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Last year, I submitted a paper to the conference XX'22 in January. We made an Arxiv preprint. And the paper got rejected. We got very good reviews, except there were some imprecisions that we needed to improve.

Some months later we submit to YY'23 and the paper got accepted in November 2022. We wrote blogs about the paper, tutorials, we released software...

A few weeks ago, we presented the paper in the YY'23 conference.

Now I am a reviewer of XX'23. And I have to review a paper whose main claim is the same that we made in our submission in XX'22. It has been on Arxiv since then and has now been published.

The keywords are the same. The paper title has the exact same bigram. Their method is different, but with the same theoretical principles.

One of the experiments has the same evaluation methodology as ours.

And, obviously, there is no citation. The main contribution of this paper is being novel about this technique that is very simple.

As a reviewer, what should I do?

Deadlines:

  • Paper submission XX'22: Jan 2022

  • Paper notification XX'22: May 2022

  • Conference XX'22: July 2022

  • Preprint in arxiv: Jan 2022

  • Paper submission YY'22: Aug 2022

  • Paper notification YY'22: Nov 2022

  • Conference YY'23: Feb 2023

  • Paper submission XX'23: Jan 2023

Note that the XX'23 submission is before the YY'23 presentation

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    Are you accusing them of plagiarism or other inappropriate conduct, or is this a "Well, this was rejected last year, so it should be this year?" or just "Well, this isn't novel anymore"? Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 21:29
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    I guess "it is. not novel anymore" I dont know if they knew or not about the existence of my paper. I want to think not. Commented Feb 18, 2023 at 21:46
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    Did you mean: "Conference YY'23: Feb 2023"? It's rather reasonable they missed your paper, considering the timing is so close.
    – Passer By
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 7:44
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    Yes. I guess they missed the paper. The problem still persists Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 7:59
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    Point is, in some domains "paper on arxiv" is not "a paper". It's just something you wrote on the internet and lord knows whether it is correct, consistent or even coherent; being rejected underlines this. It wouldn't count as actually being published in a scientific sense. Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 12:19

2 Answers 2

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I would recommend you do now what a peer reviewer is supposed to do: Give feedback on the scientific substance of the manuscript. You can explain in your review pretty clearly that there is previous work that would need to be taken into account in the discussion of the literature, and that the authors should explain how their work contributes new knowledge. Also, if appropriate, you can express your concern that there are similarities between your paper and the manuscript that suggest that the authors plagiarized. Then it is up to the editors what to do with this information.

It also would make sense to disclose to the editors as clearly as possible what happened from your perspective, like you do it in your question, and that you are an author of the earlier paper. Do not put this info into the review for the authors, though, in order not to violate the anonymity of the review process.

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    I agree with this, but I'd start by contacting the editors. I'd find out how they want to treat it. If it's similar enough that it could be plagiarised, they might want to investigate this first. If it's just convergent ideas, then treat it exactly as you would reviewing another paper that was remarkably similar to an existing one.
    – lupe
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 9:38
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It is relevant that your paper was published in YY23 and that it was on arxiv earlier- you should highlight the YY23 paper in the review, tell the area chair that you are the author of the YY23 paper, and let the area chair decide if it is too similar (even plagiarism?) or no longer novel, or that the publication is so recent that it doesn't affect novelty.

While it stings, it is irrelevant that your paper was rejected from XX22 since the authors of the 'new' paper had no access to rejected papers. Mentioning the XX22 submission will hurt your credibility.

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    "since the authors of the 'new' paper had no access to rejected papers" At least the Editor and the reviewers have seen the paper.
    – FooBar
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 20:41
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    @FooBar ya if it were me I'd change that to "presumably had no access".
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 23:47
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    OP said the Arxiv preprint of the rejected paper was available a year before the XX'23 paper submission.
    – Abigail
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 9:02

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