We have a few 2D low energy electron diffraction LEED images (field is Physics/Surface Science) that are currently not yet published, the analysis is not complete nor their implications fully explored.

But they would be really nice to include within a larger group of images in a paper I'm writing now about how to analyze these kinds of images, because they represent special cases - they're "edge cases" so to speak, and honestly their patterns are particularly intriguing. One might consider using one as a first or "lead" image for the current paper.

I think the main and most obvious reason not to include them at this point is to avoid being "scooped" - somebody (with plenty of time on their hands) figures out what it is, how to make it, then publishes a full "first" paper before we do.

Besides that what would be the biggest disadvantages and risks of publishing new raw data as one of a group of instructive examples while planning to publish a full analysis of the data later?

note: the necessary information for the description of the image is minimal, essentially "Depositing X atoms on Y surface sometimes produces the following diffraction patterns."

different but perhaps slightly related:

1 Answer 1


I think the other main potential disadvantage to consider would be that the data/diffraction patterns you include in your how-to paper could be considered previously published when it comes to the submission of the full analysis paper. Whether this is a big deal or not can depend on the publisher, journal and what percentage of the full data is included in the how-to paper. In physics I wouldn't be particularly concerned unless the goal is to submit the full paper to, e.g., one of the Nature-branded journals. I don't know if surface science has a different publishing culture as parts of it are closer to chemistry.

  • Good point! Indeed Nature Scientific Reports (editorial-policies) is a potential target for the full analysis paper while (depending on how it fleshes out) the how-to would be more suitable for Physical Review B. (authors; content) or even Journal of Applied Crystallography (authors) or Review of Scientific Instruments (AIP author instructions).
    – uhoh
    May 7, 2023 at 19:24
  • So this disadvantage bifurcates into the challenges associated with reading, understanding and interpreting published policies, extra time associated with proactive communicating directly with editors of targets for the full analysis paper explaining a hypothetical, and delays associated with resubmission if an editor upon reviewing a manuscript with either a notification of raw-data reuse, or perhaps a letter of permission for reuse from how-to journal's editor. All for a few additional black-and-white thumbnails that looks "cool" plus a few extra data point on a graph. Hmm... :-)
    – uhoh
    May 7, 2023 at 19:29
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    @uhoh Well, if those data points improve the paper it might be worth the effort... Don't spend too much time on interpreting editorial policies. For the journals you mention, I think you can probably just obtain approval for reuse of any copyrighted material as appropriate, and then make data sources clear in both the text and cover letter of the analysis paper. The concern I alluded to in the answer is rather in regards to acceptance if it was a submission to one of the top impact factor journals (by Nature-branded journals I meant e.g. Nature Physics, not Scientific Reports et al.).
    – Anyon
    May 7, 2023 at 19:59

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