Ingelfinger rule

In scientific publishing, the 1969 Ingelfinger rule originally stipulated that The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) would not publish findings that had been published elsewhere, in other media or in other journals. The rule was subsequently adopted by several other scientific journals, and has shaped scientific publishing ever since.[1] Historically it has also helped to ensure that the journal's content is fresh and does not duplicate content previously reported elsewhere,[2] and seeks to protect the scientific embargo system.[3]

The Ingelfinger rule has been seen as having the aim of preventing authors from performing duplicate publications which would unduly inflate their publication record.[4] On the other hand, it has also been stated that the real reason for the Ingelfinger rule is to protect the journals' revenue stream, and with the increase in popularity of preprint servers such as arXiv, figshare, bioRxiv, and PeerJPrePrints many journals have loosened their requirements concerning the Ingelfinger rule.[5] In a defense of the policy, the journal said in an editorial that the practice discouraged scientists from talking to the media before their work was peer reviewed.[6]

The rule is named for Franz J. Ingelfinger, the NEJM editor-in-chief who enunciated it in 1969. An earlier version of the policy had been expressed in 1960 by Samuel Goudsmit, editor of the Physical Review Letters, but did not become as well known.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Marshall, E (1998). "Franz Ingelfinger's Legacy Shaped Biology Publishing". Science. 282 (5390): 861–3, &nbsp, 865–7. doi:10.1126/science.282.5390.861. PMID 9841429.
  2. ^ "Ingelfinger rule definition". 13 June 2000. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  3. ^ Schachtman, NA (20 June 2014). "Selective Leaking — Breaking Ingelfinger's Rule". Schachtman Law Blog. Retrieved 2015-05-23.
  4. ^ Lariviere, V; Gingras, Y (2009). "On the prevalence and scientific impact of duplicate publications in different scientific fields (1980-2007)". arXiv:0906.4019 [physics.soc-ph].
  5. ^ Borgman, CL (2007). Scholarship in the digital age: information, infrastructure, and the Internet. MIT Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-262-02619-2.
  6. ^ Angell, M; Kassirer, J (1991). "The Ingelfinger Rule Revisited". The New England Journal of Medicine. 325 (19): 1371–1373. doi:10.1056/NEJM199111073251910. PMID 1669838.
  7. ^ Lewenstein, BV (1988). "It's Not Really the Relman Rule". ScienceWriters. 36 (2): 17–18.

Further reading


bioRxiv (pronounced "bio-archive") is an open access preprint repository for the biological sciences co-founded by John Inglis and Richard Sever in November 2013. It is hosted by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). As preprints, papers hosted on bioRxiv are not peer-reviewed, but undergo basic screening and checked against plagiarism. Readers may offer comments on the preprint. It was inspired by and intends to complement the arXiv repository, which mostly focuses on physics and connected disciplines, launched in 1991 by Paul Ginsparg (who also serves on the bioRxiv advisory board). It received support from both the CSHL and the Lourie Foundation. Additional funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was confirmed in April 2017.Prior to the establishment of bioRxiv, biological scientists were divided on the issue of having a dedicated preprint repository. Many had concerns of having their research scooped by competitors and losing their claim to discovery. However, several geneticists had submitted papers to the "quantitative biology" section of the arXiv repository (launched in 2003) and no longer had those concerns, as they could point to preprints to support their claims of discovery.As a result of bioRxiv's popularity, several biology journals have updated their policies on preprints, clarifying they do not consider preprints to be a 'prior publication' for purpose of the Ingelfinger rule. Over 20,000 tweets were made about bioRxiv-hosted preprints in 2015. In July 2017, the number of monthly submissions exceeded 1,000. As of October 21, 2018, over 30,000 papers have been accepted in total.

Duplicate publication

Duplicate publication, multiple publication, or redundant publication refers to publishing the same intellectual material more than once, by the author or publisher. It does not refer to the unauthorized republication by someone else, which constitutes plagiarism, copyright violation, or both.

Multiple submission is not plagiarism, but it is today often viewed as academic misbehavior because it can skew meta-analyses and review articles and can distort citation indexes and citation impact by gaming the system to a degree. It was not always looked upon as harshly, as it began centuries ago and, besides the negative motive of vanity which has always been possible, it also had a legitimate motive in reaching readerships of various journals and books that were at real risk of not otherwise overlapping.

This was a print-only era before modern discoverability via the internet and digital search and before systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and citation indexes existed, and despite a few rudimentary journal clubs, it was likely for readers who subscribed to journals in one city, region, or specialty to have only sporadic contact with journals from other places or specialties. Thus redundant publication could serve a valid purpose analogous to the way that various newspapers in different cities and countries often report news items from elsewhere, ensuring that people in many places receive them despite that they do not read multiple periodicals from many other places. However, as discoverability increased in the 20th century and the aforementioned concerns arose, critical views of redundant publication, beyond merely reproaching vanity, took shape.

A formalization of the policy of disallowing duplicate publications was given by Franz J. Ingelfinger, the editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, in 1969. He coined the Ingelfinger rule term banning republications in the journal. Most journals follow this policy today. The BMJ, for example, requires copies of any previous work with more than 10% overlap of a submission to be submitted before approving a work for publication. However, there is at least one form of publishing the same article in multiple journals that is still widely accepted, which is that some medical societies that issue joint medical guidelines will copublish those guidelines in both of the societies' official journals; for example, joint guidelines by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology are usually published in both Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This type of dual publication is analogous to co-editions of a book.

With the advancement of the internet, there are now several tools available to aid in the detection of plagiarism and multiple publications within biomedical literature. One tool developed in 2006 by researchers in Harold Garner's laboratory at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas was Déjà Vu, an open-access database containing several thousand instances of duplicate publication.

Journals sometimes choose to republish seminal articles, whether from their own past volumes, from other journals, or both. Re-publication serves the goal of bringing important information to new readerships, which makes it analogous to some instances of duplicate publication on that score. However, it is different from duplicate publication in the respect that there is no element of merely gaming the system of citation impact. Republished articles are clearly labeled as such, allowing them to be recognized as such in citation analysis.

Franz J. Ingelfinger

Franz Joseph Ingelfinger (August 20, 1910 – March 27, 1980) was a German-American physician, researcher and journal editor. He served as Chief of Gastroenterology at Evans Memorial Department of Clinical Research, part of Boston University School of Medicine. He also served as Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) from 1967 to 1976. His work was influential in the field of science journalism.

Nature Precedings

Nature Precedings was an open access electronic preprint repository of scholarly work in the fields of biomedical sciences, chemistry, and earth sciences. It ceased accepting new submissions as of April 3, 2012.

Nature Precedings functioned as a permanent, citable archive for pre-publication research and preliminary findings. It was a place for researchers to share documents, including presentations, posters, white papers, technical papers, supplementary findings, and non-peer-reviewed manuscripts. It provided a rapid way to share preliminary findings, disseminate emerging results, solicit community feedback, and claim priority over discoveries. The content was curated and developed by the Nature Publishing Group.

News embargo

In journalism and public relations, a news embargo or press embargo is a request or requirement by a source that the information or news provided by that source not be published until a certain date or certain conditions have been met. They are often used by businesses making a product announcement, by medical journals, and by government officials announcing policy initiatives; the media is given advance knowledge of details being held secret so that reports can be prepared to coincide with the announcement date and yet still meet press time. In theory, press embargoes reduce inaccuracy in the reporting of breaking stories by reducing the incentive for journalists to cut corners by writing up information quickly in hopes of "scooping" the competition.

The understanding is that if the embargo is broken by reporting before then, the source will retaliate by restricting access to further information by that journalist or their publication, giving them a long-term disadvantage relative to more cooperative outlets. Embargoes are usually arranged in advance as "gentlemen's agreements." However, sometimes publicists will send embargoed press releases to newsrooms unsolicited in hopes that they will respect the embargo date without having first agreed to do so—the phrase "For Immediate Release" often found at the top of press releases indicates that the information in the release is not embargoed.

News organizations sometimes break embargoes and report information before the embargo expires, either accidentally (due to miscommunication in the newsroom) or intentionally (to get the jump on their competitors). Breaking an embargo is typically considered a serious breach of trust and can result in the source barring the offending news outlet from receiving advance information for a long period of time.

News embargoes are one of several ways a source can influence media presentation of the information they provide; others include providing information "on background" or "not for attribution," limiting or providing "access," or even direct government or market intervention against the reporters or media company. (See confidentiality terminology in journalism for a full discussion of these.) The manner in which journalists react to these and other attempts to influence coverage are a matter of journalistic ethics.

An example of an embargo being deliberately broken occurred on 19 July 2017. The television presenter and former tabloid editor Piers Morgan antagonised other journalists when he willingly breached a BBC news embargo. This was in connection with the publication of details of BBC presenters earning more than £150,000 annually. He announced the details via his Twitter account about an hour earlier than the report's indicated time of publication. He excused his action by falsely describing it as a 'scoop'.


In academic publishing, a preprint is a version of a scholarly or scientific paper that precedes formal peer review and publication in a peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journal. The preprint may be available, often as a non-typeset version available free, before and/or after a paper is published in a journal.

Science by press conference

Science by press conference (or science by press release) is the practice by which scientists put an unusual focus on publicizing results of research in the media. The term is usually used disparagingly. It is intended to associate the target with people promoting scientific "findings" of questionable scientific merit who turn to the media for attention when they are unlikely to win the approval of the professional scientific community.

Premature publicity violates a cultural value of most of the scientific community, which is that findings should be subjected to independent review with a "thorough examination by the scientific community" before they are widely publicized. The standard practice is to publish a paper in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. This idea has many merits, including that the scientific community has a responsibility to conduct itself in a deliberative, non-attention seeking way; and that its members should be oriented more towards the pursuit of insight than fame. Science by press conference in its most egregious forms can be undertaken on behalf of an individual researcher seeking fame, a corporation seeking to sway public opinion or investor perception, or a political or ideological movement.

Science communication

Science communication is the public communication of science-related topics to non-experts. This often involves professional scientists (called "outreach" or "popularization"), but has also evolved into a professional field in its own right. It includes science exhibitions, journalism, policy or media production. Science communication also includes communication between scientists (for instance through scientific journals), as well as between scientists and non-scientists (especially during public controversies over science and in citizen science initiatives).

Science communication may generate support for scientific research or study, or to inform decision making, including political and ethical thinking. There is increasing emphasis on explaining methods rather than simply findings of science. This may be especially critical in addressing scientific misinformation, which spreads easily because it is not subject to the constraints of scientific method.Science communicators can use entertainment and persuasion including humour, storytelling and metaphors. Scientists can be trained in some of the techniques used by actors to improve their communication.

Scientific misconduct

Scientific misconduct is the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior in the publication of professional scientific research. A Lancet review on Handling of Scientific Misconduct in Scandinavian countries provides the following sample definitions: (reproduced in The COPE report 1999.)

Danish definition: "Intention or gross negligence leading to fabrication of the scientific message or a false credit or emphasis given to a scientist"

Swedish definition: "Intention[al] distortion of the research process by fabrication of data, text, hypothesis, or methods from another researcher's manuscript form or publication; or distortion of the research process in other ways."The consequences of scientific misconduct can be damaging for perpetrators and journal audience and for any individual who exposes it. In addition there are public health implications attached to the promotion of medical or other interventions based on false or fabricated research findings.

Three percent of the 3,475 research institutions that report to the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Research Integrity, indicate some form of scientific misconduct. However the ORI will only investigate allegations of impropriety where research was funded by federal grants. They routinely monitor such research publication for red flags and their investigation is subject to a statute of limitations. Other private organizations like the Committee of Medical Journal Editors (COJE) can only police their own members.The validity of the methods and results of scientific papers are often scrutinized in journal clubs. In this venue, members can decide amongst themselves with the help of peers if a scientific paper's ethical standards are met.

The New England Journal of Medicine

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is a weekly medical journal published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. It is among the most prestigious peer-reviewed medical journals as well as the oldest continuously published one.

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