When you submit a paper to JAWRA, we require you to check the box that it is NOT being considered elsewhere. Why?
Besides the ethical problems of a author getting two publication credits for the same work, there are practical reasons. First, we do not want to waste our resources on a paper you may ultimately decide to publish elsewhere. It’s just not fair to our reviewers. Equally important, we need to be sure we have clear copyright permission to publish your paper; involving a second publisher could bring this into question.
Duplicate submissions, whether through intent or carelessness, are a form of author misconduct. When found, they result in serious sanctions, the least of which is summary rejection. If discovered after publication — search engines make this easier than you may think — there could be legal consequences as well, as those copyright forms mean something. Following advice in the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) forum, I believe I have an ethical obligation to advise other editors when I discover an author has submitted duplicates to both our journals.
We do our best to review papers and make publication decisions as quickly as possible. Should we reject your manuscript or return it without review, you are only then more than welcome to submit it to another journal.