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I am curious if it is acceptable to write another article based on the analysis that has already been included in the supporting information that was published together with a peer-reviewed article online.

FYI: The supporting information was available online only but open-access. The analysis includes descriptives, models, and a few paragraphs summarizing the model output (no literature review, methodology, discussions, conclusions, etc.) The new article is about a brand new topic that was not discussed in the article that has already been published. I put the analysis into the supporting information because the reviewer/editor wanted a "full analysis of any variables that have been used" but then they thought the article is too long and asked me to throw the less/non-relevant model outputs into the supporting information. It is such a pity that the data and analysis could make a greater influence if published as an independent article so I wonder if it is possible to make use of the supporting information/appendix and write another article. Of course, I don't want to get myself into the trouble of self-plagiarism...

Any idea?

2 Answers 2

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I would only be self-plagiarism if you fail to cite earlier work, but I doubt that is your plan.

However, an editor and reviewers will need to judge whether the new work is sufficiently new (i.e. 'novel') to warrant publication. Your judgement that it is, might differ from theirs. You can write it up and submit it, however. Just cite your earlier work.

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  • Should I email the journal editor (or the journal editor of my published article?) to obtain their "official" permission to use the model/data? Then they'll be able to tell me more about copyright/self-plagiarism or etc...
    – Katie
    Jun 13, 2023 at 15:11
  • That shouldn't be necessary unless you plan to quote extensively from things (words, phrases,...) they have published. They only have copyright over what was actually published, not the work behind it. But it still wouldn't be any form of plagiarism if you cite. Copyright is an orthogonal issue.
    – Buffy
    Jun 13, 2023 at 15:22
  • Thank you so much!
    – Katie
    Jun 13, 2023 at 16:00
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I've seen appendices (I work in econometrics and statistics) that are orders of magnitude longer than the articles themselves. So, assuming it's original enough, it's possible. This paper has, in the depths of its appendix, a section on differential privacy. Vishal, one of the authors on an extension to this method, has a paper drafted about it now.

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  • Thank you Jared! My concern is the model reported in the appendix/supporting information will be the same model (or maybe I can do something to make it slightly different but it will be something similar tbh). The appendix/supporting information did not discuss variable significance or related effects or anything, you could consider it a "result" section by itself. In this case, should I be concerned if paraphrasing the "result" section and equipping it with an introduction, lit review, methodology, and discussion to make it a full article for publication?
    – Katie
    Jun 13, 2023 at 15:17

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