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Data and reproducibility

Journals should include policies on data availability and encourage the use of reporting guidelines and registration of clinical trials and other study designs according to standard practice in their discipline

Our core practices

Core practices are the policies and practices journals and publishers need, to reach the highest standards in publication ethics. We include cases with advice, guidance for day-to-day practice, education modules and events on topical issues, to support journals and publishers fulfil their policies.

Triplicate publication with possibly different data in each


A paper describing an outbreak of infectious disease was submitted to three journals. The submission to one journal described the index case; the submission to another included investigation and follow up of other cases and contacts in the country where the outbreak had occurred. The third paper looked at the spread of the disease into other countries.


Grounds for retraction?


The co-author of a paper has contacted us about a paper he published 5 years ago together with a researcher who has now been convicted of serious professional misconduct by the GMC for research misconduct.

The co-author is worried that the paper he co-authored may also be fraudulent.


Failing to get consent from an ethics committee


This case was described to me by an author who is about to submit a paper. He has discovered that a member of his team has produced a lot of fraudulent data for other studies, and has forged consent from ethics committees. This researcher has been reported to the GMC and his case is pending. The problem with the paper about to be submitted to us is that the fraudulent researcher falsely claimed that he had gained consent from three ethics committees for patients to be x-rayed.


The perfect study but no investigational drug


A paper was submitted that described the use of a non-licensed investigational drug. One of the paper’s reviewers drew attention to the fact that none of the investigators in the study had been supplied with the drug since 1992/3. The drug is produced exclusively by one manufacturer who has operated an extremely restrictive policy regarding availability of the compound.


Suspected fabrication of data


A reviewer expressed suspicion that data were manufactured. We wrote to the authors saying that our reviewer would like to see the original data. The author replied that this research was carried out in the USA. We then wrote back suggesting that his co-workers in the US would probably be delighted that this work was being submitted for publication and would happily send over the data but that without this we could no longer consider the paper. The line went dead. What should we do next?