I wrote two political science papers with a similar premise but with different case studies conducted in countries A and B. I sent the 'A' one out to a journal last summer, and it took a while to get reviews, production, etc., but it is ready now, waiting for proofs. For the 'B' one, I sent in late fall and got quick reviews, quick production, and a great process, and now it is also waiting for proofs. These papers went to different journals —one is quite high-ranking, and the other is still quite solid.

An academic friend of mine suggested putting the proofs of the second one on hold for a while (two or three weeks) so the papers get attention individually, not one over the other. I thought of just getting them ready and getting them published because why wait? Is it sensible to get two papers out simultaneously, or does it not matter?

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    So few people will read your paper this kind of gaming is pointless. Commented Feb 15 at 19:00
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    @AzorAhai-him- how can you tell? Commented Feb 15 at 20:07
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    @JohnMadden I was mostly being pithy, but most papers receive very little attention. Let's say the OP's friend is right, and separating them gets more attention. Over the few months (the timescale of this plot), that might amount to a few dozen reads. Over years, this won't matter and is just fretting over nothing. Commented Feb 15 at 22:51
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    It's like, should I merge now or in a mile? It might save you four seconds out of your half hour drive. Commented Feb 15 at 22:51
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    It is also important not to add further delays and obstacles for your journal editor
    – user160623
    Commented Feb 16 at 13:10

3 Answers 3


The idea of stalling between the publication of each of the two might make some sense if there was a reasonable chance of "audience fatigue". That seems unlikely to happen in your case, particularly as the two papers are being published by different journals. Moreover, despite the fact that both papers now appear to be in the proof stage, publication timetables as well as the lead-times vary considerably among journals. Only you will know, but it is quite possible that one paper will appear quickly while the other might not be assigned to an issue for up to a year!

  • Both will go to "online first" publication though, prior to being assigned to an issue.
    – rhyso
    Commented Feb 15 at 13:06
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    Do any journals today not do this, publish online as soon as they have the page proofs back? DOI get's assigned, nobody cares about issue and page number any more. ?
    – Karl
    Commented Feb 15 at 20:34
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    Many in the social sciences just wait for the issue to come out without prior online access. It is probably both domain and journal specific. Commented Feb 16 at 2:40
  • Both will definitely, %100 will go online first.
    – rhyso
    Commented Feb 16 at 9:51
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    @Karl - one journal I regularly check no longer has page numbers, just a number for the overall article.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Feb 16 at 15:24

I agree with @crimsondark. Just because both are in the proofs stage does not mean that they will both come out at the same time. If they come out simultaneously, it's not like everyone reads every single article in every publication the month it comes out. You'll just have double the work by announcing both to your colleagues, friends, and networks.


In a comment below their post, the OP wrote

My main worry was that both have very similar theoretical and methodological approaches; it seemed a little silly that both came out simultaneously.

No, it is not silly, it is possible self-plagiarism. If what differentiates the papers is their empirical application, then it matters greatly whether

  • a) the theoretical approach (presuming it is novel) is presented as something new in both papers while the one "ignores" the presence of the other (that would create a possible case for self-plagiarism and/or questionable conduct towards the two journals since it is very close to concurrent submission of the same content), or

  • b) one paper is the "originating" paper where the novel theory is introduced and detailed together with an application, while the other paper "reminds us" of the theory by summary presentation and referencing the previous paper, and presents a second empirical application.

  • This is very fair - thanks! So, I present a theory in the 1st paper. In the 2nd, I present it as one of the factors (among others). However, I pulled all the original sources and explained them briefly. Also, 1st is about why x happened in politics, while 2nd is why x didn't happen. But the 2nd does not "claim", 'Oh, look at this new theory I have developed here', while the first one does. 2nd one just traces the original sources, but there are other factors at play. I hope I was able to explain it, but I would love to hear more if you think this sounds problematic.
    – rhyso
    Commented Feb 17 at 9:53
  • 1st paper was sent in July, 2nd in November by the way.
    – rhyso
    Commented Feb 17 at 9:53
  • @rhyso I would suggest that you find a way to reference the first paper in the second paper, and in the references list of the second paper characterize the 1st paper as [journal name]-[accepted for publication]. Commented Feb 17 at 16:02
  • Thanks! I sent the first paper after its proofs; the second one is still with me. I'm considering contacting the journal editor and possibly informing them about self-citation in this publication stage; I've asked around, and some said no one cares about adding a clearly sensible citation, but why not? Maybe he'll have a different suggestion. Thanks a lot, though - I am sure it's a bit of a non-issue, actually, because it's not literally the same paper with different cases, but better safe than sorry, I guess.
    – rhyso
    Commented Feb 17 at 16:10

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