Signup date: 19 Feb 2021 at 2:55pm
Last login: 06 May 2021 at 9:44pm
Post count: 22
Just a follow-up question I had... In cases where the journal says an investigation has been carried out, would a report be available? Otherwise, they can just say anything and go with any old fob-you-off line.
I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this, it has been very depressing and was detracting from my time, so for a while I've put it at the back of my mind, for now.
Update: When the journal mentioned that they emailed me to say they will assign an "independent reviewer", I wrote back to say that I appreciated that, and had there have been a citation and attribution of the methodology to us, such as:
"In this work, we have applied the approach outlined by [BugsBunny et al] to quantify ... in ... --- partitioning X by Y Our work, however, focuses on the in-silico portion of a typical..."
or something to that effect, that would be properly attributing the very specific methodology to our work and I would not have written to them about the extensive similarities.
They have now written back saying that whilst they found "conceptual overlap", there "principles" (actually not just conceptual or principles, but a very specific methodology we devised) were applied in a different way, that they will not be retracting and that the case is closed.
It seems like they just used my honest comment about citation/acknowledgement to fob me off with a bogus response.
I can't accept this trickery from what is supposed to be a reputable journal. It brings the said journal into disrepute wrt to their handling of this. Suggestions are appreciated.
An update: The publisher and now editor in chief, have now requested an external to investigate independently. I'm glad of this and can now put this out of my mind. It has been quite stressful.
I initially wrote to the editor in chief. The associate editor responded to say they would investigate. Then a while later the chief wrote back with some bull excuse that the papers are in the same area so there will likely be similarities. I replied quoting the COPE guidelines and mentioned there was no attribution. Now, the publisher has said they were forwarded my complaint and will now investigate. Waiting to see if it will be properly conducted - hopefully it won't be a whitewash, because then I will have to consider further steps.
I suspect the editors are reluctant to investigate because i) any retraction or correction to the paper (to acknowledge our work) would involve a notice that could be seen to reflect badly on the journal/editor (i.e. how they let it through/did not spot), and ii) it requires a bit of work following the investigation guidelines/process.
I want the journal to investigate rather than going straight to the academic institution of the offending authors as I believe that is the proper process. If the journal editor isn't forthcoming, shall I contact the publisher (forwarding the findings)?
Any suggestions are appreciated.
Can you somehow convince him that publishing this work will be of some benefit to him?
I wonder if anyone knows if there is an actual term for what walter_opera and I have described here -- burying original ideas through excessive publications and subsuming ideas of other work without referencing?
When I said they probably don't care, I should've been more specific. The editor wrote back with some bull excuse saying they don't believe plagiarism has happened here -- I asked for an investigation. The articles are about the same technique, and hence there will be similarities. They ignored the pages and pages of overlapping statements with our paper B and my thesis as well as the fact the whole very specific method was almost identical as well as the hypothesis, statements and conclusions. The journal purports to follow the COPE guidance which is very specific on some of these issue. Having re-read their guidance and some cases I am sure I am right about this needing further investigation given the extensive similarities.
Maybe I could write to someone at the publisher of the journal, rather than the journal editor. I'll give them a bit more time for now, and maybe do as you say and send the report to the author's institution.
It's a really rotten situation.
Thanks for your support.
Thanks for your comments. Yeah, I guess I did. You're right. As you point out I can see now the emphasis more on the hypothesis and data. I knew it was created by the physics community to protect those areas and to prevent authors who are first to discover something being pipped to the post as a result of lengthy peer review. I guess I thought my article ideas and structure were quite unique, but then there are "clever" or devious people out there who will happily subsume it into another article with a different title, but containing most of the same points, albeit with a few extras like a glossary table and intro claiming it as another publication under their belt. Very similar to what Walter_Opera experienced.
I guess I could do the same, i.e. add in a glossary and other bits and pieces - but I'd be careful not to stoop to their level and copy the same additional bits. It's a good idea to make improvements, and I'll keep to the same title/specific area. The only thing now is I wrote it according to the very specific "basic rules article" format that is specific to that journal. So I'm a bit constrained unless I expand it out more. I won't trust that journal again, which is annoying as I have another full paper that would have been good to have published there as it's a leading one in my field :-(
The journal in which the highly similar paper C (to our paper B) was published in, and for which I have regularly acted as a peer-reviewer for has just written back saying "the articles are in the same area, so there will be similarities" and " as a result, I do not believe this constitute plagiarism".
However, they have ignored the nearly 8 pages of similarities I've listed. Their conclusion is clearly wrong and I believe anyone who sees the report of the similarities will agree. It just seems the journal has its own agenda.
I requested retraction, but they probably don't care as I'm seen as a lowly, small-fish post-doc.
I don't want to give up on this out of principle. What shall I do?
Thank you for replying and sharing your experiences.
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