I recently corresponded with an author on the topic of originality. Optical Engineering seeks to publish "original papers." Over 90% of the paper submitted to us was taken verbatim from a prior paper by the same author (a discovery by a referee that was not volunteered by the author). The author says he thought he had exceeded some threshold of originality. This raises, in a somewhat exaggerated manner, a more general question of what constitutes your editor's definition of an original paper. Unfortunately, I can offer no clear definition. Thus I must ramble through some special cases hoping that my readers can sense the pattern and spirit of my decisions on this matter.