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Dual submission


A referee’s report on a paper informed this editor that the authors had submitted a very similar paper to another journal. Both papers analyse the same 30 cases of an unusual neoplasm, and the tables and five of the photomicrographs are identical. There is also considerable duplication of text in the article.

We have written to the authors requesting them to clarify how this has arisen and told them that when such duplication arises it is regarded as tantamount to fraud.


Ethics, institutional review and studies from private practice


A manuscript was submitted to our journal regarding a chart review of a novel treatment of a musculoskeletal disease, done at a private clinic in a western country. The patients had given informed consent for the novel treatment, but there was no ethical approval.


Duplicate publication


A reader contacted the editorial staff of Journal A after noticing that Journal B, which is primarily non-English, had published a paper that was remarkably similar.      The editor of journal A contacted the editor of Journal B.  Both editors reviewed the two papers and agreed that the paper from Journal B contained methods, results, and conclusions that formed a part of the paper from Journal A.


Editor as author in own journal


This journal specialises in one form of treatment. It is the only Medline listed journal that is widely accessed in Europe by people who use this form of treatment. No international journals provide a suitable alternative. In the USA, the one journal most similar to this is much less specialised and hardly ever accessed in Europe.


Ownership of an idea


A paper was submitted describing a novel technique for preparing tissue, which was noted immediately by a referee to be a modification of a method used by another researcher. The other researcher is thanked but is not included in the author list.


Possible suppression of data


This is a summary of a problematical research interaction between a pharmaceutical company and academic collaborators at a University involving a widely used drug. A pharmaceutical company appears to have exerted undue influence in an attempt to control the scientific literature.


Duplicate submission, self-plagiarism


The journal commissioned a Seminar that arrived in September 2004 and was sent for peer review. In March 2005, we received a peer reviewer’s comments pointing out a very similar paper by the same authors in another journal, published in December 2004.

On careful comparison, there was over 70% text copied word-for-word, sometimes with trivial alterations, from the previous publication.


Article sent to reviewer by mistake


An article reviewing approaches to modelling the impact of widescale therapy for a particular condition was submitted to the journal. The editors mistakenly sent the article to an individual (reviewer A) whom the authors had requested be excluded as a reviewer (the article was critical of some of the reviewer's previous work).


A case report of an experimental therapy, submitted by the patient


We received a pre-submission enquiry about whether we were interested in publishing a case report of a novel therapy that provided “a complete cure for heart disease.” The therapy involved a “membranotrophic drug” combined with diet and exercise.

 The therapy had been given to a patient who had experienced a myocardial infarction.  Eighteen months later, the patient was apparently free of heart disease. 


Sufficient consent?


A paper was submitted which enrolled elderly nursing home patients to an experimental study of the effect of a medicinal plant on skin ulcers. Although the plant is licensed for use in other skin conditions, it does not have a specific licence for this indication. The study did not mention ethical approval or whether consent was obtained so the editor wrote to the author to query it.