I have written a first draft of a paper, but I have found it is way too long for any journal, so I decided to divide it into two separate papers with titles along the line:

My paper I - Theory

My paper II - Applications

How do I submit the two papers together to the same journal?

I am afraid they might be seen as two separate submissions and go to different referees, so the first will drown in a sea of formulae, while the second will read about applications of formulae he/she does not know and might not understand.

  • 4
    You would likely need to contact an editor first to give them a heads up that you're going to do this. Paper 2 might not get accepted if it is refereed by separate people than Paper 1. However, submitting both may be frowned upon because it could create a large burden on the referee(s) for both papers. You may be asked to trim both papers down to a single paper to make it more reasonable for everyone involved or you may need to submit Paper 1 then Paper 2 after acceptance. What is your page count looking like for each paper and what area are you in? More info is needed to give good advice. May 3 at 15:25
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    Such papers are not uncommon, so the editor will know what you should do.
    – Jon Custer
    May 3 at 15:26
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    @CameronWilliams The first is about 40 pages, the second about 30.
    – mattiav27
    May 3 at 15:29
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    @CameronWilliams Theoretical physics (General Relativity to be specific). Papers that long do exist in the field.
    – mattiav27
    May 3 at 15:34
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    How do you think is submitting a paper split into two to the same journal, expecting the same reviewers to review the two parts and probably either both accepted or both rejected, any better than submitting just one long paper? May 3 at 20:51

3 Answers 3


If the two papers cannot be reviewed independently, then they cannot be read independently. In that case it sounds like the decision to split the paper was wrong.

You should split a paper, or not, based on content not based on length. Some 100-page papers work best as a single paper, and some 20-page papers would be better off split into two.

If the theory section can be sensibly split, then doing that and dividing the applications between the two papers appropriately would make sense. But splitting theory from applications does not.

  • 4
    This is good advice in theory, but in practice it may be that the best-suited journals for a certain topic simply do not allow for papers long than e.g. 50 pages. May 3 at 20:57
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    @AdamPřenosil such a journal would clearly not be well-suited to this paper. If the maximum is 50 pages, then that's the most they will send out to a single reviewer even if it's labelled as "two papers, honest, but please review them together". May 4 at 8:24
  • You should only submit two papers if you are happy for them to actually be treated as two papers. May 4 at 8:30

There's no problem here, what you are doing is quite sensible and happens often, say, in math. You just just describe the situation clearly in the cover letter, requesting that the two papers are handled by the same associate editor.

Whether or not they are assigned the same referee is not so important, and it's actually up to the editor. What's important is that all referees involved have access to both papers. If you put them both on ArXiv and cross-reference, the problem is solved. If you don't want to make them public yet, then you can for example attach them to each other as supplementary material.


I would honestly try to rewrite both papers, aiming at submitting paper I in say Journal A (theory paper), and paper II in Journal B (applications).

It'll be a nice exercise in restructuring and repurposing an academic paper and it'll give you two publications. I would search for journals that focus on theory to submit paper I and journals that focus on applications to submit paper II.

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