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OA as provision against salami and double publishing

This mail of Hamaker adresses a consistent problem of scientific 
publishing: "double" (threefold, ...) publishing and "salami" 
publishing. Salami publishing is the practice of publishing 
almost the same content with minor changes / extensions in 
different journals / proceedings.

I remember from my own practice as scientist that one time I 
found four articles from the same author group, where the content 
of the articles (not the formulation of the text) was almost the 
same. In comparision to the oldest of these four articles the 
newest one revealed no new scientific evidence. As I ordered two 
of them by ILL, I was not very pleased to discover that this 
effort was in vain. To discover two very similar articles from 
the same author / author group was an often experience of mine.

Imagine you are looking forward to new evidence from the second 
article, but then you discover that it was too bad about the time 
it took to get and to read it. Well organized OA could be an 
efficient provision against salami publishing and double 
publishing. The earlier the preprint is available for open access 
the more efficient salami publishing and double publishing can be 
detected and prevented by peer reviewers.

The advantages are obvious:
-) peer reviewers save time, which they could invest into a more rigorous
review of unique articles
-) readers save time and money (in case of ILL or document ordering)
-) scientists save time to write articles of better quality
-) publishers save time and resources, as the number of articles to
publish will decrease or at least rise less than before OA
-) libraries may save shelf space in the case of printed volumes
-) libraries may save money if subscription fees will follow falling
publication numbers
-) database producers like CA, INSPEC, .. will save time for not to index
redundant articles
-) ...

These are arguments for Green Road OA and in that way GR-OA will 
never get superfluous. GR-OA has the potential to become an 
indispensable assistant for peer reviewers.

Joachim Meier

P.S.: As my English is far from beeing perfect, I hope that my 
text is not so faulty to be misunderstood. And to prevent some 
criticism: We (PTB, the National Metrology Institute of Germany) 
have signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access, we run an 
institutional bibliography 
(http://www.ptb.de/en/publikationen/_publica.html) and we are 
working for an IR with OAI-PMH interface. 

Dr.-Ing. Joachim E. Meier
Head of Library
Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) (http://www.ptb.de)
PF 3345                 Tel. +49-531-592-8131
38023 Braunschweig    Fax. +49-531-592-8137
GERMANY                 E-mail: Joachim.Meier@ptb.de

"Hamaker, Charles" <cahamake@uncc.edu> wrote:

Researchers Suggest Rising Number of "Duplicate" Articles in 
Medline Database


As if there isn't enough information to sift through on the web, 
the journal Nature this week reported that as many as 200,000 of 
the 17 million articles in the Medline database could be 
duplicates, "either plagiarized or republished by the same author 
in different journals."

Using text-matching software, researchers Mounir Errami and 
Harold 'Skip' Garner at the University of Texas Southwestern 
Medical Center searched for "highly-similar abstracts" in a 
sample of 62,000 randomly-selected abstracts published since 
1995, finding 421 possible duplicates. "In general, the 
duplication of scientific articles has largely been ignored by 
the gatekeepers of scientific information-the publishers and 
database curators," the authors note in their paper. "Very few 
journal editors attempt to systematically detect duplicates at 
the time of submission."

Medline indexes over 5000 journals published in the United States 
and more than 80 other countries worldwide. The authors suggest 
that "rising duplicate publication rates" is a global phenomenon 
possibly driven by a number of factors including "the explosion 
in the number of journals with online content, increasing 
opportunities for unethical copying, and a body of literature 
growing so fast that the risk of being detected seems to 
diminish." Paraphrasing Dickens, the authors say that "in the 
world of biomedical publications, 'it is the best of times, it is 
the worst of times.' Scientific productivity, as measured by 
scholarly publication rates, is at an all-time high. However, 
high-profile cases of scientific misconduct remind us that not 
all those publications are to be trusted."