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  • Case
    Case Closed

    Revoked parental consent

    2015
    Our journal publishes case reports describing the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of unusual cases. Parents must provide written informed consent prior to manuscript submission. No cases are presented with unique identifiers and each is anonymised as much as possible. A manuscript was submitted with written consent that was accepted for publication and assigned to an issue. Just befo…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Authorship dispute

    2015
    In April 2014, our journal received a case report from author A with co-authors B, C, D and E. After undergoing a first round of revisions pertaining only to the paper’s format, author A excluded co-authors C, D, and E from the revised version and retained co-author B, without notifying the journal of this change. After this change, the manuscript underwent the complete evaluation process, comp…
  • Case
    On-going

    Plagiarized figure

    2015
    We received a review paper and it was accepted and published on our website. We then noticed that one of the figures had been copied from a paper published in another journal. Before publication, we asked the authors if the figures were original or if they needed references, and the authors responded that they were original. After confirmation of the similarity of one figure to a publish…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Possible self-plagiarism and/or prior publication

    2014
    In October 2014 it came to our attention via one of the reviewers of a manuscript submitted to our journal that an identical article (100% identical) had been previously published on the website of the author. The submitting author had not made us aware in their submission documentation that the article had been publicly available on their website at the point of submission. Two different but r…
  • Case

    Potential fabrication of data in primary studies included in a meta-analysis accepted for publication

    2014
    Journal A has accepted a meta-analysis for publication. As is standard practice for many articles accepted in this journal, a key expert (Professor X) in the relevant field was invited to submit a commentary on the paper. Professor X expressed concerns to the journal that “we believe that some of the papers included in the review could be either fabricated or at best are heavily plagiarised”. T…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Online posting of confidential draft by peer reviewer

    2013
    Shortly before publication, I received an email from the authors of a systematic review telling me that a version of the paper as first submitted to the journal for peer review had appeared on the website of a campaign group based in the USA. It was clear that the version of the document posted on the website was the same as the version supplied to the journal's peer reviewers. Further investig…
  • Case
    On-going

    Identifying patient information published in a figure

    2013
    A reader emailed a society, which forwarded the message to the journal office, noting that he can read the name of a patient in a figure in a published letter to the editor. The letter was published online 3 months earlier and had just appeared in print; it was the print version the reader saw. The reader asked if the patient's name could be removed. The journal’s author instructions alr…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Claim of plagiarism in published article

    2013
    Author A of a 2008 review article in our journal claims her article was used as the "framework" for a 2013 review article on the same subject in an open access journal by a former student of hers, author B. There was no verbatim overlap but the format (comparison of two common conditions) was indeed similar (differential diagnosis, management, pharmacotherapy, and implications for practice).
  • Case
    On-going

    Two reviewer reports contain a significant amount of verbatim textual overlap

    2013
    Two of four reviewer reports received by the editor-in-chief of a journal contained a significant amount of verbatim textual overlap. Although of the same native (not English) language, the two reviewers are affiliated to institutions in different countries. The reports were submitted to the journal within 5 days of each other. Both reviewers suggested rejection of the submission. Separa…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    A case of plagiarism?

    2013
    A paper was published in our journal. A reader contacted us and informed us that the whole of the introduction of the paper was copied directly from another publication. The editor-in-chief suggested retracting the paper immediately. However, the author insists on publishing a correction. They do not want to publish a retraction as this will affect their future career development.Question…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Unusually frequent submission of articles by a single author

    2013
    A sixth year medical student, with expected year of graduation of 2013 (Mr X), submitted 29 original articles and 17 letters to the editor in the period February 2012 to October 2012 to our journal. This amounted to an average of five submissions per month. Mr X is an author and corresponding author in every article. Of these, he is the first author of eight original research articles and 12 le…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Paper submitted for publication without consent or knowledge of co-authors

    2013
    An article was submitted by corresponding author (CA) on 19 December 2011. After several revisions the article was accepted for publication on 23 March 2012. The article was published online 8 May 2012.At the time of submission, CA was a PhD student at a research centre (X).On 21 November 2012, co-author A (also head of the research group) contacted the publisher and editor-in-chief…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Journal refuses to correct the record

    2012
    An author contacted our journal in August 2011 informing us that a paper he had published in our journal in 2005 had been published, word for word, in another journal (journal X), under a different title and author group, in 2007. We followed the appropriate COPE flowchart and contacted the editor of journal X. The editor of journal X told us in September 2011 that he would publish a ret…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Serial plagiarism by an experienced author

    2012
    Suspicions were raised on 20 September 2012 by a reviewer who commented that some of the passages in a submission from Dr J were similar to an earlier paper published in our journal by the same author. An iThenticate check indicated a similarity index of 60%: however, the overlap was not from that earlier paper but from another source by a different author which had contributed 41% of the mater…
  • Case
    On-going

    Reprimanded author plagiarizes again

    2012
    A reviewer, R1, brought to our attention several suspected cases of plagiarism in paper A1, submitted by authors A. The main concerns were:— large parts of paper A1 resembled paper B submitted by a different group of authors B, with one of the most major changes being a change in the observation day;— large parts of a section were taken from paper C by author C, including an…
  • Case
    On-going

    Plagiarism in a book title

    2012
    We received a complaint of plagiarism by Dr A concerning a book that has just been published. This case is ongoing since January 2012. Authors B and C published a new, very extended edition (+1000 pages), on a topic that previously was covered in part in an English book by author B (published in 2006). Part of this book was based on a German book published back in 1993 by Dr A and author…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    Plagiarism of a PhD thesis

    2012
    We received a complaint from an author claiming that her PhD thesis had been plagiarized in a journal article. After many discussions, the editorial office decided that the authors should resolve this issue among themselves, as it was an author dispute.After further correspondence, the editorial office is now also saying that because the thesis is not published anywhere, there is no need…
  • Case
    On-going

    Publication of data without permission

    2012
    A director of an institute in France has expressed concern about a paper published in our journal. One of the authors (not the corresponding author) of the paper, person A, visited his laboratory in France for 5 months in 2009 to carry out some work. The director says that some methods used and results obtained in his laboratory have now been included in the paper without his knowledge or permi…
  • Case
    Case Closed

    A case of duplicate publication

    2012
    Ten years ago, the author published a paper on the same subject in his country’s specialty journal. The first report was short and the product of the author’s graduate work. The publication was in their country’s language.  (Recently, the journal has been translating the abstracts of their previous publications into English, but the body of the text is still in their language.)  Subsequently, t…
  • Case
    On-going

    Habitual plagiarist

    2012
    Author F published a single case report (CR1) in my journal. A few months later, I received a letter from author G who claimed that the case published by author F was a verbatim copy of his case report published in another journal H. On comparison of the documents it was obvious that CR1 was an exact reproduction of the article of author G. More than 90% of the sentences overlapped in both arti…

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