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My first year undergraduate teammate has submitted our project work to multiple conferences. I want him to pull back the submission before reviewers take action against us. But he wants proof that conferences actually care about it and can detect self plagiarism and double submission.

This is in electronics, where conference proceedings count as publications.

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    Note that you don't need to convince your teammate. In fact, it was not OK of him to submit the paper without your approval: all authors need to agree to the submission of a paper. For this reason alone, you could contact the chairs of both conferences to ask for the withdrawal. – lighthouse keeper Nov 4 '17 at 13:14
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    What field is this? In particular, is it a field where conferences are a form of publication (such as computer science) or one where conferences are a big meeting to share ideas (such as pretty much everything else)? More specifically, do the conferences in question have a policy against multiple submission? – David Richerby Nov 4 '17 at 13:35
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    I think if your teammate cannot distinguish morality from practical aspects of cheating, you may want to be careful with him. Will he cheat on you, too, when you have no proper procedure implemented to double check everything he tells you? – Greg Nov 4 '17 at 18:09
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Conferences usually* don't actively seek to detect duplicate submissions. However, there are multiple ways how the duplicate submission would eventually be discovered. Let's say the paper has been submitted in parallel at two conferences called A and B.

  1. There could be a shared reviewer for conferences A and B who notices the duplicate submission. In this case, the reviewer would probably contact the chairs of both conferences, leading to an immediate disqualification of the paper. Note that such a reviewer would not have to be a program committee member at both conferences: program committee members often delegate their workload to colleagues in order to reduce their workload.

  2. If the paper is accepted at conference A, the paper is eventually published in A's proceedings. In this case, the reviewers from conference B might become aware of the submission of the paper to A. Consequently, they could contact the chairs of conference A to enforce its retraction.

Update (*): For an exception, see the following excerpt from the call for papers of ESEC/FSE 2019.

To prevent double submissions, the chairs will compare the submissions with the conferences that have overlapping review period, including ISSTA, ASE and OOPSLA.

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    How certain are you that "don't actively seek" is universally true? +1 if you clarify that. – einpoklum Nov 4 '17 at 21:41
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    @einpoklum Not certain at all that it's universally true (without exceptions). But relatively certain that it's true in the vast majority of cases, given the typical priorities of conference organizers and the practical difficulty for implementing a duplicate-submission detection (including confidentiality issues). – lighthouse keeper Nov 5 '17 at 9:11
  • What I'm asking is, how are you relatively certain? Do you know many career academics in multiple unrelated fields? Have you read studies on this? – einpoklum Nov 5 '17 at 10:45
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    No studies and only one field, however, the practical considerations are not specific to that field. Submissions need to be handled with confidentiality. – lighthouse keeper Nov 5 '17 at 11:36
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"Actually care about it": Read the conference's rules.

"Can detect": Irrelevant. Like many things in academic research, this is primarily honor system. If your teammate thinks that whether something is acceptable is determined by whether you can get away with it, they need a serious attitude adjustment.

By the way: do you have a faculty advisor on this project? They need to know about this. They would also be the best one to give you advice on the specific norms of conferences and publishing in your fields.

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As a reviewer I routinely search for the paper title, basic paper keywords, and/or the particular combination of authors' names in an academic search engine. This typically shows the close environment of peers, a sub-sub-area, so to say.

But not once or twice this has resulted in rather unexpected results, such as a very similar titled paper with paragraph-wise text overlap and an author subset/superset.

This greatly saves my work time, because in the above case I can immediately flag it as plagiarism, send my review with snarky remarks to the editor, and go back to whatever I did before reviewing. I have yet to encounter a true double submission, but my actions would bear a strong degree of similarity.

(You notice by now some degree of irony here, but I really have seen such plagiarism cases as a reviewer.)

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Submitting without the approval of all authors is obviously wrong.

Putting that aside, what’s the problem with submitting to multiple conferences? Its not the same a dual publication of journal articles - a permanent citeable record.

I routinely submit work to two conferences - it’s in the remit of both, but there is virtually no overlap in attendance. Presenting work at multiple conferences improves visibility and networking.

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    This depends very much on what field you're in. In computer science, the conference proceedings is a permanent citeable record and simultaneous submission is forbidden. In such a field, simultaneous conference submission is exactly the same problem as simultaneous journal submission. – David Richerby Nov 4 '17 at 13:34
  • @DavidRicherby ok. Then maybe the OP could make it clear if he’s in one of those disciplines. – rhialto Nov 4 '17 at 13:45
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    Yes my field of work is Electronics and computer sciences. And proceedings of the conferences whereto, the paper submission is done, are permanent citeable records. – shaurya sisodia Nov 4 '17 at 15:20

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