Duplicate publication

Any manuscript submitted to a Chemistry Central journal must be original. The manuscript, or substantial parts of it, must not be under consideration by any other journal.

In general, the manuscript should not have already been formally published in any journal or other citable form.

But, if made clear and justifiable upon submission, there are several exceptions to this rule. Details of the nature of overlapping or duplicate (redundant) publication, along with guidance in each of these cases follow below. These are also summarised in Table 1.

In any case where there is the potential for overlap or duplication we require that authors are transparent. Any potentially overlapping publications should be declared on submission and, where possible, uploaded as additional files with the manuscript. Any overlapping publications should be cited. The Editors of Chemistry Central's journals reserve the right to judge potentially overlapping or redundant publications on a case-by-case basis.

Any suspected cases of covert duplicate manuscript submission will be handled as per the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines. Chemistry Central endorses the policies of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors in relation to overlapping publications.

Complete manuscript

Pre-print servers and author/institutional repositories

Posting a manuscript on a pre-print server such as ArXiv or Nature Precedings is not considered to be duplicate publication. Chemistry Central will also consider peer reviewing manuscripts that have been posted on an author's personal or institutional website. Material that has formed part of an academic thesis and been placed in the public domain, as per the awarding institution's guidelines, will also be considered by Chemistry Central's journals.

Chemistry Central also encourages self-archiving by authors of manuscripts accepted for publication in its journals.

Incomplete manuscript


Manuscripts resulting from abstracts and posters presented at, or published as part of, academic meetings represent a formal advance to the citable scientific record and therefore should be considered for peer review. Published abstracts should be cited.

Open science

Articles may be submitted to Chemistry Central's journals when data have been previously discussed or posted in such venues as blogs, wikis, social networking websites or lab electronic online notebooks.

However, given the rapidly evolving nature of these resources, where discussion of data or manuscripts posted to these venues has subsequently been incorporated into the manuscript, the Chemistry Central journal Editors may make their own assessment as to whether there may be duplication in the submitted manuscript.

Abridged articles

Given that the space available for research articles published in Chemistry Central's journals is almost limitless, at the Editor(s)' discretion some journals will consider manuscripts that are substantially extended versions of articles that have previously been published in another peer-reviewed journal. The journal Trials, in particular, actively encourages this activity. In such cases the prior publication of an abridged version of the article would therefore not preclude publication, provided the new manuscript represents a substantially novel contribution to the scientific record. If applicable the authors should seek approval from the original publisher before submitting the extended version of the manuscript.

Data sets

Making scientific data sets publicly available before resulting manuscripts are submitted should not preclude consideration by a Chemistry Central journal. Given an increasing number of research funding-agencies' requirements for sharing the 'raw data' research outputs of their grant holders, data sharing is encouraged by Chemistry Central, provided appropriate safeguards are in place to protect personal or sensitive information.

Moreover, journals such as BMC Research Notes encourage submission of brief descriptions of publicly accessible biomedical data sets or databases - Data notes.

Study protocol

Publication of study protocols reduces the risk of non-publication of research findings and facilitates methodological discussion and is encouraged by a number of Chemistry Central journals. As such prior publication of a study protocol before submission of a manuscript reporting results should not be considered duplicate publication.

Non-research articles

Authors of non-research articles (usually commissioned reviews and commentaries) can include figures and tables that have been previously published in other journals provided they confirm on submission that permission has been obtained from the original publisher (if applicable) and cite the original article.

In order to avoid the potential for self-plagiarism, inadvertently or otherwise, authors agreeing to write commissioned articles should notify the Chemistry Central journal's editorial office of any recent publications or invitations to write on a similar topic.

Chemistry Central is a member of CrossCheck's plagiarism detection initiative.

Table 1

Generally permissible and non-permissible forms of duplicate/overlapping publication

Type of duplicate/overlapping publication Guidance on permissibility
Pre-print servers including authors' personal and institutional websites Yes
Abstracts/posters presented at scientific meetings Yes - published abstracts should be cited
Open science - data posted on wikis, blogs, electronic online notebooks, networking websites Yes
Open science - data posted and discussion on wikis, blogs, electronic online notebooks, networking websites incorporated into submitted manuscript. At the Editor(s)' discretion - contact the journal's editorial office for more information
Figures and tables in non-research articles. Yes, if, where applicable permission has been obtained from the original publisher, by the submitting author
Abridged articles. At the Editor(s)' discretion provided there is agreement with the original journal/publisher, and the original publication is cited
Data set in public or restricted access repositories. Yes - data sets should be cited in/hyperlinked from, the manuscript if possible.
Study protocol published. Yes - published protocols should be cited
Summary results in clinical trial registries. Yes - accession number should be included in the abstract
Co-publication in multiple journals. At the Editor(s)' discretion and with conditions, as per ICMJE guidelines

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