The authors submitted a paper to journal A on genetic analysis of a potentially pathogenic organism isolated from children, analysed by school attended. Six days later, the same authors submitted a paper to journal B on genetic analysis of the same organism isolated from children, analysed by socio-economic class. The papers appear to be different analyses of the same data, and substantial portions of the texts of the two manuscripts are identical. No reference is made in either paper to the other submission. The instructions for authors for both journals state that ‘by submitting, corresponding authors confirm that their manuscripts report unpublished work that is not under consideration for publication elsewhere’. The authors may have been unaware that journal A and journal B are now published by the one publisher, as journal B has recently changed hands. Both papers have been rejected and the right to take further action has been reserved. No response has been received from the authors as yet.
The committee discussed that this did indeed sound like an example of attempted salami publication. The editors’ note that substantial portions of the text were identical may indicate that this is closer to attempted duplicate submission. The editors should write to the authors again stating a deadline for response. If the authors do not respond the editors should write to all the authors’ institutions and request that the matter be investigated.