Q: Is it ethical to submit two papers using similar methods, but different materials and application?

Detailed Question -

We have written two manuscripts where the "Abstract" and "Methodology" are similar, but the "Materials" and their "Application" are different. We have submitted the first of them one month ago and now it is at "Under Review." Is it ethical to submit the second manuscript to the same journal? Thank you for your guidance and consideration.

3 Answers to this question

It is not unethical to write two different papers using a similar methodology provided the two studies are completely different in content and focus. The manuscript of the second paper should be completely different; everything, including the literature review, results, discussion, and conclusion should be distinctly different from the previous paper.

Another possibility is that the second paper could be written as an extension to the first paper, that is, the two papers could be two parts of the same series. As a series, they could show that using the same method in two different ways can give different results. In both cases, you will have to clearly state in the methods section that you have used this method in an earlier paper and cite the source.

However, I don’t see how the abstracts of the two papers can be similar. Basically, the abstract is a short summary highlighting the key points of interest in a paper. If the materials, application, and results are different, the key points of interest would probably be different.

It is important to keep in mind that the two manuscripts should be completely different. If the two papers are not clearly very different in focus and presentation, they might be considered as duplicate submission or salami slicing. Therefore, you should be very careful about this. If you feel that the two papers are very similar or have a lot of overlapping content, then it would be better to not publish the second paper at all or publish it as a second part or a follow-up study. You can send a pre-submission inquiry to the editor, giving a short summary of the paper and asking if it can be published as a second part to the previous study. 

Answer: I have the similar question. Can I submit two papers with different results but same methodology. I can not frame them as two part paper, since they do not link with each other. Do I need to change language used for "Study area" and "Data used" sections in second paper? Can I provide similar Tables in both papers?
Answer: You can use the same methodology, provided the focus of the second study is completely different from the first. It is possible to write another paper based on secondary results that were not the focus of the first paper. The methodology of two papers can be similar, but make sure all the other sections are different; else, your paper might not pass the plagiarism check. Additionally, remember to cite the first paper in the methods section since you are using the same or a very similar method. You can provide tables that are similar in terms of style and format, but the content has to be different; else, it will just mean that you are reproducing the same figure from your previous paper. You can also reproduce a table or figure from the first paper if you wish to, but for that you will have to take the permission of the journal where the previous paper was published.