully for a journal, since in econ journal publications are looked upon more favorably than conference, and there's not a prohibition for turning a conference paper into a journal paper. I echo the advice in the comments that it doesn't hurt to try, and forcing yourself to write the abstract helps you make progress on the paper even if the abstract doesn't get accepted.

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