Research results misappropriation

Authorship of research results is generally a verifiable question of fact. If there is any question as to whether research results reported in a submitted article are original to the purported author or authors, you should make inquiries of the authors and/or their institutions. You, as the editor, are well positioned to know what research is being carried out at any particular time, at any particular place, and by whom. This knowledge should assist you in directing inquiries to the appropriate individuals and institutions to verify whether a research claim is genuine. In addition, you may want to seek guidance from other specialists in the field of research.

Note that the procedures below are similar to those for authorship complaints, although in essence this type of complaint is a complaint of plagiarism.

The complainant must be made aware that the matter cannot be investigated unless the journal editor informs the corresponding (or complained-about) author (due process) and possibly the institution or company at which the research took place.

In the communication to the corresponding/complained-about author (see Form Letter A1), the editor should indicate that the matter may be referred to the institution or company where the research took place or any other relevant institution or agency (for example a funding agency) unless the author provides a reasonable explanation (accepted as reasonable by the editor).

What if the corresponding/complained-about author accepts the position of the complainant?


What if the corresponding/complained-about author rejects the position of the complainant?


What if the corresponding/complained-about author has not responded to the editor’s correspondence?


What if the institution or company responds and indicates either that they agree the research was not original to the purported authors/co-authors or that they will investigate and mediate the result?


What if the institution responds negatively or does not respond?


What if a funding agency is involved?


What if the authors, employing institutions and funding agencies fail to reach consensus or to act in a reasonable time?