I am preparing my CV to apply for academic position.

I currently have several papers that are able to submit to journals. I wonder if I put these papers on my CV, how should I label them? Should I call them "prepare to submit" or "in preparation for submission" or "working paper"? Specifically, what is the difference between a "working paper" and the paper that is ready to submit?

I have another paper, that requires language checking and proofread before submission, should I call this paper "working paper"?

Thanks for any suggestions

  • 4
    If your papers are so finished that they don’t even require proofreading anymore, why don’t you just submit them and call them accordingly?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:07
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Is there a difference between "forthcoming" and "in press"? Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:16
  • Be aware that typically, anything that isn't published isn't given a lot of weight so the primary reason to list things in progress would be to help describe the types of things that you are currently working on.
    – Carol
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 22:29

1 Answer 1


A "working paper" does not mean "a manuscript I've been working on". It refers to a paper that has been published in venues designated for disseminating preliminary research reports. These venues are often (but not always) internal to a department, and they are rarely peer-reviewed (usually they are reviewed only by the editors). See the Wikipedia entry on Working paper. In conclusion, you cannot call your manuscripts "working papers" if they haven't been published in such venues.

The best you can do is to call them "manuscripts", because that's all they are. They're not submitted, under review, under revision, or anything like that. I personally wouldn't pay any attention to entries on a CV that say "manuscript", as there is no way for anyone to know if these manuscripts even exist. What's worse, it looks like CV padding.

I also don't care much for CV entries that say "submitted" or "under review". Anyone can submit anything and have it reviewed, so it says nothing about its quality. I wouldn't list any paper on a CV that either (1) hasn't been published, or (2) hasn't been accepted for publication.

  • I somehow disagree with "Anyone can submit anything" because it is not the way that goes. However I would not list manuscripts in preparation. Still, I would surely find the place to mention them in a CV, especially if extended and if the document is for internal perusal and won't go out in the wild. As an example "the collaboration with the x group lead to y.......... This result are described in a manuscript in preparation. A similar case is as when my activity was annually checked by a committee. In case of not published (yet) results, I prepared a confidential extract of the manuscript.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 14:14

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