Editors do not enjoy becoming the conscience of the authors who submit manuscripts to their journals. Nevertheless, as guardians of the readers' faith in the credibility of the articles that reach publication, they cannot avoid the responsibility of ensuring that the material published in the journal is original, honest, and not replicated elsewhere. For the most part, an editor relies on the integrity of the vast majority of authors and on the vigilance of reviewers, editorial board members, and readers. In the past 18 months, our readers have informed us of four instances of alleged duplicate publication. In each case, on careful review, we have agreed with our readers' interpretation and so informed the authors. In each instance, the authors have contended that the specific articles were not duplicative and have denied the intent to duplicate work in more than one journal.
We could simply have let the matter rest