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Duplicate publication in the field of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery

Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
SAGE Publications
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1067/mhn.2002.122698
  • Medicine


Abstract Objective: This study establishes the approximate prevalence and patterns of duplicate publication in the medical literature in the specialty of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. Study Design and Setting: All of the authors and articles published in the American Medical Association Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery were identified and listed for an 8-year period. During this time, 1965 authors published 1082 articles in the Archives, and this same set of authors published a total of almost 50,000 articles during the 12-year period between January 1977 and December 1988. Of the same set of 1965 authors, we picked 1000 at random and found that they had published a total of 24,353 articles. The titles of these articles were then screened for similar titles, and when similarities were noted, the complete articles were obtained when possible and compared for the degree and pattern of duplicate publication. Results: Of the 1000 authors studied, we found that 228 authors had published 938 articles with similar titles. We were able to obtain the full copy of 886 (94%) of the 938 articles in question, which were written by 226 (99%) of the 228 authors. We found that in the case of 25 authors, there was no duplication despite the similar titles, but in the case of 201 (20% of the 1000) authors, 644 articles were published with some degree of duplication (1.8% duplication rate). Conclusions: The most common duplicate publication involves sequential publication of very similar data and conclusions. Duplicate publications failed to reference prior articles by the same author 32% of the time or referenced the prior articles only partially (11% of the time). Artificial segmentation of a single study into multiple arbitrary segments composed 20% of the duplicate publication. Duplicate publication across different specialties was noted to account for 4% of the instances. Most of the authors duplicated only once or twice, and most duplicators do reference their prior publications. Significance: Duplicate publication is an example of inappropriate academic conduct. Because it tarnishes the reputation of the duplicating author and represents an unfair practice in terms of displacing the work of others, efforts should continue to educate authors, particularly young academicians, to avoid the practice of duplicate publication. (Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2002;126:211-6.)

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