Salami-slicing

Image courtesy of http://digitalemulsion.blogspot.comSalami-slicing is the practice of reporting one piece of research many times in different papers, each time with a slightly different spin, often to different journals. I came across this today (again), when the editor of another journal invited me to be a referee for a paper he had just received. I read the abstract and recognized the work immediately as something we had recently published in Construction Management and Economics. Worse, we already have a second paper under consideration, drawing on the same data and making broadly the same point. Now I see a third paper using the same dataset. At best, this is serial submission of essentially the same piece of work. The conclusions are similar, and the work lacks any real contribution to theory. (Perhaps we should not even have published the first paper. However, there is some merit in reporting the practical consequences of what a good dataset can tell us.) But subsequent publications should be based on a development of this, not merely a re-packaging of the same ideas. It is a real shame when this kind of thing happens, because it wastes so much time. Worse, sometimes salami-slicing may go undetected until after publication. But then, it is on the record and easy to spot. While the authors may have extended their CV in the short-term, they probably damage their own reputation and integrity in the longer term.

 

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About Will

Professor of Construction Management and Economics, University of Reading, UK. Editor-in-Chief, Construction Management and Economics (1992-2016). Programme Director, MSc Construction Management. School Director of Postgraduate Teaching Programmes.
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One Response to Salami-slicing

  1. Kaitlin says:

    Interesting: thanks for the new thing learned today!

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