The newly appointed editor of Journal A noticed that an article he had just published in his journal bore remarkable similarities to an article published a couple of months earlier in Journal B. When the editors of both journals discussed the matter, they confirmed that they had not been told about the other article. The authors work in a well established academic department. On detailed review, the articles were indeed very similar and came to an identical conclusion. In places, sentences had been rearranged and it was hard to escape the conclusion that this had been done deliberately. The article in Journal A seemed to be reporting the findings in a subset of subjects in the Journal B article. The editors wrote to the authors, who were the same for both articles, bar two additional names on the Journal A article, to ask for an explanation. They drew their attention to the COPE guidelines published in Journal B. The authors replied, explaining that the paper published in Journal A reported preliminary findings whereas that published in Journal B reported the final results based on a larger double data set. They admitted that better communication and reciprocal information between the two corresponding authors would have avoided the problem.
_ The reply was thought to be somewhat convenient. How could all authors have signed the copyright forms without realising that two papers on the same research were due to be published? _ There seems to be some intent to mislead and the second paper would not have been published if the first had been known about. _ A further problem was that if a systematic review was undertaken it would be assumed that two separate groups of patients had been studied. _ Publish a notice of inadvertent duplicate publication in both journals.
A notice of inadvertent publication was simultaneously published in both journals.