How should journals deal with duplication — aka “self-plagiarism?”
Scientists have engaged in vigorous debates here on Retraction Watch about whether such duplication is a minor form of scientific misconduct, or just a conflict between the interests of publishers and those of researchers who have better things to do than figure out different ways to describe their materials and methods.
So we thought we’d highlight how an obstetrics and gynecology journal recently handled a six-year-old duplication. Here’s the “notice of redundant publication:”
The following article from BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology “Obesity among female adolescents in Vienna, Austria—the impact of childhood weight status and ethnicity” by S. Kirchengast and E. Schober published online on 31 August 2006 in Wiley Online Library (www.wileyonlinelibrary.com) and subsequently in volume 113, pages 1188–1194, October 2006 is subject to a notice of redundant publication. Since the publication of this article, it has been brought to the attention of the editors of BJOG that this article contains content of which much was included in a previously published article: Sylvia Kirchengast and Edith Schober (2006), “To be an immigrant: a risk factor for developing overweight and obesity during childhood and adolescence?” Journal of Biosocial Science, 38, 695–705, doi:10.1017/S0021932005027094. The original article was not referenced. The authors have agreed to the publication of this notice.
The BJOG paper has been cited nine times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, while the Journal of Biosocial Science article has been cited 17.
Would this have been a retraction in another journal? Probably, based on what we’ve seen. But how it’s labeled matters less to us than the fact that there’s a full accounting of what happened, which there is. We just wish it wasn’t behind a paywall.