There are some mathematicians who are active online and who blog about their work at various stages, including when they upload a paper to the arXiv. I like this aspect as it gives a chance for the author to give a more informal explanation as to how the results were arrived at or how to interpret them. However, I've seen a few times they they say, on their blog or in the arXiv comments, that the paper is submitted for publication (which is perfectly fine), but additionally specify exactly which journal it has gone to.

As these mathematicians are in fact well-respected and solid in their career I do not wish to impugn their decision, but it smacks of me of being rather confident that the journal will accept the paper, after some small revisions. Since the refereeing process in mathematics takes months, at a minimum, and up to a couple of years in more involved cases, the statement that the submission is to a particular journal will stand for a long time before we know either way as to the result.

As a early career researcher I wouldn't presume to proclaim the journal I think my work should be published in. But am I selling myself short? Let us say I am reasonably confident the paper I am submitting is a good fit for the chosen journal, should I also stake my claim during the preprint phase, to signal at least how "good" I think my paper is? (which judgement people can then assess based on their own experience)

Edit: I see the answers at the previous similar question, while acknowledging the practice to be field-dependent generally warn against this behaviour. However I am observing a career-stage-dependent behaviour in my field contrary to those good suggestions, weighted towards those who already have some advantage (to borrow from Dan Romik's example, imagine Bob could always carry through on his promise, never overstepping the bound on what had actually been done).

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    Or in other words, what is the etiquette around this practice? It may be peculiar to mathematics, given our publication practices, so if your field doesn't do this at all despite having a preprint culture, then maybe just a comment will be sufficient. Aug 14, 2017 at 8:47
  • As a data point to prove this really happens, see arxiv.org:443/find/grp_math/1/co:+AND+submitted+to/0/1/0/past/0/… (which is just a search in the math section of the arXiv for the past year). Note that it gives a few false positives, but not a great proportion. Aug 14, 2017 at 9:40
  • What I find most disturbing is the fact that the whole blind peer-review process seems to lose its meaning a bit. Not that the situation will change the merits of the paper, but there is not the blind part of the process anymore.
    – Kasper L
    Aug 14, 2017 at 10:37
  • @mathlanguagetruth how exactly do you mean "blind peer-review"? Many papers in mathematics are available on the arXiv with their authors' names attached. This happens without the author specifying which journal is considering it for publication. Aug 14, 2017 at 11:31
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    @mathlanguagetruth In most (and I'm massively hedging my bets here) math journals -- pure or applied -- the review is blind (as in, authors don't know the identity of the referees) but not double blind (as in, referees don't know the identity of the authors, either). Of course, the journal always knows the identity of both parties, otherwise they couldn't do their work... Aug 14, 2017 at 14:41

3 Answers 3


No, do not specify the journal that you have submitted to.

  • Anyone can submit a bad paper to a prestigious journal. The sole fact of submitting your paper to journal XY can not be used to signal or suggest a certain quality of the paper or the author.

  • If your paper is rejected by journal XY you are forced to update your publication list and are in fact publicly admitting and documenting that your paper has been rejected by journal XY.


In mathematics, the most usual convention seems not to specify which journal the preprint has been submitted to.

It is not necessarily over confident to state this precision, as claiming a paper is submitted is not stating it will be accepted, but it is difficult to know how it would be interpreted by others. If you have few papers, it is unlikely that stating you submitted to a top journal would carry any weigth in assessing the paper. I would thus advise an early-career researcher to follow the usual convention to stay silent on the matter, as departing from it can raise some eyebrows. Do not hesitate though to explain in a blog post why your papers are interesting, without overselling or bragging.

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    But how to view people who consistently make such announcements? I feel it is bad form. Aug 14, 2017 at 9:43
  • @David Roberts: I can't speak for them, and it seems in other fields it is made casualy without much harm. I don't quite see the point of it either. Aug 14, 2017 at 16:20

There is no consensus on this. I, for one, do not add the journal to which I submitted, but others do, and I am not sure if your observation, that more senior people do add this more often, is correct (I can't judge this from the arxiv-link you gave in the comment).

Here are the factor that you should take into account:

  • If you add the information to which journal you submitted the paper, then you add information that other may find helpful in the future such as: It gives a hint on turnorver times for this journal. If the paper is finally rejected, it may help to judge how high the bar is for this journal.

  • Adding this information is in the spirit of "open submission" with "open reviews".

  • If you are indeed a bigshot, adding the information may put a slight pressure of the journal to accept the submission - of course, it shouldn't, but it might.

To the question if this is bad form: Not in my eyes. For me it's perfectly fine with or without the information…

  • My worry is the third dotpoint you mention, and I've only noticed it particularly among a small number "bigshots", though the link I provide gives ample examples of all sorts of people I can't guess the status of. Aug 14, 2017 at 10:41
  • As far as "open science" goes, I am all for having a track record of where a paper was submitted and was rejected if the record is seen in the spirit of openness, and not of bragging/coercion. This would be a good piece of data in showing that fancy journals can reject papers that turn out to be very valuable. Aug 14, 2017 at 10:43
  • @DavidRoberts - the problem is that you can't tell whether it is bragging or openness. Your question seems to indicate you lean more toward bragging. Presume openness. Further, the more experienced the researcher the better to judge if the paper is likely to pass muster at a given journal.
    – Jon Custer
    Aug 14, 2017 at 12:41

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