The editor of Journal A drew the attention of the editor of Journal B to two articles published in their journals which were remarkably similar. The editor of Journal A believed that certain passages of text suggested duplicate publication of results. The dates of publication indicated that these data were accepted first by Journal A. Should it turn out to be duplicate publication, the authors would have violated the requirements of every scientific journal for the submitted data to be original. Both editors are aware that it’s possible to unwittingly accept non-original, previously published data. But what can be done when that happens?
_ Both journals should publish a notice of duplication. _ Only the paper with the later acceptance date should be retracted.
A notice of duplicate publication and withdrawal of the paper was published in Journal B. This was delayed while the university sought legal advice as to whether that intention might be considered defamatory. But the dean eventually phoned to say he approved of the proposed action. The one author who was a qualified doctor, apologised, stating that as the two papers were aimed at different audiences, he thought publication would not be duplicated. He knows better now.