I am in the process of writing a survey paper, and found one conference publication A that I will cite. Additionally, I found a journal publication B that I almost would have included in the survey, but I found it is almost identical to publication A. B was published 6 years after A. Here, "almost identical" means all the algorithms from A were screenshotted and directly copied-and-pasted into B, with no citation, and most of the text in B was verbatim the same as A, with slight changes in some places.

I already contacted the authors of A and the journal editors for B regarding my concerns. However, what should be done for the survey? Just leave B out entirely? It has a few citations, so it wasn't just ignored in the literature. (I'm also considering not having any of the main author of B's papers included in the survey as well, but haven't directly found anything like this in those other papers yet.)

  • 3
    Are the authors of B the same as the authors of A?
    – Arno
    May 4, 2023 at 19:36
  • @Arno Nope, completely different. May 4, 2023 at 20:14
  • 2
    When handing in your paper, ask the journal / editor to exclude the authors of paper B from reviewing your article. Otherwise, this could lead to ugly discussions jeopardizing your survey paper.
    – usr1234567
    May 6, 2023 at 11:31
  • @usr1234567 Great point, didn't even think about that. Thanks, will do! May 7, 2023 at 11:42
  • "I already contacted the authors of A and the journal editors for B regarding my concerns." Good job. It is important to report suspected plagiarism and you did so to the correct people. However, you should be careful to not directly accuse the authors of B of plagiarism--just present the evidence and let those whom you have appropriately notified pursue the case and make their judgements.
    – Tripartio
    May 8, 2023 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


Leave B out entirely. It sounds like B brings absolutely nothing new to the table that wasn't present in A - even if it wasn't obviously plagiarized, there isn't much reason to include a duplicate paper with no novelty whatsoever in a survey paper (you wouldn't cite textbooks covering non-novel material, for example). Anything you want to say about the findings can be accomplished by citing A alone.

It's one thing to find a result independently replicated with different methods and data, but applying the exact same methods to the exact same data and presenting it as two studies of the same phenomenon is a bit disingenuous - you'd be citing two sources to support a point, when it's actually just one single source repeating the same claim twice. A citation is in a way an endorsement, conveying the notion that you trust the source enough to lend credence to the points you're making in your own paper. Here, you have no reason to trust B, they merely regurgitated what A said without any further thought.

If reviewers come back and suggest the inclusion of B, you have good arguments for why it should not be cited.

  • 1
    But isn't it the purpose of surveys to help readers by telling them: "in such paper, such thing is new/interesting, etc."? If some people have read a paper C that cites B, and are wondering if they should read B, it might by worth to tell them "no, read A instead". I don't see the point in leaving B out entirely.
    – Plop
    May 5, 2023 at 7:22
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    If OP wants to be passive-aggressive, they can have a sidenote in their method about why paper B was excluded from the survey. I would be tempted to write a footnote "Paper [13] matches our inclusion criteria, but was not included in the review due to perceived plagiarism of paper [9]. We have informed the authors and journals about this perception as part of the preparation of the manuscript."
    – xLeitix
    May 5, 2023 at 8:29
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    (it's probably not smart to write something like this, and my co-authors would likely talk me out of it, but I would be tempted nonetheless)
    – xLeitix
    May 5, 2023 at 8:29
  • @xLeitix: If you're "lucky", the paper B gets retracted before you actually publish the survey and you can simply say "but has since been retracted" instead. May 5, 2023 at 12:57
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    @Plop I see the survey paper as highlighting the important contributions and novel papers. The fact that B isn't there already suggests it's not one of the key papers in the field. To list all the papers you shouldn't read would be an endless and ultimately not vey useful task. May 5, 2023 at 13:17

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