Text Recycling in Chemistry Research: The Need for Clear and Consistent Guidelines

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2021-11-29

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Abstract

Like most scientists, chemists frequently have reason to reuse some materials from their own published articles in new ones, especially when producing a series of closely related papers. Text recycling, the reuse of material from one’s own works, has become a source of considerable confusion and frustration for researchers and editors alike. While text recycling does not pose the same level of ethical concern as matters such as data fabrication or plagiarism, it is much more common and complicated. Much of the confusion stems from a lack of clarity and consistency in publisher guidelines and publishing contracts. Matters are even more complicated when manuscripts are coauthored by researchers residing in different countries. This chapter demonstrates the nature of these problems through an analysis of a set of documents from a single publisher, the American Chemical Society (ACS). The ACS was chosen because it is a leading publisher of chemistry research and because its guidelines and publishing contracts address text recycling in unusual detail. The present analysis takes advantage of this detail to show both the importance of clear, thoughtfully designed text recycling policies and the problems that can arise when publishers fail to bring their various documents into close alignment.

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Scholars@Duke

Moskovitz

Cary Moskovitz

Professor of the Practice in the Thompson Writing Program

Cary Moskovitz is Director of Writing in the Disciplines in the Thompson Writing Program. He also directs the Duke Reader Project and the Text Recycling Research Project.


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