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“Salami Publication” or “Segmented Publication” is a practice of splitting reporting of a research project into several publications. The extent of this practice is ranged from outright duplication to partial similarity in hypothesis, methodology, and results.1 This practice may be classified as self-plagiarism or redundant publication which depended on intention of authors.2 Theoretically, this practice can be considered as appropriate practice in 2 following situations:
1) The research project is very large such as umbrella research (small research projects linked together under a common organizational and thematic objectives) or large cohort study as Framingham Heart Study. The reason is simply the results of such studies are too large to put in one publication.
2) Longitudinal cohort studies that have several follow-up data to report over period of times.
Other reasons that are not fit to these situations usually be considered as unethical. These unethical manners are including intention to increase number of publications, misleading readers about number of studies in literature, and wasting of limited resources in peer-reviewing and publication.
There are quite several debate over this practice. From a survey of Medical Journal Editors, severity of salami publication is ranged from no action to rejection and inform to authors’ institutes.3
In practical recommendation, this practice should be avoided. In case that authors believe it is justified to segmented reporting of research findings, authors should clearly state in cover letter to editor and clearly specify in text of manuscript about segmented reporting. Authors need to aware that only referencing in citation list is not adequate.
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2. Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Cases: Salami publication; 2005. https://publicationethics.org/case/case-salami-slicing. Accessed on December 23, 2019.
3. Tolsgaard MG, Ellaway R, Woods N, Norman G. Salami-slicing and plagiarism: How should we respond? Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2019;24(1):3-14. doi:10.1007/s10459-019-09876-7.