I have done some discoveries concerning signal processing from about 6 years which I think are quiet important advances but I never have time to finish the works. As example I know that the main application are new on my field but I am not sure the theory does not exists on other fields. The links with other theories are not fully established yet, so I do not know exactly what is new and what is not. I do not want for now to be judged by peer reviewers which risk to only examine what is bad on the paper but I found it a pitty to not share those discoveries so I am thinking by submitting as preprint, and after some years and maybe some advices/correction from some readers, submitting it on a peer reviewed journal.

If I do that, and someone publish the same ideas after (particularly if they do not cite me, because they do imagine those ideas come from them or are obvious), will I still be able to publish it since reviewers can oppose me that those ideas are not new anymore ? Journals could not see the interrest of publishing works which are already known by the community on the only aim to help me to claim my anteriority.

So to sum up, if a reviewer reject a paper because the ideas already exist from other works but those works are posterior to the preprint, can I ask to editor to not take this opposition into account?

Is there examples of important papers published years after their preprints? In that case should it be adapted to explain what others have done of your works ?

  • You must choose (a) Submit preprint and concurrently submit to journal or (b) Submit preprint only. (a) requires more work and might lead to rejection. (b) has the problem that someone else extends your preprint and gets a publication and you can no longer submit to journal without citing them or without extending your preprint. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.
    – Alexandros
    Sep 2, 2016 at 14:38
  • I guess you right but if I choose (a) and get continuously rejected it might become equivalent to (b). Thus unfortunately, the system incite me to still wait several years until I manage to make it in good shape and having enough hope to be accepted. However to be sure we will understand each other, I must add that I have no problem about citing other works coming after (on contrary it is even a kind of proof of interrest). I just do not want that those papers prevent me from publishing already published ideas and claiming my anteriority.
    – Hentold
    Sep 2, 2016 at 15:01
  • 1
    If some paper A publishes a very similar idea (a) without citing your preprint or (b) extends your preprint to novel directions, it would be hard to publish your preprint to a journal if the reviewers are aware of paper A, because (a) either the idea is already in A (& publishing a similar paper offers no benefits) or (b) paper A has a better contribution and your paper now seems like a step back. Also, if your preprint is in not "in a good shape" to be published, then nobody will cite it and with good reason. Presentation of a "discovery" is as important as the discovery itself.
    – Alexandros
    Sep 2, 2016 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


You speak of ideas, yet ideas are worth close to nothing without results, at least in the academic understanding. Sure, they are the beginning, but are not intellectually protected by themselves. Anyone can have an idea, but it takes work to develop that idea into a solid contribution to science.

So, if you have real "discoveries" and "important advances", you shouldn't be afraid to submit them for peer-review, as that is the only way to scientifically validate your work. Otherwise, it doesn't matter if someone develops on your idea and doesn't cite you. Similarly, it doesn't matter where you put those ideas, it could be arxiv, your personal website, facebook, etc.

As stated in the comments, you can submit a preprint and also submit to a journal, the preprint puts a timestamp onto your work so you have time to publish it (even if it gets rejected and you retry). However, this holds only for work that has the chance to get accepted for publication, i.e. has some real contribution.

  • Thank you for you answer.To give more details, I do have clearly results on a specific field. they exceed by far those from any other methods even if this is a small application on the very wide range. I am pretty sure for now it will be rejected because links with other theories are not done, and I do not know exactly what is new and what is not inside. It is not so complicatied so it make it easy for someone to reuse the idea without citing it by considering this was obvious even in good faith. I do not care they do, I would just want that they do not prevent me from publishing and claiming.
    – Hentold
    Sep 2, 2016 at 16:52
  • Unfortunately, it seems trying to publish either on preprint or on peer-reviews is too risky for now and I guess I have to keep it secret until I finish it to have a good chance to be accepted.
    – Hentold
    Sep 2, 2016 at 16:52

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