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I know there have been numerous questions on this site discussing the submission of papers to a conference and a journal (simultaneously and subsequently), but I'm curious about a slightly different scenario. Perhaps this is a duplicate but I couldn't find any answers already posted.

If I'm working in a field where there is cross-disciplinary work, is it okay to submit a paper to a journal or conference in each field? For example, a submitting to a medical journal for a novel medical application and a computer science conference for a novel algorithm? Obviously in one the focus would be more on the application of the approach while the other would focus on the "how", but the basic experiment/research and probably most of the content would be the same for both.

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    this is not uncommon at all, especially if the two communities are normally quite distinct. – Suresh Jul 14 '15 at 21:20
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    I guess you'd want to be careful that each paper acknowledge the other's existence, so no one would get the impression that you're trying to double-dip... – paul garrett Jul 14 '15 at 21:35
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While I agree with Brian Borchers' answer that you cannot submit the same material to two different places, the example that you give in your question (e.g., the medical application vs. the algorithm) is a good examples of where "the same work" may create entirely distinct papers for the different communities.

In my experience with cross-disciplinary publication, it is typical for one of the papers to come first, and then the other to come later and cite the first. This can easily go in either direction across the two fields. To, illustrate, considering your example:

  • You might publish the medical application paper first, based on the main experimental results, and in this paper it would be inappropriate to go into a detailed exploration of the properties of the algorithm: validation of data resulting from its application is where that community's interest stops. Then you might later publish a paper for computer scientists that "zooms in" on the algorithm and explores it in detail.

  • Alternately, you might start by publishing the algorithm paper, laying out all of the theoretical foundations in detail (which will likely fill a conference paper quite tightly), but stopping before the experimental data, which the computer scientists are not in a position to peer-review in any case. Then the medical application paper can come afterward, citing the algorithm paper as an established fact in its methods.

The important things to make such cross-disciplinary publication clean and ethical are:

  1. Always explicitly cite and declare relationships between your work.
  2. Never try to squeeze "extra" publications out this way: your cross-disciplinary publication choices should instead be based on routing in-depth discussion of particular aspects of the work to the communities that can best review and appreciate it.
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    Yes. One shouldn't confuse scientific/scholarly progress with status-points-scoring rules, etc. Cf. my comment @BrianBorcher's probably-realistic answer... – paul garrett Jul 14 '15 at 22:30
  • @BrianBorcher has a good answer as well but there can only be one – marcman Jul 15 '15 at 12:35
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Two important things that you need to consider:

  1. If the papers share any substantial amount of text, then you would be guilty of self plagiarism. If this is discovered then its likely that one or the other or both papers will be rejected before publication or retracted after publication.

  2. In submitting to most conferences and journals a condition of publication is that your article is an original contribution. If reviewers become aware of a duplicate publication of essentially the same research (even if the text is distinct) then they can and should reject the paper as not being an original contribution. Some editors might retract a paper after publication if they discovered that you'd published essentially the same research elsewhere.

It might be reasonable to submit two different papers to journals or conferences in different disciplines as long as the papers really do contain different material. However, it's utterly inappropriate to reuse text or even to submit two papers that report essentially the same results.

Statements by various publishers about duplicate submission/publication don't include any exception for publication in journals from different disciplines. In short, the answer to your question is "no."

Some statements on publication ethics that discuss duplicate submission and duplicate publication:

http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/publishing-and-editorial-issues/overlapping-publications.html http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/jpepsy/for_authors/multiple_publications.html

http://www.biomedcentral.com/about/duplicatepublication

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    While this may be an accurate report of (contingent) facts, those facts would/do create a situation in which a population of scholars/researchers will not hear of something potentially of value to them because it had already been "status-published" in a different milieu. My opinion is that that's crazy. What we need (in my opinion) is a useful and functional distinction between "status-publishing" and "making-public-publishing". Could have some tags at the top so status-publishing-search engines don't get confused, heaven forbid. :) – paul garrett Jul 14 '15 at 22:29

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