IEEE New Guidelines

on Multiple Submission And Prior Publication

For many years, IEEE multiple publication policy has established a useful standard for authors and publication volunteers. Authors should only submit original work that has neither appeared elsewhere for publication, nor which was under review for another refereed publication. Multiple publication is considered wasteful of funds and space, does not give members and libraries full value for their subscriptions, and causes citation and indexing confusion. It is to be avoided except under unusual circumstances.

However, until recently, there had been little or no specific guidance on what should be done in the event these standards were not followed. On 18 November 2004, the IEEE Publications Products and Services Board approved new policies and procedures for handling reported cases of authors who have submitted the same manuscript to two or more publications, or who have not properly cited the reuse of their previously published work in newly submitted papers. These new guidelines are part of the recently approved (June 2004) guidelines for handling complaints of plagiarism. Section "8.2 Publication Guidelines" of the PSPB Operations Manual now contains another new sub-section entitled "Guidelines for Adjudicating Prior Publication, Multiple Submission, and Reuse of Previous Publications." The purpose of this new section is to describe the editors’ and Society's prerogative with respect to acceptable reuse of previously published material ; the author's obligations regarding multiple submission, prior publication and reuse of previously published work; and appropriate corrective actions that correspond to the degree or type of misconduct.

The new guidelines recognize that it is common in technical publishing for material to be presented at various stages of its evolution. As one example, this can take the form of publishing early ideas in a workshop, more developed work in a conference, and fully developed contributions as journal or transactions papers. This publication process is an important means of scientific communication. At the same time, however, the IEEE requires that this evolutionary process be fully referenced by the author. Authors who do not properly cite their previous work, or who submit a given manuscript to two or more publications without informing the editor that the paper is concurrently under review by another publication, are subject to corrective actions, such as a reminder that the practice is considered inappropriate scholarly practice, a requirement to submit an apology to the publication editor for possible publication, and/or suspension of publication in the IEEE publication where the offense took place for 1 year or, if appropriate, the next volume of the conference proceedings. It is at the discretion of each IEEE Organizational Unit whether or not to allow multiple submissions. The editor of a publication may choose to re-publish existing material for a variety of reasons, including promoting wider distribution and serving readers by aggregating special material in a single publication. This practice continues to be recognized and accepted by the IEEE.

An updated version of the PSPB Operations Manual is now available at
The new multiple submission guidelines appear in section 8.2 Publication Guidelines.

For more information, contact

Bill Hagen, Manager
IEEE Intellectual Property Rights Office
445 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08855
+1 732-562-3966