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I recently found a case of duplicate publishing and at the same time conflict of interests. Here is the case:

Someone sent a paper (in Persian) as the sole author in a scientific Persian journal. Submission date is Jan 1, 2020 and acceptance date is Aug 8, 2020. Based on the author academic background it is related to her academic career. She was being employed in a highly competitive university during the submission time.

She seemingly adds the faculty dean as the first and corresponding author and re-submits the same paper (now translated into English) to a WoS journal. Comparing the two papers, subject and abstracts are word-by-word the same, and the article body is almost (over 80%) the same (the difference comes from the formats and limitations of the journals). No kind of reference to the first Persian version is specified. The second paper submission date is not specified in the published version but if the first review appeared 2 months after submission, it should be March 2020, because the first review date is 2020/05/24 (according to review log).

I have two questions:

  1. What should be done in case the first Persian paper was proved to be submitted sooner than the English one?
  2. Can this be considered a case of conflict of interest?

PS All scientific Iranian journals accepting original researches require that the work should not be submitted or printed anywhere else.

UPDATE: Persian journal removed the sole-author paper without any notice about retraction or something. Still traces of the Persian paper is available on paper search platforms. What to do?

UPDATE2: Persian journal links was broken because of the system upgrade. The paper is still up and accessible.

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  • Could you clarify if both papers are in English or if one is a translation of the other? Oct 25 at 1:56
  • The first paper was Persian, the second translated into English.
    – Ali
    Oct 25 at 4:59
  • I've made minimal edits to clarify this information; I hope you don't mind; change it back if you do. Oct 25 at 5:07
  • This seems pretty similar to academia.stackexchange.com/questions/176606/… (probably a continuation of the same story)
    – DavidW
    Oct 25 at 12:33
  • Unfortunately yes, same faculty, but different persons.
    – Ali
    Oct 30 at 8:09
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This seems less like a case of fake authorship than it is a case of duplicate submission and/or plagiarism. You contact the journals and let them handle it. You mention that you can see the "review log" for one of the papers, which suggests you work at that publisher; if that is the case you still contact the other journal and work out a coordinated response. Warning: this is a delicate situation so if you are a junior employee you want to talk to your supervisors before proceeding.

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You can contact both journals, of course. Let the editors work out whether there was any deception or improper behavior.

Beyond contacting the editors there isn't much you can, or should, do.

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  • No reference in either version to the other version. I believe the added author (and faculty dean) does not even know that the original author published the work before.
    – Ali
    Oct 24 at 20:52
  • 3
    Why do you believe that?
    – Buffy
    Oct 24 at 20:53
  • Because 1) the dean fired a professor for the sake of duplicate publication in the same year. 2) sooner or later either Persian or English journal would probably retract the paper and this is a bad case his resume.
    – Ali
    Oct 24 at 20:59
  • 1
    If you are in mathematics, you should also contact MathSciNet, which indexes and publishes short post-publication reviews of papers. I don't believe similar services exist in other fields. Oct 25 at 2:00

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