A paper was submitted to Journal A and concern was raised by a reviewer that a substantial part of the paper had been previously published in two other journals. This point was taken up with the authors, who denied any lack of originality and maintained that their manuscript contained previously unpublished data. They did admit that part of the work had been presented as an invited lecture at an international conference and that three articles had subsequently been published, but had acknowledged this in their original submission letter. They had also included a copy of one of the published articles for information. The authors had also suggested that a member of the editorial board could act as the editor for their paper because he had been present at the conference and was aware of their presentation. On inspection of one of the previously published articles in Journal B, it was found that it had been peer reviewed, and that substantial parts had subsequently been reproduced in the paper submitted to Journal A: around 60 per cent of the introduction had been re-used. A forward by the editor of Journal B indicated that the papers had all been peer reviewed and based on a presentation at a conference. It was therefore not just another publication of conference “proceedings”and the copyright was owned by Journal B. The editor of Journal A has no intention of publishing the article, but would like advice on what to do next.
_ The authors did disclose the other articles so they were partly in the right, and obviously not trying to be deceitful. _ It is also difficult to define as a percentage what constitutes duplication of previously published material, in which case it is difficult to take this any further.