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I recently had a paper accepted into a conference, and am now working on a continuation of that paper. In the first paper I used one tool, while in this second paper I will use two tools. In the new paper, I plan to compare both tools. A lot of the text that made sense for the first paper, also makes sense in the second paper. For example, the experiment is done using the same data.

I am worried about two things: 1) self-plagiarism, and 2) keeping the anonymity for the peer review process.

How should I approach the development of the new paper?

Some ideas:

  1. Write the new paper as if the first one was not mine; the problem with this is that I will heavily cite myself (to prevent self-plagiarism), which indirectly kind of breaks anonymity (reviewers will see that one of the references, probably [1], appears 10+ times, so they can infer who we are).
  2. Write the second paper assuming that the first one is mine (i.e. "in this paper we continue previous research done in [1]"), but anonymize the self references (i.e. in the References section, [1] will not contain the title of the first paper, nor the name of the authors).

What is typically done in these situations? What would be the preferable approach?

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  • For what it is worth, I have a strong dislike for the use of the "mathematical we" in writing, and prefer to avoid phrases like "in this paper, we do [x]". Make it imperative (in mathematics: instead of "we cancel a 3 from both sides", simply "cancel 3 from both sides") or passive (instead of "we added 2 mL of solution", write "2 mL of solution were added"). This very much augers in favor of your solution (1), since the final result is a paper which doesn't make reference to the authors. Aug 1, 2023 at 19:35

1 Answer 1

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The proper way is your #1 and you should do this even if anonymity isn't an issue. That is how you avoid self plagiarism, pointing clearly to the earlier expression of the ideas you discuss.

You not only avoid self plagiarism by it also makes it easier to deal with copyright issues when the copyright on the first is now held by another.

In general, it is good to think of your earlier work ignoring who wrote it just as the authorship of papers by others is not material. It is the work that you quote and cite, not the authors.

And if it were someone else extending your work instead of yourself it is exactly how they should behave.

Also note that unless the peer review is double blind, you won't be anonymous to reviewers in any case. Double blind review is the standard in some fields, but not others. And even in double blind review it is the editor's job to maintain it.

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