Duplicate publication based on government data

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Case text (Anonymised)

A group of researchers from departments of psychology and public health submitted a paper based on a survey that had been commissioned by the NHS Executive. The paper was received at Journal A on 14 May 1998 and a decision to offer publication of a revised version was made on 25 June 1998. Over a year elapsed between this offer and the resubmission of a revised version of the paper due to illness and a change of job, on the part of the corresponding author. The revised version finally arrived in July 1999 and was accepted on 28 July. In September, the corresponding author contacted the editor to say that a longer version of the paper was due to appear shortly in Journal B. The author was anxious that this should not appear before the paper in Journal A had been published. However, neither of the editors had been informed of the submission to another journal. The editor wrote back to the author requesting a copy of the letter sent to the editor of Journal B. The letter made no mention of the previous submission to Journal A. The copied letter of submission to Journal B was not dated, but an accompanying letter from the author said that it had been sent in the week of 25 July. Both authors wrote independently to express their concern that they might have “inadvertently” acted with impropriety. In the end, the corresponding author wrote to say that on reflection, they had decided to withdraw the short paper from Journal A. The editor of Journal A gained the impression that the authors had acted, although incorrectly, “in good faith. ”Nevertheless, an undisclosed duplicate submission had clearly been made.


This is a case for the record. No further action need be taken.