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I'd like to explain the following:

(1) Only one simulation can be published at the same time.

emphasizing the continuous aspect of publishing, like::

(2) Only one simulation can be being published at the same time.

so it won't sound like we can have only one simulation published, while we can have multiple ones, but only one can be in a process of publishing.

Since the (2) doesn't sound right, I wonder whether it's correct? And how to explain it properly, if it isn't?

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It would be idiomatic to use get or getting instead of being if you wanted to make really clear that the past participle is to be understood as a process that is underway:

Only one simulation can be published at the same time.

Only one simulation can be getting published at the same time. clearest

Only one simulation can get published at the same time.

In this double-length bay, two cars can be getting their oil changed simultaneously. clearest

In this double-length bay, two cars can get their oil changed simultaneously.

The oil can be getting changed on two cars simultaneously in this double-length bay. clearest

The oil can get changed on two cars simultaneously in this double-length bay.

The oil can be changed on two cars in this double-length bay.

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(2) is entirely ungrammatical and should never be used in any circumstances.

There are a few ways to correct the sentence:

There are multiple simulations, but only one can be in the process of being published.

This isn't as short as the original sentence, but it's succinct and explicit enough to ensure no readers are left confused.

Another would be:

Out of multiple different simulations, only one can be in the process of being published.

A viable choice that's a bit less clunky than my previous example, while still retaining its clear meaning.

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    In the process of publishing is not quite idiomatic. in the process of being published would be better. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 9 '18 at 12:29
  • Point taken. Will be edited in a jiffy. Thanks @Tᴚoɯɐuo – VTH Aug 9 '18 at 14:17

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