A journal had two incidences in which a questionnaire was used in studies without permission of the originators of the questionnaires. Both manuscripts originated in different countries, and used different questionnaires. 1. A manuscript was submitted which addressed quality of life issues. The referees had various concerns about the data and methods, and the authors were invited to revise the manuscript. At that point the authors contacted the originator of the questionnaire they had translated and used, requesting permission to use the questionnaire and asking for assistance with the issues the referees had identified as problematic. Permission had not been sought to translate and use the questionnaire before this. The creator of the questionnaire objected to its use in this particular study, and to it being used in a non-approved translation. Culturally specific translations are apparently available. The main concern was that an inappropriate translation could lead to potential errors in the study, as well as concerns about the propriety and legality of the study. The editor contacted the author, highlighting the concerns of the questionnaire’s originator, and the author chose to withdraw the manuscript. No other action has been taken to date. 2. A submitted manuscript reported a study based on a specific, validated questionnaire. One of the referees pointed out that the centre where the study had been conducted was not registered as an approved centre for this survey, and that neither the relevant Steering Committee nor the relevant International Data Centre had any contact with the authors. The survey’s publication policy states that non-registered centres may not use the acronym. The manuscript was rejected on the basis of poor science, and the authors recommended to contact the survey, regarding registration and for permission to use the questionnaire.
_ It may have been an innocent mistake on the part of the authors, who thought the first questionnaire was in the public domain and could be translated and used by anyone. _ The editor needs to find out more information on why the author felt compelled to withdraw the paper. It would be useful to find out whether the questionnaire was copyrighted. _ For the second case, the likely problem was the authors’ ignorance of the correct mechanism for being able to use the questionnaire and the editor’s course of action seems entirely appropriate.