I have an idea that I would like to publish. However, the idea is so simple that basically everyone in the field could reproduce the experiment that shows its benefit within a day or so.

What can I do to ensure that my idea is not stolen during the review process by a reviewer, for example?

If the reviewer holds back my paper and publishes it himself somewhere else, is there something I can do to prevent this?

  • 3
    Don't worry so much, work on multiple ideas.
    – Nikey Mike
    Aug 11, 2016 at 16:52
  • Human brain is full ofideas. If one goes like that, something new will come. However, in peer-review process it is somewhat common. In that case, reviewers should follow peer-review ethics. If they are not following, then I would say they are not researchers.
    – Coder
    Aug 11, 2016 at 17:32
  • 6
    Before you worry too much about this, ask yourself why an idea that is so "simple" isn't already published. Two common reasons are (1) everybody already knows it, even if nobody is quite sure who first discovered it, and (2) actually, it's not so good an idea as you think it is, and other people already know why it's no good.
    – alephzero
    Aug 11, 2016 at 18:27
  • @alephzero Or perhaps the idea isn't so simple, after all. It's often hard to judge how simple an idea really is, especially for the person who had that idea. Aug 11, 2016 at 19:09

2 Answers 2


Assuming the journals you publish in allow it, you can submit your work to a preprint archive such as ArXiv.org. You can also put it up on a personal website.

Even if someone tries to scoop you, if you work is ever published, the date it was submitted for review should appear in the final article, giving your work precedence on any other. As for your concerns about reviewers stealing your work, there is not much else you can do besides the above. The peer review system is based on good faith, and hopefully you end up with ethical reviewers.

  • 8
    Editors can also be helpful if something like this happens as they know who the reviewers are.
    – StrongBad
    Aug 11, 2016 at 16:37

First off, I would not worry too much about someone stealing your ideas. A peer reviewed paper has already been seen by you, your advisor, the editor of the journal/conference and at least 1 other reviewer (probably more). If a reviewer was to steal your idea, it would be trivially easy to prove he/she stole it - simply show the email from the thief where he/she reviewed it.

You should keep every submission, review (accepted and rejected), and editor note for papers you write. Most researchers I know already do this (usually via email folders).

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