A paper was reviewed and subsequently published in December 1999. A further publication with an almost identical title, but with different authors, was published in another journal in 2000. It is quite clear both papers relate to the same study, and apart from some minor differences in style, which were probably requested by the editorial offices, they seem to be identical. The editor of the second journal received a letter from the corresponding author in August 2000 saying that the authors would like the paper withdrawn, on the grounds that “the same work has been published by my senior colleague in some other journal. ”The editor wrote back saying that withdrawal was impossible as the journal was now in print. As well as the problem of duplication there is clearly another question which the authors must answer: how is it that the same work can be attributed to two apparently different groups of research workers at the same institution? What action should be taken?
_ The head of department should be informed, and a notice of duplicate publication should be published in both journals. _ Before doing so, however, the authors should be asked for an explanation. _ Whatever their explanation, the head of department should still be informed.