A reader contacted the editorial staff of Journal A after noticing that Journal B, which is primarily non-English, had published a paper that was remarkably similar. The editor of journal A contacted the editor of Journal B. Both editors reviewed the two papers and agreed that the paper from Journal B contained methods, results, and conclusions that formed a part of the paper from Journal A.
The authors were contacted by the editor of Journal A and asked for an explanation. They have replied that the two papers were intended for different audiences, and since the paper in Journal A was a more comprehensive study, this did not constitute duplicate publication. The papers were submitted at approximately the same time, and neither paper referenced the other.
The committee felt that the authors’ excuse that the papers were intended for different audiences did not stand up. If the two papers were basically the same, with most of the data in the tables being duplicated (overlapping data) but with an extension of the data in one of the papers, then this was clearly a case of duplicate, or “redundant”, publication. It would have been acceptable for the author to publish both papers, provided permission to do so had been obtained from the editors of both journals, and that the matter was acknowledged in both papers. However, neither paper referenced the other.
Therefore, the committee advised that Journal A should issue a notice of redundant publication. Ideally, the authors should issue the notice, but probably the editor would have to do it. When writing to the authors, the editor does not need to go into great detail, just point out that it has been discovered that this particular study has been published in full or part by another journal, and that consequently a notice of redundant publication will be published in the journal.
This case was resolved by publishing a notice of redundant publication. The author was not willing to write the correction initially, but did approve the final draft that went on to be published.