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I spend a lot of time peer-reviewing paper submissions to conferences, workshops, and journals in my field. Sometimes I end up getting assigned a paper that I had already rejected from another venue. Usually the authors of the resubmission have at least attempted to address the flaws pointed out in the past reviews. But sometimes the paper is submitted in much the same form. That is, the authors have failed to correct the major errors and gaps identified and agreed upon by the reviewers. They may not even have bothered to fix simple mistakes such as typos (even when the reviewers helpfully itemized these). It seems that these authors have no understanding of or respect for the peer review process. Rather, they are adopting a rapid-fire approach of submitting the same paper to different venues in sequence (or in parallel, for all I know) until they luck out on a suitably unqualified or neglectful reviewing panel that happens to clear it for publication.

What I normally do when I receive such a resubmission is to copy, paste, and resubmit my previous review. After all, if the authors haven't bothered revising their paper, why should I spend any extra time re-evaluating it? But I wonder if that's all I should be doing. Does it make any sense to alert the journal editors/area chairs about these time-wasting shenanigans? Do serial "publication shoppers" ever get blacklisted, or at least a stern talking-to? Or is dealing with the same submissions over and over again just an inevitable and unmitigatable part of the whole peer review process?

  • @user2390246, there may or may not be similarity. When I read the one you pointed to, my reaction was that it was probably illicitly submitted in parallel and one journal took longer to process it.. There certainly wasn't much time between the two. So .. I think it's great to cross-reference, but I hope this won't be closed as an exact duplicate. – Fred Douglis May 9 '17 at 22:37
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I don't know about any sort of formal blacklist, and it would be a bit hard to deal with because someone may be listed as a coauthor but have so little to do with it being resubmitted that they're truly blameless.

I've encountered serial submissions before, including cases where a draft is completely unchanged (with ample time between rejection & resubmission). In some cases these are rejected by the program chair(s) without review and with stern words to the authors similar to what you said: they waste and disrespect the reviewers' efforts.

Bottom line: Consider a preemptive rejection with the program chair(s) rather than simply repeating your review. But if that doesn't pull the paper, I would submit a review saying I have reviewed this before, and the paper is unchanged. Because ignoring past reviews disrespects the efforts of the reviewers, I recommend rejection.

4

Resubmitting a paper without addressing even the most reasonable reviewer comments is rude. In this situation, I think it is entirely appropriate for you to inform the editor about what is going on so that the editor can reject it without wasting any more reviewer time.

Unfortunately, they are likely to keep sending their paper off until someone makes the mistake of accepting it. (I have experienced this.) However, I don't think much can be done about this. Ideally there would be a blacklist of papers (rather than authors) which would ensure that near identical submissions would be flagged as such.

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