An author submitted an article to my journal. The editorial board discovered that the author had already published his article in another journal. The editorial board communicated with the author and he defended himself stating that they were two different articles with different titles. However, the editorial board could find no significant difference between the two papers.
There are two issue related to this article.
(1) The author did not notify us, prior to his submission to another journal.
(2) Almost all of the text is the same, indicating duplicate publication. Can this be taken as salami publication? How should we handle this issue?
The advice of the Forum was for the editor to assess the degree of overlap between the two papers. If the editor judges it to be major overlap, he should reject the paper. If it is minor overlap, the editor should contact the authors for an explanation. It was suggested that the editor could consult the “sample letters” on the COPE website which deal with “Overlap of figures or text with a manuscript submitted or published elsewhere”. There is also an issue of copyright, as the same figure appears in both papers. Hence the editor’s journal could be in breach of copyright if it published this paper. It is clear that the authors have not been transparent in their submission of the paper and some advised that the editor could report their behaviour to their institution. Ultimately, it is up to the editor to decide if the paper is sufficiently novel to warrant publication. How much extra value is there in the second paper?
The editor rejected the paper.