I remembered that I ticked to share my manuscript with preprint by mistake three months ago, during the submission process

  • Journal of Hazardous Materials

Some days after, my manuscript was immediate rejected (desk reject).

After that, I didn't receive any e-mails about preprint so I gradually forgot it until I submitted my paper to another magazine recently.

Several days ago, the editor (of the magazine) asked me to disclose on the Cover Letter if the manuscript has been submitted to a preprint server prior to submission on them.

I've searched SSRN, I can't locate my preprint.
° SSRN is the preprint server/platform for the first journal
I also searched every preprint database but couldn't find it.

What should I do next please?

  • 2
    "I ticked to share my manuscript with preprint" - where exactly did you tick that, and how exactly was it worded? "then my manuscript was immediate rejected" - by whom? Jun 14 at 12:36
  • I think that there is some crucial information missing in the question. I suspect that this "ticked 'to share'" happened during some submission, right?
    – Dirk
    Jun 14 at 12:51
  • 1
    I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear. I remember I selected "YES, I want to share my research early and openly as a preprint" in the submission system of the first journal. A few days after submission the editor gave a desk rejection, and I didn't receive any email about the preprint.
    – Julia
    Jun 14 at 13:26
  • I think you still need to clarify which submission system this is about. If you don't want to mention the journal, at least mention which publisher it is, as this is likely enough to narrow down which preprint server the manuscript potentially would have been deposited to.
    – Anyon
    Jun 14 at 14:16
  • Oh sorry, the first journal is Journal of Hazardous Materials (JHZ) and the second is Environmental Science and Pollution Research (ESPR). I have logged into my account on SSRN and searched, but I still couldn't find it.
    – Julia
    Jun 14 at 14:26

2 Answers 2


Journal of Hazardous Materials's Guide for authors mentions that

During submission to Editorial Manager, you can choose to release your manuscript publicly as a preprint on the preprint server SSRN once it enters peer-review with the journal. Your choice will have no effect on the editorial process or outcome with the journal. Please note that the corresponding author is expected to seek approval from all co-authors before agreeing to release the manuscript publicly on SSRN.

You will be notified via email when your preprint is posted online and a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is assigned. Your preprint will remain globally available free to read whether the journal accepts or rejects your manuscript.

i) your manuscript was desk rejected ("immediate rejected") and did not enter peer review,
ii) you never received an email mentioning the preprint being posted, and
iii) you have searched SSRN without finding it,
then it seems safe to assume that it was, in fact, never posted.

On the other hand, erring on the side of full disclosure is usually a good idea, so you could mention in your cover letter to the new journal that the paper was previously submitted to a journal that offered to release it as a preprint, but as far as you are aware, never actually did so.


I would supplement @Anyon answer by saying, in addition
Search Google/Bing with the title of your manuscript submitted to the first journal.

If nothing comes up, then it's safe to 'conclude' that there's no preprint. Nonetheless, still follow Anyon's advice of erring on the side of full disclosure.

PS: Search engines like Google might have a cache of your preprint if it was on a preprint server at one time, even if temporary.

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