One point made in , a posting by Raphael on the lack of evidence for stripes on nanoparticles is the duplication of data between
Figure 2 in Chem Comm 2008, 196 and Figure 1 in Nat Mater. 2008 (7):588-95
What is most surprising is how little comment such duplication has raised.
It is, after all, one of the prime reasons for papers featuring on Retraction Watch. I don’t know what the policies of Nature Publishing Group or the RSC are, but at Elsevier, looking to preserve the reputation of the brand (and so sales), data duplication leads to retraction and a reasonably transparent editorial notice (rightly applauded on Retraction Watch).
So whether there are stripes or not, for these two papers there is a serious editorial decision to be made.
I have discussed the hinterland of this subject before, in a posting on Research Integrity. This last post was the result of my becoming aware of the massive plagiarism of data (re-use of same data in multiple papers, sometimes for different experiments) by Prof. Melendez, highlighted on the Abnormal Science blog.
Prof. Melendez, who was at NUS, then moved to Glasgow and then to the University of Liverpool – hence my interest. After an internal investigation at Liverpool (which I was not party to), he left the University.
So the bottom line is that data duplication is not acceptable. We should remember that we go to considerable lengths to educate our undergraduates on this point – they have to push every piece of work through Turnitin (or similar software), any figure that is taken from a source must be attributed and so on. Cheating in exams results in a zero. If we start to condone data re-use in our professional lives, then we are not only transgressing the rules of the publishers, but we jeopardise our entire teaching efforts. We would also become the laughing stock of the primary and secondary teaching establishments, which quite correctly, drum into their pupils from an early age that plagiarism is not done. The relevant government departments and parliament would also take a very dim view.