Q: Is publishing a case report similar to a previously published article considered duplicate publication?

Detailed Question -

I am planning to publish a series of 4 case reports about new surgical procedures of a heart disease based on a previously published case report where I was not a co-author. There are not only additional cases, but also the cases differ from each other in surgical procedure, and the outcomes. We have also included serious cases with a devised procedure and failure cases. We plan to differentiate the Discussion section by including new topics, such as treatment selections based on severity and check points derived from failure cases, which was not included in the original case report. However, there are some duplicate contents. The one case that is already published will be cited and referenced in the text. Is this regarded as a duplicate publication?

1 Answer to this question

Publishing research that includes original findings will not be considered as a duplicate publication. Although the disease in your case report is the same as or similar to the previously published case report, the inclusion of new surgical procedures, complications, and outcomes makes your study original.


Most journals recommend following the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) guidelines for ethics in publishing. According to ICMJE, duplicate publication is publication of a paper that overlaps substantially with one already published, without clear, visible reference to the previous publication.


Therefore, you should take care to not include any data from the previously published study. At places where you believe there will be an obvious overlap, you must provide citations to the published article.


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