I am seeking advice on how to handle submitting a new article that builds upon and extends a study that is currently under review at a conference on Human-Computer Interaction. I will be somehow specific so that some of you will better understand how my two articles differ.


  • I conducted an initial study using virtual reality (VR) to investigate a specific effect. This study is currently under review for a conference.
  • I have since conducted a follow-up study replicating the experiment in a desktop setting (without VR). The goal was to examine whether the effect observed in the VR study persists in a non-immersive environment.
  • The desktop study used the same methods as the VR study, with the main difference being that it used a desktop setup instead of VR.
  • I currently have two datasets, and I am considering whether my second article should present the two experiments separately and then a joint analysis comparing their results. In any case, I would need to use the data from both studies, which would make it difficult to self-cite in the third person without indicating that I am that author.

My question:

  • I would like to submit the desktop study as a new article, as it extends the findings of the initial VR study. However, I am unsure if I need to refer to the initial VR study, which is currently under review and has not yet been published.
  • Would it be acceptable to submit the desktop study without mentioning the article on the initial VR study? The VR study may not yet be accepted when the new article is reviewed.
  • If I need to refer to the VR study, how should I handle it, given that it has not yet been published? I want to avoid reviewers needing to read both articles to judge the new submission.

I would appreciate any guidance from those with experience navigating similar situations.

  • 1
    Do preprints exist in your field and does the conference you submitted to allow submitted work to be available as a preprint?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Apr 29 at 18:06
  • @BryanKrause Thanks for the suggestion - I'll inquire about it. Would I be able to cite it as a preprint if that's the case?
    – Lucas R
    Commented May 1 at 13:55
  • 2
    Yes, you can cite the preprint. If the initial study is published before the second one is you can update the citation; if not, that's fine, your preprint can be edited to link to the final publication version when appropriate. Either way, at least reviewers can see the work you're citing for purposes of review of the second paper.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented May 1 at 14:00
  • @BryanKrause thank you!
    – Lucas R
    Commented May 2 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


Math and Computer Science professor here. The situation you describe is very common, because of the fast pace that research moves and the slow pace of publishing. I myself have had this situation numerous times.

Computer scientists often communicate via preprint. The preprint server arXiv has a whole section for research on human-computer interaction. The general idea is to upload the first paper to arXiv (this can be done when it's ready to submit, or while it's under review) and then have the second paper cite the first paper according to arXiv identifier. Here's a recent example of mine that shows how I cite arXiv preprints.

If the second paper builds on the first paper heavily, then a good referee on the second paper might want to read the first paper, to be sure there are no issues that percolate into the second paper. Having it on arXiv gives them that option.

The only downside is if you submit to a double-blind journal. I've done that five times or so. In such cases, you can either cite the preliminary version without giving away that you're the author ("we build on White's methodology in [7]"), or you can say in the body of the paper that this work builds on previous work of the author, and can include a blinded version of the first paper (which is currently under review elsewhere) in case the referee wants to see it. Like "this research builds on the author's earlier work 'VR stuff is awesome', which found that ..." I did that once, and by the time the second paper was accepted, the first had also been accepted and I was able to update the bibliography to cite it.

Lastly, consider whether readers of the first paper would also be interested to know that there is a follow-up. If so, when you get the first paper back from the referees, you can update it to include a citation to the second. The referees of the first paper should not object, because the first does not rely on the second, but your readers will appreciate the improved picture of the literature.

  • Thank you for your thorough answer! If I may ask another question, I'm concerned that my second article might get accepted and published before my first article, which is under review at the moment. I imagine the first article would be rather unpublishable if the first would expand its findings. Would it be wise to wait for a notification from the first conference? Thank you.
    – Lucas R
    Commented May 4 at 14:54
  • 1
    That's not much of a concern in practice in preprint fields, because editors and referees understand the variability in referee times. It might matter if it was several years later. Since the first article is already under review, submitting the second is no problem. Commented May 4 at 15:44

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