I am in computer science. I am currently working on an applied paper that is based on a certain algorithm, let's call it method A.

Method A has been explained deeply in a my previous paper, that now is under review. So it is in arxiv, anybody can read it, but it has not yet being published on a peer review journal or conference.

I am now going to submit the applied paper to a conference, and I have a doubt: even if the results are interesting, how affected are the chances of being accepted for the applied paper, by the fact hat Method A has not yet been reviewed/published?

  • There is nothing wrong in submitting. If the method A has flaw, conference reviewers would point out. Right?
    – Coder
    Jan 15, 2017 at 14:17
  • 1
    Citing a published preprints is no big problem. It is possible to add "submitted to $journal" in the reference. Jan 28, 2017 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


This should not be a problem. The reviewers of the conference paper should focus on the application you treat, but since the paper is available as a preprint, they could also have a closer look at the method if they want to.


In principle, this should not be a problem - the method is openly available, and the reviewers should be able to make up their mind on it based on public information.

In practice, whenever you submit a paper where a core element is a method in a separate paper, reviewers cannot evaluate in too much depth the prior work it is based on - this would ask them to referee two papers at once! Referees will use rough heuristics to determine how much criticism to apply to that method, and in some cases could decide that it is not worth refereeing your second paper until your first is published. If you have too many negative signs and not enough positive ones, you might have trouble:

Positive signs:

  • algorithm applied in other papers successfully
  • algorithm has rigorous mathematical proof backing it
  • initial paper comes from group with strong reputation
  • initial paper published in well-respected journal/conference
  • algorithm seems "reasonable," i.e. not shockingly more effective than state of the art

Negative signs:

  • paper makes outlandish claims of effectiveness, but hasn't been applied or discussed by any other papers
  • paper has been on arxiv for years, but isn't published yet

Not all of these are good scientific principles! And if your method is interesting, and appears sensible, referees will put more time into understanding it than this rubric indicates. But I think that this predicts how referees can think about this sort of question.

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