I have finished writing one paper, but have not submitted it yet to a journal. I am working on a related but not identical subject, though many of the definitions and theorems are same (but they are true in a very different context compared to the first paper). Now, is it okay to use the same figures that I had used for illustrations in my first paper? What about the theorems and definitions? I feel like changing the theorem statements is not worth spending time on, but is this correct?

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    I recommend to search this website for self plagiarism. There are many questions very close to yours.
    – enthu
    Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 16:03
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    @Arani: There's nothing wrong with citing a paper that hasn't been submitted yet, especially since presumably it will have been submitted by the time you submit this one, at which point you can update the citation.
    – Henry
    Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 16:19
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    @Arani: As unpublished notes, or as a preprint. (I don't know your field, but if it's math---as the mention of theorems suggests it might be---this is quite common, and a quick look around the arXiv will find plenty of articles citing other preprints on the arXiv).
    – Henry
    Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 16:45
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    @Davidmh - Yes that happens in happens in Physics too. Worse still - ''private communication''. But that's very irritating, how can the reader look at the precise text, unless the full text is hosted somewhere?
    – 299792458
    Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


Most journals require that the submitted manuscript has not been submitted total or partially to any other journal. Of course different policies apply to open access journals. If I were you I would check the journal's policy regarding this issue and contact the editors if necessary to get their opinion (probably they will require details on what will be duplicated). To the very least discuss this with your supervisor. You can find yourself in a very unpleasant position if you are not careful (not to mention having your papers rejected), as indicated by @Enthusiastic Student

  • The journal that I am targetting does not require total new content. I have checked.
    – Arani
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 6:16
  • You have to check on both journals. And you have to be careful about self plagiarism. That being said, it is probably enough to use common sense. Imagine you are presenting in one of your manuscript a method, but an application of such method is published before the method (this happened to me). You will have to give a briefing on your method an maybe use some figure to make the point. You may reuse that figure later, assuming you have the copyright. In the case of previous results, if the main goal of both studies is not duplicated it may be again be possible (but check copyright issues).
    – ddiez
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 10:47

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