Letters to the Editor: Letters & Announcements
Dr. Mazoit has raised excellent questions,1 and I am happy to address his concerns:
- Dr. Mazoit's description of the Langendorff preparation in multiple manuscripts is not plagiarism, because it is his description. If he has used exactly the same preparation in each study, then he should describe it using exactly the same words in each manuscript. If he changes the description in each manuscript, readers will wonder what change in methodology prompted the change in wording. Of course, if he is using someone else's description, that is also fine, but it must be properly referenced.
- If a Chinese scientist wishes to publish a paper in Chinese and subsequently in English, then the author must make an explicit disclosure of the prior publication and provide written permission from the copyright holder. This is explained in our Guide for Authors. If this is not done, then unfortunately the second publication represents a duplicate publication, and is also a copyright violation (at least under United States law).
- There are numerous examples of guidelines being published in multiple journals, including Anesthesia & Analgesia. This is not plagiarism or duplicate publication, as long as the guidelines state that they will appear in multiple publications.
The title of the editorial, “You Will Be Caught,”2 was intended to inspire some anxiety, because it is true. Everyone uses “cut and paste,” and as a result everyone is at risk for plagiarism. It has nothing to do with native language. Powerful tools to detect plagiarism have been created, and they are readily available. If a reader or academic competitor detects plagiarism in a published manuscript, it can be a nightmare for the authors. If I detect it on submission, then I can help authors fix the problem before it gets published. That is the goal.
Steven L. Shafer, MD
Editor-in-Chief, Anesthesia & Analgesia
Department of Anesthesiology
New York, New York
1. Mazoit JX Plagiarism and proper English writing: the dilemma. Anesth Analg 2011; 113: 664
2. Shafer S You will be caught. Anesth Analg 2011; 112: 491–3