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just me

Like Marcus, I think Damian and others should think carefully before sending the new paper to the same journals the earlier paper was sent. I think this should caution him from sending a paper out too early. One burns through the options quickly. Unless Damian has an outstanding reason to send a paper to one of the same journals (really outstanding), then he should just chalk it up to experience and send to the next tier of journals.


If you resubmit it (I'd also be inclined not to), this might be a good occasion to use the barely-used "cover letter" feature for submissions.

You could use that box to make your case (there's a couple of pages of exposition in common, but x-thousand words are new words which is why it seems like a new MS, and so on) and then you'd definitely be doing this in a way that's transparent.

Gabriel Gottlieb

I'm not sure it is the same paper if, as Damian says, the paper has "a completely different conclusion than the reject version." It seems to me that a lot hangs on how different the conclusion is, how distinct the argument is, and whether the set up is distinct. You may think of it as the same paper, but it's possible that it has evolved into a different paper altogether, just one that repurposes prose from the previous version. However, there are probably other very good journals you might consider that you did not send the previous paper to that would be a good fit.

Chivers Butler

I'm surprised to see so many recommending that you not resubmit. While we can quibble about how to individuate papers, this seems to me a clearly different paper. My only worry would be that an editor wouldn't see it that way at cursory glance.I would do what anon says and write a short cover letter making your case (and making it clear that you're not trying to pull a fast one).


Many (most?) journal submission sites ask you to tick a box indicating whether any version of the paper has been sent to them before. In this case, you'd have to tick that box.

But you could also add an explanation in your cover letter/note to the editor.

Jonathan Ichikawa

I think it's fine. If it's that different, you can perfectly reasonably call it a new paper. There's not a deep fact about whether you've radically revised a paper, including changing the title, the conclusion, and most of the arguments, or whether you've instead given up on your old paper and written a new one that used some of the old parts. If the latter framing is more convenient for you, go with it.

I agree with others above; a cover letter sounds like a good idea, to help explain to editors what's going on, but I don't think this is a big deal at all.

Richard Y Chappell

I agree with Jonathan: a sufficiently radically revised paper can just as well be considered a new paper.


I'm surprised that so many recommend not sending the paper back. When I was in this rat race I would regularly send revised papers to journals that had previously rejected an earlier version. I wouldn't send the paper back immediately but would try other journals first, but after a year or so I would consider sending it back to journals that had rejected previous versions. I just wrote in the comment box that the manuscript was a revised version of a paper the journal considered last year. I never had an editor complain about this. In fact, on more than one occasion my resubmission ended up being accepted.

Also, on a related note I'd say don't give up on a paper just cause it's rejected. Rewriting etc is the right move sometimes and other times the right move is just to send it out again and again. Some of my papers were accepted first time and others took years. Just seemed random to me. If you like your idea don't give up on it cause of some rejections.


Thank you all for the replies!

I have a much better sense of what to do in this situation now. There are still a few top-tier journals that I want to try, where I haven't sent neither the old nor the revised version of the paper. If those reject the paper as well, then my next move will be to try the cover letter approach with some of the journals that rejected the old version.

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