Trusted. Timely. Today’s Medicine.
The Editorial World
at
The Lancet Medical Journal
Maja Zecevic, PhD, MPH
North American Senior Editor
The Lancet
New York, USA
[email protected]
Disclosure
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I am a full-time employee of Elsevier
The Beginning
Thomas Wakley (1795-1862)
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Surgeon
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Parliament Member
1823
The Beginning
Wakley’s visions:
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“Inform, reform and entertain.”
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“Create a reformist medical newspaper.”
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“Counter the forces that undermine the values of medicine, be they
political, social, or commercial.”
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“A lancet can be an arched window to let in the light or it can be a
sharp surgical instrument to cut out the dross and I intend to use it
in both senses.”
The Elsevier Connection
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Acquisition
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1991
Unique status
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A separate department within Elsevier
Editorial team
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Internal (all Elsevier employees)
Full editorial independence
Lancet logo
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Unique brand that supports editorial independence
Today
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World's leading weekly independent general medical journal
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IF is 38
Focuses on all aspects of human health
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Clinical
Public Heath
Health Policy
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Topic coverage is international & global
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10,000 unsolicited submissions a year
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Editorial offices in London, New York (1), and Beijing (1).
Today
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Readership:
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Subscribers
 1/3 UK
 1/3 USA
 1/3 Rest of world
7 million registered users
www.thelancet.com
The Lancet
Today
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Three specialty journals
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Monthly publications
Local language editions
Content
“Advances or illuminates medical science or practice,
or that educates or entertains our readers…”
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Aims to:
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Change clinical practice
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Create debate
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Educate
Content
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Topics:
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Global vs. local
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Clinical vs. epidemiological research
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Chronic diseases (Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology)
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Acute diseases (TB, HIV, Malaria)
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Public Health
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Health Policy
Acquiring Content
Change Practice
Educate
Debate
Selecting articles:
Commissioning:
• Seminars
• Reviews
Editorial Writing:
• Editorials
Routine submissions
Fast track submissions
Soliciting:
Clinical trials
Selecting:
• Case reports
• Clinical pictures
Commissioning:
• Comments
•World Report
• Perspectives
Selecting:
• Viewpoints/Essays
Content
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Journal Sections:
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Blue
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Red
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Green
Content
Blue (Journalistic) Section
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Editorials
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This Week in Medicine
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Book & film & exhibition reviews
Profiles
Obituaries
Art in Medicine
Comments
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Journalistic (not academic) important stories
Perspectives
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News
World Report
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The Lancet’s opinion and voice
Related to a recent publication, report or event
Correspondence
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Linked to a Lancet publication
Content
Red (Practice Changing) Section
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Original Research Articles
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4-5 per week (95% rejection rate!)
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Trials, observational, public-health and health-policy data
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Submission & review & publication
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Regular vs. Fast-track
Early online publication
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Strong or unexpected beneficial or adverse response,
or a novel mechanism of action
Content
Green (Essay) Section
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Viewpoint
Hypothesis
Case Report & Clinical Picture
Seminars
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Reviews
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Disease-oriented overviews for the generalist
A narrower remit for a more specialized audience
Series
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Region specific (Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan)
Topic specific (Maternal health, Child development, HIV)
The Editorial Tasks
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Internal Roles
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Peer-reviewing
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Diverse expertise within different therapeutic areas
Commissioning
Editorial writing
Leading specific projects/series/themes issues
External Activities
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Conferences attendance & representation
Lecturing
Having leading roles in international editorial committees
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Creation/amendment of different reporting guidelines
The Lancet
My Specific Role
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Only North American based editor:
US Relationship Management
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Academia, Government, Societies, NGO, and Pharma/Biotech Industries
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One-on-one meetings, speaker, lecturer, conference moderator, representation
Content Management
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Lead topic-specific US Theme issues (Sept 11)
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Writer of editorials that have a US focus
Peer-review (member of both the fast-track/normal track teams)
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Strategic Management
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Lead Lancet’s North American operations
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“The Editorial World”
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Advantages
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Intellectual curiosity, fulfillment and satisfaction
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Constant learning
Topic diversity
“On top” of medicine and “direct” impact in biomedical advancement
Personal contact and discussion with world’s medical leaders
Tasks change constantly and daily
Self-management of time and projects
“In office” and “Out of office” assignments
Disadvantages
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Stress (multitasking & deadlines & work hours)
Travel
Expected to know everything that has been published in The Lancet
Trusted. Timely. Today’s Medicine.
Plagiarism
Issues
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A form of publication (and scientific) misconduct
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Taking credit for others’ text and ideas
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Different origins
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Lack of proper attribution when citing source is missing when
summarizing and paraphrasing ideas
Lack of quotation when using exact words, phrases and sentences
Academic laziness?, human error?, culture?
Different types:
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Duplicate publication
Translation plagiarism
Unpublished plagiarism
Self-plagiarism
Self-Plagiarism
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Also known as self-recycling
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Defined as the use of large (more than 30 words?) chunks of
word-for-word text from own previously published material
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Different criteria used for non-research and research material:
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OK in Method section?
Not acceptable in Introduction and Discussion sections
When in Result section, it amounts to duplicate and overlapping publication
From Sabine Kleinert, The Lancet
A Problem Because...
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Introduces bias into medical evidence
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Violates copyrights laws
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Usually unknown to one or more authors
Gray areas
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No existing international set of rules
Variability in detection, management and correction
A matter of degree and judgement
Detection
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Elsevier and CrossCheck
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Uses it as a pilot
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Not all journals
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Currently paid centrally (not by individual journals)
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Cost = 65 cents per article
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Takes text-text and matches it with published pieces
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Does not check images, figures or tables
The Lancet
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CrossCheck in use since August of 2010:
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Who
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How
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Peer-review editor
Electronically and visually
What
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Screen only non-data papers that are to be externally peer-reviewed
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Most likely to have plagiarism or text-recycling
When
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Check at peer-review sending out stage
The Lancet, January, 2011
The Lancet
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Findings (4 cases detected of ~150 reviewed among ~1500 submissions):
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Commissioned seminar (self-plagiarized from a book chapter)
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Comment
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Review (spontaneously submitted and self-plagiarized)
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Review (spontaneously submitted and discovered accidentally)
Case
Unpublished Review
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History
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Editorial Action
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“It was true that I found this TLO paper. I cited some words of this paper. I did not realize that so
many words were identical”
“I am now making a revision to reduce the similarity between our and the TLO paper”.
“I was not aware of this at all. If I have been aware, I would demand that the copied text be omitted”
Editorial Decision
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TL sent a query to authors to address the Crosscheck output
Author Responses
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Spontaneously submitted review (from 2 non-US authors and 1 US author) was in-house rejected and
passed on to The Lancet Oncology (TLO)
TLO visually spotted a similarity with their published review on the same topic
Crosscheck revealed a 60% similarity index with more than 1000 words identical to the TLO paper
Paper was rejected and the appropriate department heads were informed.
Concluding Remarks from the First Author
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“I feel innocent regarding your decision. I am sure that many words in my manuscript were the same
as in the reference. It was unavoidable that some words were the same. Why would I trouble myself to
submit this paper to The Lancet if my intention was to plagiarize? After all, it is only a review paper.”
To Think and To Question...
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CrossCheck is a screening tool that combined database access and
software usage, which gives a number to be accessed by an individual
for a final conclusion.
No coherent statement out there yet on who best to read the software
output and at what stage of the publication process is best to be done.
“Piracy of ideas” is undetectable by CrossCheck.
Should journals require authors to attest that they have screened for
duplicate text before submission as a submission requirement?
Should journals screen all submitted material or only the one interested
in publishing?
What is the threshold to be used to start checking all of author’s past
publications? Fraud is often serial.
Partially taken from Hal Sox, AIM
External Resources
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Council of Science Editors
www.councilscienceeditors.org
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World Association of Medical Editors
www.wame.org
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International Committee of Medical Journal Editors
www.icmje.org
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Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
www.publicationethics.org
Plagiarism
In Summary
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“Plagiarism is preventable… by detecting it and not
publishing it.” (Hal Sox)
Authors should be encouraged to ask when in doubt.
A Final Thought…
“…Publication is not the end,
but the beginning…”
Questions?