Sunday, October 20, 2013

Should a book chapter be republished as a peer-reviewed article with no attribution?

UPDATE (10/23/2013): The authors have commented to offer their explanation for the omitted attribution.

An entire book chapter from a popular science trade book has been published as an "Original Research Article" in Frontiers in Psychiatry. The article appears as part of a Research Topic on Alternative Models of Addiction in Frontiers in Addictive Disorders and Behavioral Dyscontrol, a specialty section within Frontiers in Psychiatry.

I downloaded the provisional PDF and was initially tipped off by the curious citation style and copious use of footnotes, unlike the standard reference list seen in journal articles (e.g., APA format). I looked for a mention of the published book but could not find it anywhere. Perhaps this will be corrected in later editions of the article (if any).

The book is copyrighted (see below), but the nearly identical article is covered by a Creative Commons agreement, which states that the open-access text can be freely cited with attribution.

- click on images to enlarge -

Here's the Introduction, which is identical to Chapter 3 of the book (see above image).

But here's an abstract that might be unique to the Frontiers article (Satel & Lillienfeld, 2013):
The notion that addiction is a ''brain disease'' has become widespread and rarely challenged.The brain disease model implies erroneously that the brain is necessarily the most important and useful level of analysis for understanding and treating addiction. This paper will explain the limits of over-medicalizing -- while acknowledging a legitimate place for medication in the therapeutic repertoire -- and why a broader perspective on the problems of the addicted person is essential to understanding addiction and to providing optimal care. In short, the brain disease model obscures the dimension of choice in addiction, the capacity to respond to incentives, and also the essential fact people use drugs for reasons (as consistent with a self-medication hypothesis). The latter becomes obvious when patients become abstinent yet still struggle to assume rewarding lives in the realm of work and relationships. Thankfully, addicts can choose to recover and are not helpless victims of their own ''hijacked brains.''

Below is page 6 of the Provisional PDF.

Compare to pages 51 and 52 of the book.

Chapter 3, page 51

Chapter 3, page 52

This is such an egregious violation that I suspect it must be some sort of a mistake. I've had my differences of opinion with the book's authors,1 but I don't want to be seen as harboring animus to discredit them.2 Which is why I'm not repeatedly calling them out by name in the post (though it's obvious who they are). I do feel somewhat bad about the whole situation, and will post an addendum to clear up any misunderstandings, or any subterfuge by an unknown third party. I've contacted the journal editor, and will keep you posted.


1 I do agree with some parts of the book's agenda (and in fact the authors include Mind Hacks, Neuroskeptic, and The Neurocritic in their Acknowledgments -- which is good, since many of their examples are from our blogs). But I disagree in particular with their idea that shaming addicts is helpful (and also with their stance on property dualism). See these posts:

The Destructive Power of Shame


All Washed Up

Finding Middle Ground on Neuroscience, by Daniel Lende

Book Review: Brainwashed, by Neuroskeptic

2 Full disclosure: I also know that the first author is affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank ideologically opposed to my political beliefs.


Satel S, Lilienfeld SO (2013). Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience. Basic Books.

Satel S, Lilienfeld SO (2013). Addiction and the Brain-Disease Fallacy. Frontiers in Addictive Disorders and Behavioral Dyscontrol.  doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00141

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At October 21, 2013 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Self-plagiarism is the word for this. Nevertheless it seems that "recycling" of research articles as book chapters is pretty common in the academic landscape. The incentive is clear: Why reduce your output when reusing & recycling is better for your CV?

At October 22, 2013 1:42 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

I think "recycling" and self-plagiarism have become much more difficult these days, since it's so easy to check. In this case, Basic Books won't be happy their copyrighted material has been recycled in an open access journal. But I'm willing to set the record straight if there's another explanation...

At October 23, 2013 6:54 AM, Blogger Neuroskeptic said...

This is weird. I have nothing against the authors publishing the same thing in two contexts but the publishers might!

At October 23, 2013 8:07 AM, Anonymous Scott Lilienfeld said...

Hi All…this is the authors of the Frontiers article (Sally Satel and Scott Lilienfeld) responding to the Neurocritic blog post. We’re more than happy to clear up the confusion. Neurocritic is quite right that the Frontiers article should have included an explicit mention that it was drawn primarily (with a few additions) from the addiction chapter in our recent book Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience.

A tad bit of “history” regarding this article is in order. Several months ago, Frontiers approached Sally Satel (not the other way around), to solicit an article submission. She offered the text of a chapter on addiction from Brainwashed, to be published later in the Spring, and explicitly informed the Frontiers editor that the text would first be appearing our book. The Frontiers editor and the peer reviewers were fully aware of the paper’s status as a slightly modified chapter in the book.

When excerpts of our book have appeared in print, as in Bloomberg News ( and the most recent issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine (apparently not yet available online), they have been accompanied by an explicit acknowledgement that the article was adapted (or drawn directly) from our Brainwashed book. In the case of the Frontiers article, we erroneously assumed that such an acknowledgement was included, but it was not. We (and/or Frontiers) will be certain to correct this omission ASAP.

In the future, if similar (or other) questions arise regarding our Brainwashed book, please feel free to contact the authors directly at slsatel@gmail or

All the best…Sally Satel and Scott Lilienfeld.

At October 23, 2013 10:22 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Scott and Sally - Thanks so much for commenting. I think inclusion of a formal Acknowledgments section in the Frontiers submission (preceding the endnotes) would have allayed the confusion.

Best wishes,
The Neurocritic

At October 23, 2013 10:23 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Neuroskeptic - I'd think they'd need permission from the publisher to reprint a chapter from the book.

At October 23, 2013 10:30 AM, Anonymous Scott Lilienfeld said...

Yep, we hope to take care of this along the lines you've suggested (waiting to hear back from Frontiers in terms of how they wish to acknowledge the excerpt). Basic has granted us approval to reprint the chapter in slightly adapted form. All the best...Scott

At October 23, 2013 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was misleading that the authors didn't include the Acknowledgments when it was submitted, rather than "assuming" that an editor would take care of it. Although they may have had permission from Basic Books it would have been professional to credit them for initial publication of the work, and the fact this was presented as an "original research" article is simply wrong.

I'm glad the Neurocritic caught this and look forward to seeing a corrected manuscript online ASAP.

At October 24, 2013 2:15 AM, Blogger Neuroskeptic said...

Well, that clears that up.

At October 24, 2013 7:23 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Well, the PDF is offline now, if that's what you mean.


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