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COLL X250 Academic Editing and Publishing

Resources for editors and peer reviewers

Case Studies

After the publication of an article about how social support affects drug abuse treatment outcomes, a reader notifies you that this author has recently published a very similar article in a clinical journal.  The abstracts contain minor differences in the methods section, and the focus in the recent publication is on clinical aspects, while the focus in the IUJUR submission is a narrative review of the history, practice, and gaps in research around methods of drug abuse treatment.  However, the findings and results are identical. As an interdisciplinary journal, IUJUR targets a general audience, while the other journal targets clinical specialists.

You receive a submission with 2 authors.  The submission states that each co-author equally contributed to the conception, research, data collection, experiments and writing of the paper.  One of the authors is the leading expert in the subject-matter of the paper and is the former chair of your department. You are aware that this author has been on leave for the entire period of research and experimentation that the paper covers because of a serious illness, and in fact relinquished his duties as chair prior to the time the submission indicates that the research was started.

You are an editor of IUJUR but you wish to submit your own research for publication.

Scientist A accepted an invitation to review a manuscript for IUJUR. Scientist A was aware only of the title of the manuscript and had read the abstract before accepting the invitation. He was also aware that he was to return his review within two weeks.  When the review failed to materialize within the allotted period, you sent the reviewer four email reminders over the course of the next month. Without ever replying to any of these reminders, Scientist A submitted his own manuscript to IUJUR for consideration. When the editorial office confirmed the receipt of this manuscript, they also reminded him that they had yet to receive his review. Scientist A did not respond.


When Scientist A’s own paper was looked at, it became clear that there was a significant degree of overlap in the content of his paper and the one he was supposed to be reviewing. There does not appear to be any plagiarism of the review manuscript, but it is clear that Scientist A had accepted an invitation to review a manuscript that was very similar to research that his own laboratory was conducting.