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  • Case
    On-going

    Suspected plagiarism

    2019
    A single author submitted a paper to our journal. A similarity check revealed 48% similarity with another published paper. The published paper was by different authors—5 in total. The similarities between the papers were in the introduction, methods and discussion sections. The submitting author did not reference the published article. We queried the corresponding author but have not rec…
  • Case
    On-going

    Possible plagiarism

    2019
    We received an email from a whistleblower notifying us about possible plagiarism in two chapters published by us, both authored by the same two authors. The whistleblower accused the authors of substantial plagiarism. In both chapters there were, indeed, certain unattributed parts of the text, although the majority was properly attributed. Some of the unattributed parts were authored by…
  • Case
    On-going

    Dispute arising from peer review of a rejected comment and published correction

    2019
    In 2016, group A published manuscript X in our journal. In early 2017, group B submitted a comment critical of the published manuscript. Following peer review, in accordance with the journal’s then active policy, the comment was rejected from further consideration. The policy allowed for the author of the original article to be one of the peer reviewers of the comment. The lead author of…
  • Case
    On-going

    Reviewer requesting addition of multiple citations of their own work

    2019
    A handling editor noticed a reviewer report where the reviewer instructed the author to cite multiple publications by the same reviewer in their manuscript. The handling editor noted a similar instance involving this reviewer from the past and requested the editorial office to look into his reviewing history. This uncovered a concerning pattern of behaviour where the reviewer habitually asked a…
  • Case
    On-going

    Victim of article theft wants correction to list their name, not retraction

    2018
    Author A contacted us claiming that an article published in the journal recently by author B was stolen from an article author A had earlier submitted to two different publishers, publisher A in 2016 and publisher B in 2017. Author A provided the PDFs of the manuscripts they had submitted to those other publishers. The version submitted to us 2018 by author B was very similar to that submitted…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Data fabrication in a rejected manuscript

    2018
    An author submitted two manuscripts to our journal and the data were clearly fabricated, which was confirmed when we examined the original patient data files. The lead author admitted that they had only recruited a few patients and fabricated all of the remaining data and said that the co-authors had done this without their knowledge. We reported this to the institution, who conducted an…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Peer reviewer contacted by author

    2018
    In a single blind peer review process, a reviewer gave an author detailed suggestions about improvements in the statistical analysis. The author was asked to revise and resubmit the paper to address these and other reviewers' suggestions. The author, unaware of the reviewer’s identity, subsequently approached the reviewer as a respected colleague at a professional meeting to discuss the manuscr…
  • Case
    On-going

    Authorship conflict

    2018
    Author A contacted our journal following publication of a manuscript claiming that he was the rightful author. We asked the author for proof and he said that he had all of the data concerning the patient because he received the operative specimen and made the diagnosis. Author A said he also collaborated in writing the article with author B and hence was surprised that neither his name nor his…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Self-plagiarism and suspected salami publishing

    2018
    Journal A accepted a manuscript with six authors in June 2017, which was published in January 2018. Several months later, the editors of journal A found that journal B had published paper B, which shared striking similarities to paper A. Journal B accepted paper B in November 2017 and published it in February 2018. The first author of paper B was different but the remaining four authors were fr…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    A pre-submission inquiry with a bribe

    2018
    We recently received a pre-submission inquiry from an author, who identified as being fairly inexperienced with writing papers. At first glance it was a fairly standard pre-submission inquiry. The author mentioned the titles of two papers they allegedly had wrote and wondered whether we might be potentially interested in them. The author added that they had a colleague who would also be potenti…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Increased number of casual submissions

    2018
    We have experienced a sudden spurt in casual submissions of poor quality articles. We believe this is because authors wish to show that they have submitted articles which are under consideration at reputable journals. While any journal or editor would be happy to see increased numbers of submissions, sadly, most are of very poor quality in all respects. Most are very casually prepared wi…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Are copyrighted conference audiotapes considered "prior publication"?

    2018
    An editor received a query from an author: “Your guidelines are clear that presenting data at a society meeting does not preclude publication. But what if the society records the presentation, retains copyright of that recording, and posts it online? Is asking presenters to turn over copyright of a recording of data presented at a prepublication stage and disseminating the recording as they see…
  • Case
    On-going

    Editor manipulation of impact factor

    2018
    An editor in chief of a major medical journal in a specialty field is also an author. The editor submits a manuscript to a competing journal in the same field. The manuscript receives moderately favourable reviews and the authors are invited to respond to the reviewer input and submit a revised manuscript. In the communication from that journal's editor in chief, the authors are asked to cite a…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Scientific misconduct claim from a whistleblower where the institution will not investigate

    2018
    A journal received an allegation of scientific misconduct from an anonymous individual stating they were from the group that had written the paper (Institution-1, there are two institutions involved in this research). The email stated that the scientific bases of the article were unreliable. The paper was currently with the authors who were revising the paper after the first round of review, an…
  • Case
    On-going

    Inconclusive institutional investigation into authorship dispute

    2018
    After publication of an article, Author A contacted the journal asking to correct their surname. Author A’s name consists of two parts, but only one was included in the publication. The editor accepted this request but asked all authors to agree to publication of an erratum. Author B (the corresponding author) immediately replied, disagreeing with publication of such an erratum. Author A inform…
  • Case
    On-going

    Retrospective registration, outcome switching and ethical approval

    2018
    Journal A received a number of concerns from a reader regarding a paper published in the journal. These concerns were reviewed and sent to the authors of a paper, along with additional comments from the editorial board. The concern was largely around retrospective registration, and an inconsistency between the trial registry record and the published paper. An editorial board member conducted a…
  • Case
    On-going

    Undisclosed conflict of interest

    2018
    We published two peer-reviewed articles—one protocol and one paper with the results of a comparative analysis comparing a group of people associated with a specific “complementary medicine health care organization” (CMG), with the general population, which concludes that the group has “unusual health indicators” (more favourable than the general population). The papers originally contain…
  • Case
    On-going

    Licence for a published scale

    2018
    We have received a number of manuscripts involving a published scale where the scale’s developer is known to comb the literature and ask those who used the scale for research to pay for a retroactive license, sometimes asking for very large sums of money. We have started asking authors on all submissions where the scale is used to provide a copy of the license agreement with the scale’s…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Editor and reviewers requiring authors to cite their own work

    2018
    A staff member in our editorial office noticed a decision letter where a handling editor instructed an author to cite an article published by the handling editor. The staff member wondered if this had happened before and reviewed recent decision letters by that editor. This revealed a concerning pattern of behaviour—the handling editor’s decision letters (including reviewers’ comments) asked au…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Dispute between two authors

    2018
    A manuscript was submitted by author A to our journal. The content of the paper was controversial. We sent this manuscript for peer review by two clinical reviewers. We wrote back to author A requesting major revisions to address the concerns and issues raised by the reviewers. A revised paper was submitted and accepted for publication. Because the article was controversial, mini-comment…

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