I worked on a big report with a bunch of people (published online as an agency report). Can I extract my data and analysis from the report, expand on it, exclude what everyone else did, and publish separately in a journal? One of the Co-authors was also the Co-PI and did a lot of editing, plus brought in funds but I feel that co-pI did not contribute substantially to what I will extract for my journal article.

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    Not without talking it over with your coauthors and getting their permission, at least. Jun 26, 2015 at 9:12
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    The coauthors have unique knowledge of who did what, and how the work is organized, so even without needing their permission they would be the best people to advise on whether your work is separable. Jun 26, 2015 at 9:20
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    Your question is another version of "how to efficiently stab my co-authors and collaborators in the back for as little gain as a mediocre publication"
    – Alexandros
    Jun 26, 2015 at 11:18
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    Could you clarify how this is not self plagiarism, you already have this published and publicly available, is your goal to just extract that information and hope a journal does not realize you already co-published it? Jun 26, 2015 at 11:58
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    So, really, if you worked on a big report with a bunch of people, how independent is 'your' data and analysis? And, since it is published, you would need to do further new work - perhaps that could be the focus of a paper, building on the original report...
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 26, 2015 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


Usually large collaborations have some ground rules for who can publish on what with who as the authors. Make sure that you're not bound by those rules first.

Second, think whether you have anything to gain. Is this second paper going to really further your career if it damages your reputation among this group? What if none of these people or their postdocs and grad students ever want to Co-PI with you again? If you're asking whether your behavior is OK then you must have some feeling that it is not.

The only reasonable thing to do is to ask all the people involved. It's not like you're risking them learning something about your project that you want to keep secret because you're already collaborating. The standard thing is to contact them with your paper idea and ask whether they think they contributed substantially and want to be a co-author.

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