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Supervisor publishes PhD students work


The PhD supervisor and a co-supervisor published a paper. The paper contained the work of a PhD student; approximately 90% of the paper was from the thesis. The PhD student found out when the paper was electronically pre-published. He contacted the supervisor. The supervisor’s first reaction was “How did you find out”? The supervisor did not want to include the PhD student as an author since he himself had done most of the work.


Question of paper retraction due to proven fabricated data


A published paper has been under legal scrutiny due to fabricated data. The court has concluded that the evidence presented undermined the credibility of the study. We have read the COPE guidelines for retracting an article and have checked the flowchart 'What to do if you expect fabricated data'. From reading the guidelines it seems that the editor has the right to retract the paper and to do this promptly.


Dual publication


The authors submitted a paper to our journal which went through the review process and was accepted for publication. It was then placed online in corrected proof. While online we were informed by a reader that the paper appeared to have been published in a journal local to the authors, although only an abstract was available in English. We requested that the authors submit an English language version of the original paper so that we could assess whether this was a case of dual publication.




A paper was published with four authors from two universities and the contact author provided an exclusive license form on behalf of all of the authors. After publication, one of the authors contacted the editor claiming a case of plagiarism. The claim is that the published paper was a direct copy of an MSc thesis which this person had supervised 7 years previously.


What constitutes authorship?


Author X submitted a paper to another journal, and included author Y, a student in the same institute, as a courtesy. Author Y had drawn two figures for the paper and discussed some of the observations (all made by author X) with author X but the paper did not deal with the thesis research of author Y.


Parallels between unpublished manuscript and a published article from other authors


I am seeking advice on a confidential ‘letter of concern’ from an author (X) of a manuscript submitted before I was appointed editor of the journal but rejected by me on the advice of the associate editor.


Possible dual publication


As editor of journal A I am handling a manuscript by an author and it is likely to be accepted, although this is not yet decided. As a reviewer for journal B, I have since been asked to review a manuscript by the same author that uses similar material and comes to a similar conclusion, but pushes the presentation of the results a little further. My gut feeling is that there is insufficient novelty for journal B.


Conflicting claims of intellectual property?


Dr R, of University 1, has written an ‘official complain’ to Editor E alleging that a paper he was invited to review employs without permission a method that is the ‘background intellectual property’ (BIP) of University 1. He believes the paper should not be published.


Case of duplicate publication detected after 9 years


An original research article was published in a journal in 2000. This is a quarterly, non-indexed journal. The abstract is available on a national indexation website.

The same article with a slight change in the title was published in our journal in April 2002. Ours is a monthly journal which has been indexed in Medline since 1975.


Retraction or expression of concern?


Shortly after publishing a short report, another group involved in similar work accused one of the authors (A) of the short report of fabricating and/or stealing data from their lab. The other group also stated that author A’s conclusions about an image published in the short report were wrong.