Plagiarism or redundant publication?

Case number:

Case text (Anonymised)

A manuscript was submitted with a covering letter clearly stating the originality and unpublished nature of the work. The authors stated that the results had already been orally presented at a meeting the previous year. Before sending the manuscript for review the editors discovered that the manuscript contained 60% of the Materials and Methods text and 90% of the Results section of a previously published paper. Even the data were identical. Moreover, the authors’ citation to the first article suggested that it was different from the current work (the corresponding author and the first author were the same in both manuscripts). The editors were not convinced that there was a deliberate attempt to mislead, but nevertheless they rejected the manuscript with a stern warning to both the first author and the corresponding author. As yet no reply has been received from any of the authors.


_ There had been some deception and a case of redundant publication, not plagiarism. _ The authors failed to declare an overlap, and citation is not enough. _ The authors should be given a chance to reply. _ A reminder should be sent (giving a time limited response), with reference made to the COPE guidelines otherwise the matter will be referred to the authors’ institution.

Follow up: 

The authors emailed a detailed and apologetic reply. While the editors were convinced that there had been no deliberate attempt to mislead, the manuscript was rejected because a large part of the work had already been published.