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July 2015 : We four authors (Fabio, Alex, Haris and Mark) have submitted a paper in July 2015 and transfer of copyrights to the Journal A. Alex was corresponding author and I am Mark the 4th author.

October 2015: The paper got accepted and published also appeared online.

June 2016: I suddenly came to know through Google search that same article has also been published by three authors (Fabio, Haris and David) in December/January 2016 in Journal B. Fabio is corresponding author, I was not aware of this and also I am not an author in this duplicate publication.

At the time of submission in July 2015, as per my knowledge this paper was not submitted/or being published anywhere else.

This duplicate publication was accepted in December 2015 and appeared online on January 2016 in Journal B

In this whole situation being the 4th author in the first publication (Published in Oct 2015 in Journal A) where do I stand ? Are authors of duplicate publication guilty of plagiarism or copyrights violation ?

What are suggestions for me ? What should I do ? Does it all effect my authorship ?

  • This is a little hard to follow. Can you try and clean it up to make it easier to follow and remove unneeded information? Among other things, I'm having a hard time figuring out which of the two journals it supposedly removed from. – Ric Jun 25 '16 at 0:15
  • @Ric I have edited it and modified it in chronological order. Please I need your guidance and advice. – Science Student Jun 25 '16 at 4:54
  • When you say "same article", do you mean that all the words are the same, or that the same thing is being said but in different words? – Martin Kochanski Jun 25 '16 at 6:06
  • It has 59% similarity index as appeared in turn it in. – Science Student Jun 25 '16 at 7:36
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    Based on these suggestions I have just sent an email to the Journal B with a CC copy to Journal A. Copy of email Editor in Chief Journal B An article published in December 2015/January 2016 in your esteemed journal appears to be a duplicate of an earlier one (already published in October 2015 in "Journal A") — or appears to be closely based on the earlier one which it does not cite. It is requested that please examine the situation and take a necessary action for the integrity of scientific literature. With Regards Mark CC. Editor Journal A – Science Student Jun 25 '16 at 10:46
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If the article is substantially similar

Your course of action is essentially the same as if it had been an exact duplicate. All that is different is that you tell the editors that the article appears to be a duplicate of an earlier one — or appears to be closely based on an earlier one which it does not cite.

As before, do not recommend any specific course of action. Merely recommend that the editors examine the situation to see if the public is being misled and, if so, what should be done to correct any false impression.

Again, take care to refuse to answer any question about who was responsible, what their motives are, and so on. That risks becoming nasty, and in this case it is not necessary.

The three authors may come up with an innocent explanation of the whole thing. ("It sat in David's drawer for months and got sent in by accident"). If that happens, it is not your job to comment or to express belief or disbelief. If asked, refuse.

And at the end of the day, you are a co-author of the earlier paper.

  • Based on these suggestions I have just sent an email to the Journal B with a CC copy to Journal A. Copy of email Editor in Chief Journal B An article published in December 2015/January 2016 in your esteemed journal appears to be a duplicate of an earlier one (already published in October 2015 in "Journal A") — or appears to be closely based on the earlier one which it does not cite. It is requested that please examine the situation and take a necessary action for the integrity of scientific literature. With Regards Mark CC. Editor Journal A – Science Student Jun 25 '16 at 10:41
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If the article is an exact duplicate

Journal B has published text which is owned by Journal A without Journal A's knowledge or permission. In that case, write to the editors of Journal A and Journal B, purely to make them aware of the situation.

It is up to the editors of the journals to decide what steps to take. Journal B has claimed that what it has published is the original work of the three authors, and this is not true so it needs to un-deceive its readers.

Do not recommend any course of action to either editor. This kind of dispute can get nasty, complicated and damaging very quickly. And people detected in fraud (if it is fraud) will want to punish their victim. That is human nature.

But do write. If, believing that Journal B has published a fraudulent paper, you remain silent, you become part of the fraud.

Never accuse your co-authors of anything. Not to their face; not to the editors; not to your friends. If asked, report the facts only. Do not express judgements of those acts or those people. If asked to do so, refuse.

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