Table 1

List of variables and statements randomised within each vignette

TopicVignetteVariable for randomisationStatements varied
Prior publicationA (experience) researcher submitted a manuscript describing the primary results of a study to a medical journal that (journal policy). A peer reviewer comments that the same study results have already been published (how the study had previously been reported) and that this prior publication means the work is not new and should not be considered for publication by the journal.Experience
  • Senior experienced

  • Junior inexperienced

Journal policy
  • Prohibits the submission of work that has previously been published

  • Has no policy regarding the submission of work that has previously been published

Previous reporting of study
  • In an abstract at a professional meeting

  • As a paper in the proceedings from a conference

Authorship omissionA corresponding author, a (experience) member of staff, is ready to submit a manuscript. A research student helped with the design of the study, data collection and writing of the manuscript, but has since relocated and cannot be reached to provide final approval of the manuscript. After trying to contact the research student for (time), the corresponding author decides to remove the student’s name from the paper (level of recognition) and publishes the paper.Experience
  • Senior experienced

  • Junior inexperienced

  • 1 month

  • 6 months

Level of recognition
  • Recognises their contribution in the Acknowledgements section instead

  • Does not mention the student’s contributions in the Acknowledgements section

Self-plagiarismA (experience) author submitted a systematic review article to Journal X. A peer reviewer commented that parts of the paper reproduced work previously published by the same author in a textbook chapter. The reviewer claimed that about (quantity) of the text, mainly (material), appeared to be identical without any reference to the textbook chapter.Experience
  • Senior experienced

  • Junior inexperienced

Quantity of overlapping material
  • 10%

  • 35%

  • In the Introduction section and the Methods describing the literature search strategy

  • Describing the interpretation of the literature

Honorary authorshipThree (experience) authors from the same institution conducted a research study and wrote it up as a paper for publication. With agreement from the coauthors and after preparing the manuscript for submission, the corresponding author invited a fourth researcher to be the last-listed author. This author, a (seniority of fourth author), was familiar with the subject matter of the paper but had not been involved with the study. After agreeing to be an author, the fourth researcher gave (contribution).Experience
  • Senior experienced

  • Junior inexperienced

Seniority of fourth author
  • Professor and head of department

  • Junior inexperienced researcher who had not previously coauthored a research paper

  • General advice on how to improve the Discussion section and identified some typographical corrections on reading the final version of the manuscript before submission

  • General advice on how to improve the Discussion section but did not read the final version of the manuscript before submission

Conflict of interestA (experience) researcher submitted an unsolicited narrative review article to a medical journal. The article reviewed the treatment benefits of several major pharmaceutical products commonly used in the field. (Length of conflict) prior to this, the researcher (financial arrangement with company), but did not mention this on submission of the review.Experience
  • Senior experienced

  • Junior inexperienced

Length of conflict
  • 1 year

  • 3 years

Financial arrangement with company
  • Received a research grant from Company X in relation to a product discussed in the review article

  • Received speaking fees from Company X for a lecture at a conference that included a discussion of a product included in the review article

  • The name of the variable that was randomised is included in brackets in the second column and the actual statements randomised are in the fourth column.