Q: Is using similar methods in two different papers considered salami slicing?

Detailed Question -

I submitted a paper P1 to a journal J1 in which I proposed a method to solve a problem PR1 (at this moment it is Under Review). Now, I want to submit another paper P2 to another journal J2 in which i use a restricted version of this method to solve another problem PR2 where PR2 is a particular type of PR1. In short, the Experiments sections and objectives of the two papers are different but the method used in paper P2 is a restricted version of the method used in the paper P1.

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1 Answer to this question

It is acceptable to use the same or very similar methods in two different papers. If the focus of the two papers is sufficiently different, as you have stated, it will not be considered a case of salami slicing. The methods section can be similar, but you have to make sure that you have a new research question and that all the other sections of the paper - the literature review, discussion, analysis of the findings - are completely different.

However, you should keep a few things in mind:

  • Make sure that the studies are distinct enough to warrant two separate publications.
  • Cite the source (P1) properly in the methods section of the second paper (P2). Since P1 is currently under review, you will probably have to wait till it is published to be able to cite it. If you do not want to wait till the paper is published, you should wait at least till it is accepted and then cite it, mentioning that it has been accepted for publication in J1.
  • When submitting P2, explain to the editor in the cover letter that the there is some similarity with the content in the methods section of P1. Inform him that the content similairty is intentional as you have replicated a restricted version of the method previously used in P1.