I submitted a paper and it is currently under review (submitted on 10th March and conference is on 15th October, I'll be notified on 15th July). However, now, in May, I see a paper has just published dealing with the same problem as mine. They indicate that their solution is better than mine. If my paper is accepted, do I have to withdraw it, as it seems to be out of date?

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    Are you saying the other paper is referencing yours? I otherwise do not understand how they indicate their solution is better? May 14, 2014 at 14:25
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    No, I means we are dealing with the same problem, but their solution is better than mine
    – ChengCheng
    May 14, 2014 at 14:31
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    OK, then withdrawal can be a viable solution, if you are sure your solution or paper does not provide additional information. you should probably contact the conference and ask how they view the problem. It is not unheard of that two papers are published on the same issue when unknowingly developed in parallel. May 14, 2014 at 14:33
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    Was there any preprint of the "best" journal paper you describe available BEFORE submitting your paper? If yes, your paper lacked a proper related work section and thanks to that, it may probably be rejected. If not, there is no way for you to know there was a better solution than the one you propose
    – Alexandros
    May 14, 2014 at 14:35
  • I submitted the paper on 10th March. At that time, I didn't know there was a journal like that way. Now on May, I read paper on IEEE and see the journal.
    – ChengCheng
    May 14, 2014 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


It's a slightly grey area but assuming the journal paper in question was not publicly available before the submission date of your conference, I think you are fully entitled to publish the paper if accepted. It's a parallel result, which means there was (verifiably) no wrong-doing on your part. If accepted, in the "camera-ready" submission, you can add reference to the journal paper with a note that their results were developed in parallel (with mentions of the dates involved in a footnote, for example). You get your publication, the authors of the work get their citation, and the conference themselves know that there was no wrong-doing involved.

So again, you don't have to withdraw, but you can if you want (e.g., if you don't want to be associated with a weaker form of the result, or if you are a really nice person and feel that the slot at the conference might be better used elsewhere).

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    tl;dr: Let the editor decide.
    – JeffE
    May 14, 2014 at 22:20
  • I recommend that you resist any pressure to add a reference to the other work. If it was not available before you submitted, your work is independent but if you reference it people may assume you were influenced, even if you state otherwise. May 16, 2014 at 21:47
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    I disagree with @PhilipGibbs. It would be a disservice to the readers not to inform them of the existence of the other paper. Jun 25, 2014 at 15:14
  • With today's search technology it is very easy to find other related papers. That is no longer the purpose of references. References can be used to to give a summary of similar prior work as an introduction that sets the stage for the new work, but there is no need or obligation to tell the readers about papers that were written at the same time and had no influence. Jun 25, 2014 at 17:14
  • Having ideas in parallel happens often in science. You are a very ethical person, but if you haven't provably seen the other work before (as - this is important - the deadline seems to have been before the publication of the other), you deserve your credit for coming up with this idea. I personally like to reference as completely as possible and so I would agree with the OPs idea of mentioning the parallel development in the final revision. Talking with the editors is also good advice. Dec 19, 2015 at 8:23

If you did not know about the other paper and it was not available at the time you were doing the research for your paper, your paper is considered as an independent research. Moreover, if your approach to the problem is different, it will partially justify the importance of your work.

However, it is important to send an email to the editor and explain the situation to him/her. It may cause the rejection of your paper, but it is your obligation to let the editor and the referee of the paper know about the parallel recent works.

A similar situation has happened for one of my papers recently. After explaining the situation to the editor, he considered the paper to be an original research work.

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