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I am about to submit a 3.000 words article. It needs to be submitted soon, and I will have to submit it, but I know that I could flesh this out much more, and arrive at something with around 7.000-10.000 words, if I had more time. However, the basic idea would remain the same. It would be much more detailed, but I would not be making a completely different point.

Could I publish the 3.000 words article in journal A (if accepted), and then later this year publish the 8.000 words version in journal B?

  • How would you plan to justify the longer publication if both the ideas and works are same? – Coder Jun 27 '17 at 14:09
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    I will have to submit it — [citation needed] Why can't you wait to publish the paper until it's actually finished? – JeffE Jun 27 '17 at 16:19
  • I need the publication for an application, and this is basically my best and only shot, and the word limit is at 3.000. I also started this project specifically for this, I was not so familiar with the topic before, but only now am I discovering that I feel I could make it a much longer & better paper. – George Welder Jun 27 '17 at 17:15
  • When you publish the first one, include a statement that you intend to publish a longer version later. – GEdgar Jun 27 '17 at 18:48
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    Honestly, at least in my field, 10000 words sounds like an awfully long paper (12-13 double column pages). I have published papers this long but I sort of regret not working harder to make them shorter. You have to thinnk in terms of readability. If 3000 words are sufficient to state your thesis clearly, why would you want to make it any longer? You could still publish a paper extending your work later (adding significant novel data to either interpret, confirm or build upon your previous work). 3000 words is a letter-sized paper. Many Nobel prizes were given to 3000-word breakthroughs. – user63725 Jun 28 '17 at 11:37
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I think that you can answer this question yourself if you can answer the following question.

If you would find that a 3,000 word piece had been published before on this topic, then would you be able to publish a longer 8,000 word piece given that you have to cite the other piece?

If the answer to this question is no, then you can't. If it is yes, then you can. You don't get any special treatment for being the author of the original piece.

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It depends on what you mean by "flesh out". If you mean "waffle a bit more, add some detail to the introduction and discussion" then the answer is an emphatic NO. If you mean "add some further analysis that uses the original manuscript as a starting point and explores a different, previously undiscussed angle", then the answer is a hesitant yes, but it begs the question of whether it would be more effectively presented as a single, comprehensive paper.

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I agree with the comments posted to date that it depends in part on whether the new article would stand on its own. In addition, you would need to check whether the intended venue has particular guidelines about originality. I suspect this is a domain-specific question. In Computer Science, my experience is that there is a hierarchy: workshop papers (~5 pages) can be extended in conference papers (~10-12 pages), which can be extended into journal articles. Usually there is a requirement of ~30% new material but I'm sure the threshold varies by publisher. I think (but without certainty) that IEEE, for instance, would not accept one journal article extending another journal article.

If you know the venue, perhaps you can ask them the hypothetical.

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In this case, the first short one published might be treated as an abstract with a length longer than usually expected, and the later long one the real article. They can be treated as one whole, or individually, because they serve their purpose respectively.

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    I'm afraid that just isn't how journal publications work, at least in any field that I've come across. – user2390246 Jun 28 '17 at 8:40
  • Before a better and more workable plan is provided, this could be the best he could do because he loves both versions of the article. – NanningYouth Jun 29 '17 at 14:32

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