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If someone upload their submitted journal both for peer-review and as a pre-print, how they are sure that their work will not be copied from random readers that have downloaded the pre-print in order to read it? I mean, if the paper is finally rejected and a reader has downloaded the pre-print paper, they can copy any part of the document they want and use it in order to to submit for publishing "their own" journal, since it is will not be published....Am I losing something here?

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  • Because it is extremely rare that your concern plays out in real life.
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 30 at 1:24

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Anyone that copies the preprint and submits it under their own name commits plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. If detected it'll usually lead to instant rejection of the paper, possible blacklisting by the journal, and very likely disciplinary action by the plagiarist's institution.

Before those consequences happen, plagiarism needs to be proved. Having a preprint is an easy way to prove priority - the author wrote the paper first, on this exact date, and if the reader's version is after that date, the onus is on them to prove they didn't plagiarize.

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    +1 Good answer, simple and to the point. Might add, established services like arXiv have a date stamp to prove priority. Jan 30 at 3:30

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