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Let me explain my case first. I submitted an article to a Computer Science Conference, and it got one rejection, and two qualifications as a borderline paper. The reviewer that rejected the paper only said that it was not in the scope of the conference and nothing more. The other two reviewers made thoughtful comments and the final verdict was that I should submit it for a workshop on that conference.

I made the necessary changes, submitted to the workshop and it got accepted. Here it was one accept, one borderline and one reject. So I changed some parts that the reviewers suggested and submit it for the final printing.

The thing is that there will be an special edition of a journal that is planning to consider the papers submitted to this conference. So the authors should re-submit their papers for a new review and they state that the papers should present at least 30% of new material.

Here is the point, the deadline is approaching fast and I am making the add-ons based on what the reviewers point me before (when I first submit it for the conference and then what was the suggestions for the workshop), but I am running out of ideas; by the way, I am the sole author of this paper. What should I do in this case? Should I just submit it with the changes? I just don't know if that would be enough. Or am I just wasting my time and should I left it because it has already been published in the workshop?

  • .."The thing is that there will be an special edition of a journal that is planning to consider the papers submitted to this conference" This is usually for the accepted papers on the conference and not the rejected ones, like yours. – Alexandros Dec 14 '14 at 17:33
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    ...also 30% of new material rule always refers to new experiments, test cases, applications and so-on. It is impossible to add 30% more content more just by addressing reviewer comments. – Alexandros Dec 14 '14 at 18:08
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    What should I do in this case? — You should talk to your advisor. – JeffE Dec 14 '14 at 18:48
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    @Alexandros Difficult, perhaps, but definitely not impossible. (And his paper was accepted to the workshop.) – JeffE Dec 14 '14 at 18:49
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From an ethical point of view, submitting your paper is perfectly fine if you make clear what the changes to the workshop version are that make the paper contain something new.

As far as the question whether you should do it is concerned: If you cannot even convince yourself that you have enough new stuff in the paper to justify (another) journal publication, then it will be insanely hard for you to convince the reviewers that there is enough new stuff. So the submission is likely to waste your time (and possible the reviewer's time -- if the paper gets past the editor) as it is too likely to be rejected. If you are very lucky, some reviewer will suggest a possible point of extension that will make the paper strong enough for another submission.

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My short answer would be, do what you think should be done and submit it. How anyone can put a fixed, in this case, 30% new material requirement on something appears ridiculous. To imagine a good paper would be rejected because it is not 30% new creates a sense of amusement in me. Either the manuscript is publishable or it is not. It can of course be deemed not appropriate for the issue but that is a different problem.

Apart from the idiosyncrasies of your system you need to assess the value of your manuscript. Is the work publishable or not. Will the thematic issue be the only way forward for this manuscript or will it be publishable elsewhere? Actually regardless of the answer to the latter question, sending it to the thematic issue would not hurt. You could get it published there which probably would attract attention to it since it is published along with other papers with similar focus. If it is rejected you will likely have additional feedback that would help when publishing elsewhere. I will point out to anyone thinking otherwise that I am not suggesting sending in something subpar just to get reviewers to help here!

In the end you need to see what you think can and should be done with your manuscript and make sure you do it. You cannot do much more, if you fall short of 30%.

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    The "30% new material" requirement is common and sometimes quite strict in my field (computer science/electrical engineering), where conference and workshop papers are considered "real" publications. Can you clarify whether your experience is in a field that has a similar publication culture? – ff524 Dec 15 '14 at 13:22
  • @ff524: I believe you. It seems to me only sensible to hold that papers must have a certain threshold of new material in order to be published. So at first I thought I disagreed with this answer. On reflection, I think Peter is saying "What's up with the 30% figure? Is there some method for precisely evaluating the percentage novelty that some people know and that 28% new material would not be sufficient but 32% would?" If so, I agree: papers should be published if they are sufficiently new in a holistic sense, not as measured (how??) by a percentage. – Pete L. Clark Jan 14 '15 at 14:25
  • @Pete Here is some relevant background on the 30% rule. – ff524 Jan 14 '15 at 17:28
  • @ff524: Thanks. Though (unsurprisingly) your link did not explain how to compute the numerical percentage of new material, it made interesting reading. My eyes popped out when I read: "The new material should be content material, not just the addition of proofs or a few more performance figures." Thankfully, the bizarreness of this assertion was addressed explicitly and at length later on. – Pete L. Clark Jan 14 '15 at 20:27
  • Internet archive version of the page mentioned in @ff524's comment (now a 404 error): web.archive.org/web/20150117072755/http://tods.acm.org/… – Federico Poloni May 23 '16 at 19:29

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