You’ve been dupe’d: Meet authors who like their work so much, they publish it twice

fertility and sterility

When our co-founders launched the site in 2010, they wondered whether there would be enough retractions to write about on a regular basis. Five+ years and three full-time staffers later, and we simply don’t have the time to cover everything that comes across our desk.

In 2012, we covered a group of duplication retractions in a single post, simply because duplications happen so frequently (sadly) and often don’t tell an interesting story. So in the interest of bookkeeping, we’re picking up the practice again.

Here are five unrelated retractions for your perusal: all addressing duplications, in which the same – or mostly the same – authors published the same – or mostly the same – information in two different – or sometimes the same – journals.

So, on the buffet table we offer the following entrees:

1. An Epidemiological Study of Risk Factors of Thyroid Nodule and Goiter in Chinese Women. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2015: 12:11608–11620. Authors:  Lei Zheng, Wenhua Yan, Yue Kong, Ping Liang, Yiming Mu.  Cited once (by its own retraction), according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.  Retracted in November 2015 because it was first published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine:

The paper was submitted to the other journal two months earlier than to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) and was published online nearly one month after the submission to IJERPH. Our policy is to consider only original, unpublished articles that are not under review by any other journal, and all authors explicitly agree to this as a condition for processing their submissions. The authors have stated that the duplicate submission was caused by a lack of internal communication, for which they deeply apologize.

2. The mTOR Inhibitor Sirolimus Suppresses Renal, Hepatic, and Cardiac Tissue Cellular Respiration. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology. 2015;8:2955-2962. Authors: Alia Albawardi, Saeeda Almarzooqi, Dhanya Saraswathiamma, Hidaya Mohammed Abdul-Kader, Abdul-Kader Souid, Ali S Alfazari.  No citations are listed for the paper published in either journal. Retracted 2015.

The same paper entitled “The mTOR inhibitor sirolimus suppresses renal, hepatic, and cardiac tissue cellular respiration” was released in International Journal of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology. 2015;7:54-60

3.  A Rare Cause for Primary Amenorrhoea.  Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences. 5.2 (May-August 2012): p218.  Authors: Kaderthambi Noorul Ameen and Rakesh Pinninti.  Cited one time.  Retracted October-December 2015.

It has been observed that the articles contains several overlapping text sections from a previous published article titled, “A rare cause for primary amenorrhea: Sporadic Perrault syndrome” published in pages 843-845, issue 5, vol.16 of Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. [2] The authors are the same for both the articles.

4.  Effect of Metformin Pretreatment on Pregnancy Outcome of in vitro matured Oocytes Retrieved from Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  Fertility and Sterility.  90(4): 1149-1154.  Zhaolian Wei, Yunxia Cao, Lin Cong, Ping Zhou, Zhiguo Zhang, Jung Li.   Cited 22 times.  Retracted October 2015.

The article is a duplicate of a paper that has already been published in the Chinese Journal of Practical Gynecology and Obstetrics. One of the conditions of submission of a paper for publication is that authors declare explicitly that the paper is not under consideration for publication elsewhere or previously published, even in a language other than English.

Not all duplications trace back to the actions of the authors — sometimes publishers are to blame.

5.  Effect of Melatonin Administration and Long Day-Length on Endocrine Cycles in the Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus.  Journal of Pineal Research. 2007. 8(3):193-204.  Authors:  P.A. Fowler, P. A. Racey.  Both articles show three citations.  Retracted October 2015.

… retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor in Chief, Russel Reiter, and John Wiley & Sons. This article is a duplicate of one published in the Journal of Pineal Research volume 8, issue 1. The article was duplicated due to an error at the publisher.

You may be wondering why duplications are so problematic, since the information in them is generally accurate – or else we would be writing about inaccuracy or (shudder) falsification.

Simply put, having two publications saying the same thing makes that “thing” sound so much more believable – which may not actually be the case.  Duplicate publications also pad the curriculum vitae of the authors, providing an impression of far more active scholarship on their part than called for.   Thus, duplications give false credibility to both the research hypotheses, and to the authors’ research experience.

Hat tip: Tansu Kucukoncu

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11 thoughts on “You’ve been dupe’d: Meet authors who like their work so much, they publish it twice”

    1. Thanks for your comment. Duplications are when authors copy their own work; plagiarism is when they copy someone else’s.

      1. Based on that definition – “…when the authors copy their own work…”, #5 is not an example of duplication. The journal’s notice is quite clear that this was a mistake by the publisher, and not an attempt by the authors to copy their own work, or pad their CVs. I think the COPE guidelines need to be much clearer on how to deal with publisher errors like this one.

  1. I really do not understand why instances in which data that are published covertly a second time (i.e., disseminated in a way that do not provide any indication to readers that such data have already been published) aren’t classified as data fabrication. The second set of data do not exist. If the duplication is not caught then the duplicated data would have the same effect on the scientific record as data that might have been fabricated.

    1. But the duplicate publication is not “fabricating data” (making up from whole cloth, without basis in fact). Instead duplicate publication is a re-publication of the same “data” (words, etc.) that presumably were based in fact — of course, it is inappropriate and a violation of copyright.


      1. Indeed, Alan, my comment is not quite applicable to the straight-forward type of duplicate publication described in this post in which the duplicate’s title, author order, text and data are identical to its earlier-published version. My concern is with other cases in which the duplicated data are presented as new. A recent example is this RW post,, though, admittedly, in this particular case the action is correctly identified as fraudulent. But, a recent rash of retractions with ‘inadvertent reuse’ of duplicated figures and/or images of, often, ‘control’ data make me wonder whether some people are just being blasé about such reuse. Either data are new/independent or they are not. If they are not new, they should be so labeled regardless of whether they are ‘just control data’. And, of course, a notation of their prior use, even if such use occurred within the same article, should also be provided. It’s all about transparency.

  2. What about simultaneous (or close by a few months) of the same (same bibliographic data) in two journals? In the case of jointly sponsored publication.

    1. This appears to vary across journals and is generally by agreement with the editors of the journals concerned. In the case of “Fertility and Sterility” (#4 in the list), their instructions for authors has this statement:

      “Duplicate publication. Duplicate publication can take several forms:

      * Duplicate Publication with other journals. On occasion ASRM journals may decide to publish an article simultaneously with another journal, e.g., with consensus statements from consensus conferences. Such intention on the part of the Editor-In-Chief should be discussed with the Publications Committee immediately after the two journals have had discussion so that Publications Committee members can assess the appropriateness of such joint publications and approve or disapprove. ”

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