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How common is misconduct in research and scientific publication? No-one really knows, but recent incidents suggest it is more common than we would like to think. There are many reasons including pressure to undertake research and publish for career advancement; naivety and lack of knowledge of what is acceptable; and just plain greed for power or financial gain. Dealing with the whole problem is well beyond the remit of editors of scientific journals. But they can and should do something about breaches of publication ethics. This can be very difficult for individual editors, many of whom are doing the work over and above their full time jobs. The approach of different journals has been uneven and uncoordinated. Editors have often felt …