Duplicate publication


The newly appointed editor of Journal A noticed that an article he had just published in his journal bore remarkable similarities to an article published a couple of months earlier in Journal B. When the editors of both journals discussed the matter, they confirmed that they had not been told about the other article. The authors work in a well established academic department. On detailed review, the articles were indeed very similar and came to an identical conclusion.


Duplicate publication


The editor of Journal A drew the attention of the editor of Journal B to two articles published in their journals which were remarkably similar. The editor of Journal A believed that certain passages of text suggested duplicate publication of results. The dates of publication indicated that these data were accepted first by Journal A.


Redundant publication


Journal A received letters from two readers pointing out that the female component of a cohort the paper published was identical with that in a paper published in Journal B earlier that year. The two papers were sent to two independent reviewers, one of whom felt that there was a great degree of overlap between the two papers. The other agreed, but suggested that the paper submitted to Journal A had used a different statistical analysis and had looked at different problems.


Retrospective correction: how far back do we go?


In 1990 a case report was published in which it was alleged that the use of a particular endotracheal tube had led to tracheal damage, requiring the child to have a tracheostomy and a tracheal reconstruction. This paper was from a specialist surgical unit, and a letter was subsequently received from the paediatricians who had cared for the baby at the referring hospital before and after the transfer to the surgical unit.


Undeclared conflict of interest


A paper on a controversial topic from three authors was published. All three authors completed forms to say that they did not have competing interests. This was stated at the end of the paper. A reader subsequently contacted the journal to say that she had clear evidence that one of the authors did have competing interests. He had, she said, been involved in legal cases and received substantial payments for his work. The article related to these legal cases.


Yet another case of duplicate publication


A paper published in journal A in 1990 was published almost verbatim in journal B the following year, and yet again in journal C in 1993. None of these publications made any reference to the others. The case emerged in the process of one of the authors applying for a professorship. The authors conceded their error when tackled on the issue. One editor agreed to publish notice of duplicate publication, but difficulties were experienced tracking down the third editor.


The manipulated contributor list


A paper was published for which the authors’contributions were as follows: A and B had the original idea and planned the study. A was also responsible for collecting the samples and patient data. C established the database and participated in planning the clinical trial. D developed the enzyme linked immunoabsorbent assay and analysed all the samples. E and F were responsible for the statistical analyses of the data. The paper had been written jointly by B, G, D, H and A.


A falling out


A research letter was submitted from a team of investigators,A, B, C, and D. In their covering letter they reported that: A was involved in planning the study, collecting patient samples, and in writing the manuscript; B measured IL-10 polymorphisms and analysed the results; C was involved in supervising the measurement of polymorphisms and in writing the manuscript; D was involved in planning the study and writing the manuscript. The letter was peer reviewed and published.


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.


Blatant example of duplicate publication?


A paper was submitted to one journal on 7 March, revised on 20 May, submitted to another journal on 21 March, revised on 29 May, accepted on 2 July and published in December 1997. The content of both papers is identical but each has different reference styles so were clearly intended for two different journals. The submission letter to the first journal clearly states that the material has not been submitted elsewhere. What should the two editors do now?