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Publication dilemmas
  1. Geoffrey Hughes
  1. Correspondence to:
 Geoffrey Hughes
 Emergency Department, Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace, Adelaide 5000, Australia; cchdhb{at}

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Deceit, hoodwinking, bluffing, fraud—the latter defined as wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain—occur in all walks of life, and medical publishing is no exception to the rule. Whatever word you want to use, the problem appears in several guises, ranging from plagiarism, to data manipulation and fabrication, to bias in results analysis and interpretation when authors are subject to conflicts from competing interests, through to uncertainty about who made what contribution when multiple authors are cited in a paper.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) recently reported the findings of the Committee for Ethics in Science and Higher Education in Croatia, namely, that a Croatian academic obstetrician had committed plagiarism, a problem originally published in the same journal in 2006.1

In the last 2 years, Emergency Medicine Journal (EMJ) has come across three cases (that we know of) that caused us concern: one very serious and two much less so.

The first was a paper we received from China in 2005 on the topic …

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  • Competing interests: None declared.