Q: If I develop and submit two papers for (from) a questionnaire survey, would it be considered salami slicing?

Detailed Question -

Specifically, I want to divide the papers into quantitative terms (statistical analysis) and qualitative analysis (free description). The theme of the papers is identical, but I believe the research questions are different, for example, 'What is the relation of A and B?' and 'How is X?'

1 Answer to this question

Often, authors write papers on different aspects of one large research study. This is because it might be difficult to simultaneously publish all the data from, for instance, large clinical trials or epidemiological studies. Segmenting the results from the same dataset into different manuscripts might be considered salami slicing, but the acceptability would vary on a case-to-case basis. If the “slices” of the study address different and distinct questions or have a distinct methodology or populations being studied, publishing separate papers is considered acceptable.

In your case, it appears that the dataset is the same, but you are addressing different questions: in one paper, you are dealing with quantitative aspects, and in the other, qualitative aspects. It is difficult to conclusively state if this would be acceptable or not without seeing the actual papers. Further, you haven’t mentioned whether you have already submitted one of the papers to a journal or whether you intend to submit the split papers together to the same journal. Accordingly, we would urge you to ensure the following:

  • Openly declare paper A is part of a larger study and related to the same data in paper B.
  • Specify the hypothesis being tested in each paper.
  • Cite the companion study in the text and/or include a copy of the related paper when submitting it to the journal editor.

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