A published article was subsequently republished in a foreign language journal, with exactly the same results and text. Just a few extra references were added. The senior author had written to apologise for the foreign language publication, but argued that the second publication was a different paper.
But the editor disagreed: the foreign language publication had not referenced the original English language version, and he banned the author from publishing in the journal. The society publisher’s council subsequently decided that this ban should apply to all of the society’s journals, and for a period of 10 years.
- How long should the ban apply—is there any precedent that could serve as guidance for such cases?
- What is the usual practice when duplicate publication in another language has occurred?
- A ban should not be imposed without an investigation.
- The journal does not have a contract with the author so is not in a position to investigate the background evidence of the duplicate publication.
- There is no precedent for an “appropriate” length of a ban. But 10 years is excessive.
- The difficulty with bans is that they are often imposed without due process and it is difficult to ensure that they are applied consistently and fairly.
- To avoid risk of litigation journals need clear evidence of misconduct.
- If an editor is seriously concerned about an author’s actions s/he should ask the institution to carry out an investigation.
- The republication of articles in foreign language journals is quite common.
- This is only acceptable if the authors make this very clear to the journals involved and clearly reference the first publication.
- The editor should contact the authors’ institution and request an investigation, and inform the authors of his intention to do so.
- Both journals should publish a notice of duplicate publication, preferably at the same time. - The length of the ban should be reconsidered.