Themes

Salami publishing

What is this about?

Salami publishing is spreading study results over more papers than needed. This article will briefly try to present what salami publishing is and what the criteria for it are.

Why is this important?

Salami publishing, or redundant publication, is a concept which is difficult to define. Which makes detecting and preventing it all the more difficult. Often, salami publishing is defined as publishing data from the same study in two or more articles (1). However, this definition is often described as imprecise because studies on big databases are negatively affected by it. Another, perhaps more precise definition is that two or more published papers that address the same question on a same dataset are considered salami publishing. Negative consequences of salami publishing are multiple, but they can be divided in 2 groups. The first is of scientometric nature – scientists with more papers are likely to get more citations and probably more funding. The second, more serious, consequence is that results will be overly represented in metanalyses, which represent the highest level of evidence for any question (2). Their results become skewed by unknowingly analyzing the same data twice.

For whom is this important?

PhD Students, Researchers, Journal publishers, Journal editors, Junior researchers, Senior researchers

What are the best practices?

The bluntest example of salami publishing is publishing the same paper twice, with slightly different conclusions (3). This was much more likely to occur in the age before online databases. At present, salami publications are much more subtle. For example, studies which investigate levels of biomarkers in different phases of a disease end up being followed up by a different paper investigating diagnostic characteristics of those very same markers on the same datasets.

References

1. Supak Smolcic V. Salami publication: definitions and examples. Biochem Medica. 2013;23(3):237-41.

2. Abraham P. Duplicate and salami publications. J Postgrad Med. 2000;46(2):67-9.

3. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. Recommendations. Overlapping Publications. Accessed 29 May 2019. Available at: http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/browse/publishing-and-editorial-issues/overlapping-publications.html

Benjamin Benzon contributed to this theme.

Latest contribution was May 29, 2019