Dear [CORRESPONDING AUTHOR]:
A serious issue has led us to suspend the review of your manuscript. A figure submitted with this manuscript appears to be identical to a figure already published by your laboratory in another journal [STATE JOURNAL CITATION]. The complex and unique features of the figure make it extremely unlikely that the data in the current manuscript and the previous publication come from different experiments.
Republishing material without proper attribution in an original research article is not an acceptable practice. In more serious departures from scientific standards we may contact institutional officers and granting agencies. At this point, it is unclear whether this duplication of data reaches that level of concern. Our journal does, however, require an explanation from you and your co-authors. If a satisfactory answer cannot be provided, we must withdraw the paper from consideration.
All authors are responsible for the originality of the data presented for publication, so I ask you to share this communication with your co-authors. I would appreciate a response by [DATE].
(Note: If the manuscript in which the duplication was identified has already been published, the above letter can be modified to state that if an explanation is not received, the editors may contact the authors’ institution for inquiry.)