Duplicate publication and now fraud?
Case text (Anonymised)
Two articles were published in two different journals. The articles had been submitted within days of each other, and were subsequently peer reviewed, revised, and published within a month of each other. The authors failed to reference the closely related article as submitted or in press, and the editors of the two journals were unaware of the other article.
After publication the editors viewed this as duplicate publication because of the considerable overlap of material and failure of the authors to disclose the existence of the other paper. Both editors issued a notice in their journals of duplicate publication. It was also noticed that two of the authors were only mentioned on one paper and another author indicated that he had been unaware of the submission of the article at all.
The editors have been asked by a third party to formally withdraw both articles on the grounds of fraudulent behaviour by the authors.
The editors should write to the third party who has made the allegations of fraud and ask for the evidence.
If this is forthcoming,the editors should write to the head of the institution involved.
If a subsequent investigation proves the fraud,then the editors should take appropriate action.
The editors of the two journals felt very strongly that they should not be involved in investigating allegations of fraud, and that this should be the responsibility of the institutions involved, with the third party actioning this. They therefore decided to take no further action.