ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

Zafer Koçak1
1Department of Radiation Oncology, Trakya University School of Medicine, Edirne, Turkey
DOI : 10.4274/balkanmedj.galenos.2022.12082022
Pages : 307-308

A few months ago, we sent an article back to the author for revision after peer review. However, not getting a response from the author made us suspicious. When we searched the article title and author name on the internet, we saw that the article was just published in another journal. When we examined the submission process in the journal in which the article was published, we saw that the author made multiple submissions. This was the third multiple-submission case we have seen in the last 2 years. It was not unexpected to see multiple submissions, but the editors’ take on this was interesting and encouraged me to write this editorial.

In Table 1, you can see the details of three multiple-submission cases that we have seen in the last 2 years. Since the authors did not respond to our letters, we contacted the editors of the journals in which the articles were published. Only one editor gave us feedback.

In scientific publishing, the Ingelfinger rule1 does not consider submissions that are currently being evaluated by another journal. Most of them require authors to indicate in their cover letter that their manuscript has not been previously published or submitted to another journal. Authors are warned by ICMJE as “Authors should not submit the same manuscript, in the same or different languages, simultaneously to more than one journal.” The rationale is “the potential for disagreement when two (or more) journals claim the right to publish a manuscript that has been submitted simultaneously to more than one journal, and the possibility that two or more journals will unknowingly and unnecessarily undertake the work of peer review, edit the same manuscript, and publish the same article”.2

Multiple submissions are not considered scientific misconduct, but it can be one of the most common unethical behaviors. It may also result in a double publication, which can be easily detected by plagiarism software.3 Table 2 shows the causes and consequences of multiple submissions. Editors and institutes should play an important role in preventing multiple submissions. Specifically, editors and journal policies should be a deterrent in this regard. However, it is important for institutes to train and raise awareness of scientists on this subject.

In recent years, preprint servers have increased. As defined by COPE, “the preprint is a scholarly manuscript posted by the author(s) in an openly accessible platform, usually before or in parallel with the peer review process”.4 Preprints allow authors to receive timely feedback and commentary on research before submitting it to a peer-reviewed journal, request the origin of an idea, and facilitate and accelerate research dissemination and access to research.5 Although these platforms are not a solution to the multiple-submission problem, they can contribute to the reduction of its frequency.

In conclusion, editors and publishers should be more responsible and discouraged about multiple submissions, which is one of the most abused issues in scientific publishing.


  1. Relman AS. The Ingelfinger Rule. N Engl J Med. 1981;305:824-826.
  2. International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE). Available at: Accessed August 9, 2022.
  3. Usta U, Koçak Z. Authors and editors of scholarly journals should be aware of plagiarism and its consequences. Balkan Med J. 2021;38:321-23.
  4. COPE Council COPE Discussion document: Preprints. 2018. Avaibale at: Accessed August 9, 2022.
  5. Koçak Z. Preprints and medical journals: Some things you should know as an author. Balkan Med J. 2021;38:203-204.

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