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William Peden

I agree that Example 2 is more obviously wrong than Example 1.

I think that, in both cases, the right thing to do is to expand the arguments and perhaps introduce some closely related further issues. There is always more to be said. This takes more somewhat more work, but the result will be papers that you are more proud about.

Thi N.

A rule of thumb would be: would you be embarrassed if both were published, an somebody read them side-by-side? Would a reader be interested to read them both? Do they build on each other? Would a reader see the purpose for two different publications?

One way to approach it: would, with a bit of editing, the two papers be happy to be combined into something longer, say as different chapters in a book?

A lot of times, I think people are fine with a case where a philosopher discovers argument A, and discovers that it can be made to do work in responding to 4 different arguments in slightly different literatures. They write 4 papers, each of which reiterates argument A, and then shows how it impacts each different literature. If I were to read these papers side by side, I'd totally understand what was going on, I'd understand that they needed to repeat argument A in order to have stand-alone papers, and I would guess that these were the parts of something on the way to a book project. *Each part as to the larger picture of the impact of argument A*.

It can also make sense to write something for different audiences. (I know several cases where a philosopher has re-written one of their arguments in a less technical form for, say, an interdisiciplinary audience, to appear in an interdisciplinary publication. I have a paper that uses a case study to re-state an argument from a more technical paper, in the form of a case study, in a form that might be teachable to undergraduates. I was explicit about this in a footnote. But also I tried to put in case study details that would expand upon the idea for readers who already had read the tech-y academic version)

Other cases look like a cheap shot at getting a lot of publications, and add no real content but a slightly different frame. Those are gross.


It seems to me that there's a large amount of overlap between the same work of a given author across time. In fact, it seems to me that this is pretty common even amongst "top" journals and "top" scholars. So I have always assumed that what OP is describing is perfectly permissible. Consequently, I have done things like Example 1 and Example 2 before. I am doubtful that it is the best publication strategy. But I (personally) wouldn't see it going against disciplinary norms.

Bill Vanderburgh

Example 2 seems dodgy since the two papers are very similar and perhaps share too much content. But Example 1 seems like what I've seen frequently, at least over a career--different developments of very similar arguments in different contexts. To be safest, I would publish the one on theory A first, and then later submit the broader paper as an elaboration and extension of that first one.

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