Q: Would my case be considered one of salami slicing?

Detailed Question -

I wrote a comparative study including risk factors about a surgical form of a disease, but I could not fit it within the prescribed word limit (3,000 words). So, I unwillingly narrowed the focus and submitted it. However, the consideration from another point of view, which was unwillingly omitted this time, is possible. Therefore, I want to draft and submit another manuscript to another journal, but part of the results from here would be inevitably duplicated. Of course, I will refer to my first manuscript in the second manuscript. But would there be any potential problem in this case, such as salami slicing or something?

1 Answer to this question

From what you have described, and your description seems quite detailed, this would seem to be a case of salami slicing or self-plagiarism. However, it’s not clear if the first journal has already published your paper. If it has not, and depending on what stage of the review/publication process it is in, you could consider writing to the editor explaining your scenario. You could present two options: to work the omitted part back into your manuscript keeping the word limit in mind or submitting the next paper as an addendum to the previous paper. The editor would be able to guide you in this matter. You may refer to this query that describes a similar situation faced by another researcher: Two of my review papers have similar Methods and Discussion sections. Is this self-plagiarism or salami slicing?

Now, if neither of the above options is viable, you may consider withdrawing the first manuscript and submitting a composite manuscript (that includes both manuscript 1 and 2) to a new journal. You would of course need to keep in mind the word limit of that journal.

Speaking of which, while word limit is an important guideline to adhere to at the time of submission, it is meant more to guide than to dictate. It is okay if the word count is a bit over the limit (though not too much more). Editors are not likely to penalize you for a minor spillover, especially in the case of an online-only journal, which doesn’t have as much constraints of space as a print-only journal.

Hope that helps. All the best for whichever way you decide to go.

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