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Handling plagiarism at the manuscript editor's desk

  • Freelance editor, translator, writer, instructor
  • Self-employed

Abstract and Figures

This essay describes the most common types of plagiarism in science publications and shows how manuscript editors can educate authors to steer clear of the practice of copy-and-paste writing.
Content may be subject to copyright.
European Science Editing 62 August 2010; 36(3)
In our experience of freelance copyediting for small
English-language science journals mainly based in Spain
and Italy, peer review processes allow for the acceptance
of manuscripts with a substantial amount of copy-paste
writing of various types. e amount of such writing
is oen sucient to open the authors to a charge of
plagiarism. e number of manuscripts in which this
problem appears is sucient to increase the burden of work
and stress for copy editors who worry about bringing such
papers into the literature. One of us reported consistently
nding textual plagiarism in around 30% of accepted
manuscripts at one well-indexed medical journal over a
two-year period,1 although the seriousness varied from
manuscript to manuscript. We nd that some copy-pasted
prose is confusing and choppy, requiring a great deal of
time to copyedit. e problem is sometimes more serious,
however. In a few cases in our experience, plagiarism has
involved as much as 90% of a manuscript or amounted
to duplicate publication. ese manuscripts reach copy
editors because the chain of evaluation by editors and
peer reviewers focuses on content and has not included
assessment for plagiarism.
While the publishing community’s awareness of
plagiarism has grown, its ability to address the problem
consistently has not. e reactions of editorial board
editors on one listserve varied from surprise to indignation
to awakening awareness,2 and one formal study of attitudes
conrmed editors’ deep concern.3 Editors may even
express surprise that textual plagiarism is improper. Open
discussion on forums (see the many threads published
by the World Association of Medical Editors [WAME])
suggests that there is some consensus, however, that a
policy of “name and shame” may be disproportionate4
unless handled educationally, in a way that is “titrated to
“t the crime”.5 e assumptions are that oenses may be
the result of poor or scant guidance and that authors can be
educated by editors.
e need for consistent procedures has been recognized
by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), which
provides owcharts showing how to handle suspected
plagiarism appropriately, based on the degree of seriousness.6
at editorial boards remain confused, however, seems
clear from the 2009 controversy surrounding an accepted
paper that was withdrawn from ahead-of-print posting aer
plagiarism was detected in the introduction section, but not
before the author had complied with a request to rewrite the
oending section.7 at the paper was withdrawn anyway
confused the author and suggested that the editorial board
did not really have clear ideas about how to proceed. e
Essays in Editing
most ambitious eort from publishers and editorial boards
to stem plagiarism has come from the CrossCheck project
(, which pools texts into
a database that allows subscribing journals’ sta to ag
possible plagiarism or duplicate publication before editors
and peer reviewers’ valuable time is wasted.
We think the CrossCheck approach, used before peer
review, is ideal – but small journals are oen not inside a
well-informed or well-supported publication structure.
We have worked for journals that receive and accept
manuscripts with “patch writing” (see the table for terms
used to talk about plagiarism) and have therefore become
concerned about developing a way to proceed both
ethically and helpfully in our work. e COPE guidelines
start at a point when plagiarism has already been detected
by a reviewer or, aer publication, by a reader,6 yet we
have found that peer reviewers do not notice signs of
this practice in the text. Furthermore, in authors’ editing,
before submission of a paper to a journal, we have also
had to counsel young scientists who nd themselves in
settings where copy-paste writing is encouraged by peers
and mentors. In both these contexts, we have had to nd
ways of speaking to authors strictly without destroying
their ability to proceed with a manuscript. Finally, within
the activities of the association Mediterranean Editors and
Translators, where many manuscript editors and translators
share experiences, colleagues who have found plagiarism in
the course of researching terminology sometimes ask for
As a result, with support from the editorial boards and
research directors who we have edited for, we have worked
out a consistent approach, one that we have seen others
have also been able to apply. Without access to sophisticated
tools, we have been able to detect plagiarism before too
much editing time has been wasted. For lesser-degree patch
writing, we have consistently been able to obtain authors
rewrites of choppy, copy-pasted text before we complete
the nal edit. Finally, in cases of extensive plagiarism
or duplicate publication, we have been able to argue for
rescinding acceptance in a timely way before the journal
was embarrassed. In this essay we will describe the main
features of that approach for the benet of journals that do
not have plagiarism detection services such as CrossCheck.
Six-step guide for manuscript editors
Our stepwise approach starts with a preliminary look at
the introduction and discussion sections of the manuscript
for red ags of plagiarism. ese include an uneven style
or quality of writing, a mixture of British and American
Handling plagiarism at the manuscript editor’s desk
Mary Ellen Kerans
Freelance editor and translator, Barcelona, Spain;
Marije de Jager
Freelance editor and translator, Rovereto, Italy;
August 2010; 36(3) European Science Editing
spelling, inconsistent terminology or abbreviations,
repetitiveness or excessive detail, and a lack of cohesion
between sentences or paragraphs.
Step 1 then determines the amount of copied material.
is can be done by pasting candidate phrases into Google
or Google Scholar and seeing if they come up positive
(in bold type; gure 1). Googling for plagiarism can be
time-consuming, but not more so than having to deal
with plagiarism late in the publishing cycle. We therefore
recommend googling as a way for copy editors to get started
Terms used when discussing plagiarism
Terms Our denition Comments
writing, or
e reuse of text published by others in
one’s own manuscript – usually for the
sake of using “good, already-published
English” or of producing a manuscript
faster. e reused text may be substantial
strings of words that may be sentence
fragments, sentences, several sentences
or whole paragraphs. Authors might do
this with or without attribution.
We pay particular attention to the introduction and
discussion sections of a manuscript. In contrast, as the
phrasing in methods can be quite monotonous in some elds
with established procedures, we need not be concerned with
boilerplate language in this section. We also do not worry
about very short copied phrases, provided they t well with
the new author’s message and prose.
A form of copy-paste writing in which
the copied texts are consistently small (a
clause or a sentence or two) but frequent
in one or more sections.
If accomplished well (good interweaving of source-text
phrases and the author’s own voice, plus impeccable citing),
this type of writing may even be considered good language-
learner behavior. Certainly it is common, even for native
speakers, to write this way in the sciences.
A problem arises for the author when his or her article seems
stale because the phrasing seems too familiar. A problem
arises for both the author and the copy editor when such
writing is unskilled and the connections between ideas are
unclear (see patch writing).
Patch writing,
or mosaic
e end result of copy-paste writing.
ese terms convey the choppiness a
text can have when copy-paste writing
strategies are used.
ese texts can be quite hard to copyedit if the sense is dicult
to follow. Alternatively, they can also seem deceptively easy to
copyedit if there are hey blocks that ow well, even though
serious writing problems, such as the lack of a hypothesis
before an objective, might be masked in such uent-seeming
Plagiarism Copying of substantial amounts of text
with an intent to deceive the reader into
assuming that the writing and ideas
belong to the author.
Many only use this word if large blocks of text or ideas have
been appropriated and attribution has been omitted. Strict
denitions, however, consider all the preceding types to be
Reuse of substantial portions of text from
one’s own previous work.
Consensus is lacking on whether or not this is an oxymoron;
some insist that plagiarism must involve the appropriation
of someone else’s work. is practice also overlaps that of
redundant publication.
Duplicate or
Reuse of one’s own previous work that
goes beyond text (ie, the use of wholly or
substantially overlapping data).
Some claim that such redundant publication is of less concern
when the article type is an editorial, review, or other non-
research essay.8,9
e use, aer translation, of strings
of sentences, paragraphs, or even
larger blocks of prose, with or without
attribution, keeping the informational
structure of the original intact.
Found in editorials, review articles, and discussion sections of
research articles. Since all words have been changed through
translation, some are surprised this is plagiarism. However, we
have found paragraphs or chapters that are uncharacteristically
easy to back-translate to English because the progression of
ideas in the translated text is identical to that of an existing
text in English.* We think this should be classied as
plagiarism even if a citation is axed.
*An error in the published version of the table (which had "in another language" instead of "in English") has been corrected here.
An erratum notice appeared in the subsequent issue of European Science Editing (November 2010; 36[4]:101).
European Science Editing 64 August 2010; 36(3)
immediately. We are currently testing inexpensive detection
tools online, given that CrossCheck is unavailable to
freelancers working for non-subscribing journals. One
such tool, CheckForPlagiarism (www.checkforplagiarism.
net), seems to be working well by screening manuscripts
as a whole and giving a similarity report. Although this
service is intended for use by universities who must check
many texts, the developers were open to reducing access
fees for a small user who needs to check only a few per
Step 2 documents the plagiarism by identifying the
original sources. Plagiarism detection soware will do
this automatically; when using Google, the editor must
manually highlight the copied passages and indicate where
they were found (gure 2). It is important to say that Steps
1 and 2 can be accomplished even if the freelance editor
does not have access to subscription-protected full texts;
the Google output (gure 1) is sucient.
Step 3 assesses the level of seriousness. A review paper
that is 90% copied from a number of other publications
must obviously be returned to the editor in chief with a
recommendation for de-acceptance, given that simple
rejection is no longer an option since the authors have
already been sent an acceptance letter. When we nd lesser
plagiarism, such as the author’s own writing interspersed
with shorter copied fragments, we proceed to the next step,
which will involve heavy copyediting and tactful education
of the author.
Step 4 consists of rewriting one or more patch-written
fragments. In doing so, our intention is not paraphrasing
for its own sake, but rewriting to make the text ow better
and clarify the author’s message, placed in the context of
the literature. If there turn out to be many such fragments,
this revision will provide examples for the author to use in
the next step. If there are only a few in the manuscript, the
rewriting can be considered as part of heavy copyediting,
although we do note for the author the reasons for
rewording (better clarity and avoidance of plagiarism).
Step 5 elicits revision by the authors themselves. We
send the authors an email explaining that plagiarism has
been detected in their manuscript (and documented as
recommended in Step 2) and that this is not acceptable
to the journal. We express the problem rmly, but in
neutral, straightforward terms without being moralistic
or accusatory (see de Jager and Kerans10 for an example
email). e authors are asked to rewrite the highlighted
passages in their own words, taking the rewrites by the
copy editor as a guide. ey are reminded to add citations
to the original sources if these are missing. If English is not
their native language (E2 authors), we assure them that we
will review their revised text for language mistakes before
publication. It may be helpful to suggest they turn to a
local language professional (a translator or author’s editor)
if revising is particularly dicult for them.
Step 6 comprises the checking and editing of the
revised manuscript. Papers that have been extensively
rewritten may have changed so much that they will have
to be re-examined by the editor in chief. In a few cases in
our experience, such papers had to undergo a second peer
review. In any case, publication may be delayed at least one
e main goals of this approach are to assist with
gatekeeping (prevent papers with more or less serious
degrees of plagiarism from appearing) and with educating
(show authors how to interweave information deriving
from dierent sources, with due acknowledgement). Our
experience has led us to recommend that editors in chief
mention in the instructions for authors that plagiarism
will be checked for. We also stress the importance of
joining a plagiarism detection service like CrossCheck,
so that plagiarism can be detected before peer review and
copyediting. If for some reason it is preferable that copy
editors do the screening, the extra work involved should be
duly remunerated.
In assessing seriousness, it may not always be clear where to
draw the line between unacceptable and acceptable copy-
Figure 1: Google results that detect plagiarism in Step 1.10
Note that full access to the article is not needed
Figure 2: In Steps 2 and 4, we document the plagiarism
detected and exemplify the type of revision we are requiring.
Thus we take an educational approach and recognize
that some authors may need to learn how to handle
August 2010; 36(3) European Science Editing
paste writing, but good judgement by someone familiar with
the literature is essential. An approach based on automatically
considering strings of a certain number of words to denote
plagiarism will be misleading in some sciences in which
sentences oen carry terms that are several words long. In
particular, the uncritical use of detection soware should
be avoided. Whoever screens for plagiarism should guard
against indiscriminate rejection of a paper on the basis of a
multi-sourced similarity report. Interweaving of information
from other sources in a way a reader can follow easily, and
proper citing, make all the dierence. We have emphasized
the importance of checking the introduction and discussion
sections, where the reader wants to see the author’s thoughts
well dierentiated from those of others. In contrast, the use
of set phrases or boilerplate language in the methods section
may be justiable.11 Similarly, in case reports, we have seen
an author appropriate language that has been craed by
others and would not necessarily rule that out, especially if
it helps an E2 author write a clear paper in English and if the
discussion message stays rmly focused on the author’s own
Editors at dierent points in the publication process
handle the issue in dierent ways. Pre-submission manuscript
editors who help authors prepare texts in a setting where a
microculture of copy-paste writing may have emerged can
protect an author from the possibility of embarrassment (or
worse) by pointing out that journal editors ask for original
contributions and are becoming alert to ways of detecting
plagiarism. Mention can be made of published WAME
threads and COPE cases, showing that the issue is being
taken ever more seriously. In-house copy editors may have
access to tools such as CrossCheck, which makes screening
for plagiarism easier, although – as mentioned above – each
case will still have to be assessed individually. In-house copy
editors may collaborate closely with journal editors and be
more likely to have a say in the acceptance process. Freelance
copy editors typically have varying degrees of autonomy and
authority. Some will be instructed to ag copied text but let
the chief editor decide how to deal with it. Others will be
given almost complete freedom to approach authors in cases
of microplagiarism along the lines described above. In all
of these cases, it is our responsibility to make sure no false
accusations are made.
Most, but not all, such manuscripts seem to come from
E2 authors and it is oen speculated that cultural dierences
inuence perceptions of good practice. e Chinese, for
example, have been said to engage in adulatory plagiarism.
However, Chinese graduate students’ patch writing has
also been interpreted as a passing developmental strategy,12
part of strategic draing as they, like other young authors,
strive for a voice and learn to distinguish their ideas from
those of others. Another explanation given for the apparent
greater frequency of patch writing by E2 authors is that they
are practicing acceptable “appropriation of proper syntax”
rather than of ideas.13 Although this argument is persuasive,
we warn authors in pre-submission editing that choppy
copy-paste writing or overuse of boilerplate language may
make their research seem less novel than it is. In any case,
these arguments do not persuade us to change our approach
when we nd patch writing in a text for publication, partly
because we are facilitating authors’ entry into a culture of
international science, partly because we have seen patch
writing even by native speakers of English, and partly because
universities in Anglophone countries are also concerned
about the problem, producing a body of literature on the
topic (see McCabe,14 McCabe and Treviño,15 and Roig,16 for
example). Our experience coincides with the ndings of
McCabe and Treviño, who have shown that ethical writing
is more or less likely to occur according to a research or
educational setting’s “microclimate” of ethics.15 In authors’
editing, where it is possible to see authoring practices close
up, one of us (MEK) has observed that even within a single
hospital department some research groups engage in more
strictly ethical writing practices than others. In science, the
spectrum of copy-paste writing – from relatively minor
choppy patch writing all the way to deliberate, extensive
plagiarism or duplicate publication – does not seem to be
mainly a matter of national or linguistic cultural preference
but rather circles of inuence or individual aberration.
Textual plagiarism is misconduct that is relatively easy to
detect, much easier than datafabrication or falsication.We
have described a realistic role for manuscript editors,
although we stress that screening for plagiarism and taking
the necessary action aer having detected it takes up
precious editing time. We urge editorial boards to include
specic statements about screening in the instructions
to authors in the interest of discouraging copiers. Patch
writing or more extensive copying may become a thing
of the past within journals discourse communities if
consistent messages are given patiently. Failing to face the
issue directly seems likely to encourage the belief that the
practice is a normal, widely accepted one.
e poster presented at the 10th EASE Conference, Pisa, Italy,
September 2009, is available on the EASE website (
1. Kerans ME. Plagiarism. In: WAME Listserve discussion, 15
May–6 July 2008.
discussions/plagiarism [accessed 14 March 2010].
2. Plagiarism. WAME Listserve Discussion, 15 May–6 July 2008.
[accessed 14 March 2010].
3. Long TC, Errami M, George AC, Sun Z, Garner HR.
Responding to possible plagiarism. Science 2009;323:1293–4.
4. Wager L. How to handle plagiarism without destroying the
author. In: WAME Listserve discussion, 14–18 February 2005.
handle-plagiarism-without-destroying-the-author [accessed
14 March 2010].
5. Callaham M. How to handle plagiarism without destroying
the author. In: WAME Listserve discussion, 14–18 February
[accessed 14 March 2010].
6. Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). What to do if you
suspect plagiarism.les/u2/02A_
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Plagiarism_Submitted.pdf [accessed 8 March 2010].
7. Abbott A. Editor retracts sperm-creation paper. Nature 30
July 2009;
news.2009.753.html [accessed 8 March 2010].
8 Self-plagiarism: unintentional, harmless or fraud? (Editorial).
Lancet 2009;374:664.
9. Chalmers I. Intentional self-plagiarism (Letter). Lancet
10. De Jager M, Kerans ME. A manuscript editor’s guide
to handling plagiarism. Poster presented at the 10th
EASE Conference, Pisa, 16-19 September 2009.
Available from:
11. Roig M. Ethical writing should be taught. BMJ
12. Gu Q, Brooks J. Beyond the accusation of plagiarism. System
13. Renetti R. How to handle plagiarism without destroying the
author. In: WAME Listserve discussion, 14–18 February 2005.
handle-plagiarism-without-destroying-the-author [accessed 14
March 2010].
14. McCabe D. Cheating: why students do it and how we can help
them stop. American Educator 2001;25(4):38–43
15. McCabe D, Treviño LK. Honesty and honor codes. Academe
16. Roig M. Some reections on plagiarism: the problem of
paraphrasing in the sciences. European Science Editing
... Although it is widely accepted that plagiarism is particularly high in non-Anglophone and developing countries (Bretag 2013;Gasparyan et al. 2017;Ibegbulam and Eze 2015;Okonta and Rossouw 2014;Pupovac et al. 2010), some authors argue that the dichotomy between English-speaking versus non-Englishspeaking countries may not be so clear. They add to this dialogue by suggesting that developing countries and non-Anglophonic societies are not solely responsible for plagiarism, given that authors from developed economies, Anglophone societies, and countries considered scientific powers have also been accused (Cameron et al. 2012;Kerans and de Jager 2010;Roig 2017;Shashok 2013). Moreover, it may be prejudicial to apply Western standards to Eastern communities. ...
... Moreover, it may be prejudicial to apply Western standards to Eastern communities. Therefore, it might be sensible to conclude that deliberate and extensive forms of misconduct (such as plagiarism or duplicate publication) or even minor forms of it (such as patch-writing) "do not seem to be mainly a matter of national or linguistic cultural preference but rather circles of influence or individual aberration" (Kerans and de Jager 2010). ...
... To what extent can textual reuse be considered appropriate, and what levels might likely be called 'plagiarism'? In this context, some studies suggest that there should be flexibility in terms of textual reuse, a well-informed dialogue regarding the global implication of plagiarism ethics, and a more active role for editors as mentors and educators (Cameron et al. 2012;Kerans and de Jager 2010;Roig 2017;Shashok 2013). The six-step approach suggested in a previous study may be helpful to manuscript editors unable to afford commercial plagiarism detection tools but who encounter plagiarism in the course of their work (Kerans and de Jager 2010). ...
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To explore the knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding plagiarism in a large culturally diverse sample of researchers who participated in the AuthorAID MOOC on Research Writing. An online survey was designed and delivered through Google Forms to the participants in the AuthorAID MOOC on Research Writing during April to June 2017. A total of 765 participants completed the survey (response rate 47.8%), and 746 responses were included in the analysis. Almost all participants (97.6%) reported knowledge of the term “plagiarism”, and 89.1% of them understand the meaning of the term before joining the course. Most participants reported that their university does not provide access to plagiarism detection software (82.0%), and 35% participants admitted they had been involved in plagiarism during their education. Overall attitudes toward plagiarism (65.3 ± 10.93) indicated low acceptance of plagiarism. Moreover, low scores were reported for approval attitude (25.22 ± 5.63), disapproval attitude (11.78 ± 3.64), and knowledge of subjective norms (20.63 ± 5.22). The most common reason for plagiarizing was lack of time (16.1%), and the most common consequence was the perception that “those who plagiarize are not respected or seen positively” (71.4%). Developing country researchers appear to be familiar with the concept of plagiarism, but knowledge among the participants surveyed here was incomplete. Knowledge about plagiarism and awareness of its harmfulness must be improved, because there is an obvious relationship between attitudes toward plagiarism and knowledge, reasons and consequences. The use of plagiarism-detection software can raise awareness about plagiarism.
... 13,7 It might also reflect unawareness of how committed and conscientious professional editors can help them achieve their publication goals, as authors are unlikely to have read descriptions of the work of such freelance science editors written by applied linguistics scholars 22 or by freelance editors themselves. 17,[23][24][25] Another reason for an author not acknowledging language assistance might be reluctance to admit to needing such help. Evidence supporting this (two comments and a personal communication from a retired Dutch humanities professor) is given in Supplement 2. ...
Objective: To investigate the practice among freelance language professionals relating to seeking acknowledgement for editing texts by EAL (English as an additional language) scholars and scientists. Methods: Freelance editors were recruited from three European organisations for freelance editors and translators. They completed an 8-question online survey (country of residence, broad area of specialisation and acknowledgement for their work). The data analyses are descriptive. Results: There were 131 respondents, residing in 16 countries and representing four broad disciplinary areas (biomedicine (36;27.5%), humanities (27;20.6%), science (31;23.7%) and social science (37;28.2%). Netherlands-based editors were the largest group (60;45.8%). Only 19 (14.5%) of all respondents always actively encouraged authors to acknowledge language assistance: The two main reasons for always or sometimes seeking acknowledgement were ethics and self-publicity, each mentioned by 33(60%) of the 55 ‘always’+ ‘sometimes’ respondents) Among the remaining 76 respondents, the two most frequently mentioned reasons for not seeking acknowledgement were never having thought about being acknowledged (24;26.7%) and the expectation that authors would introduce errors in the text before publication (21;23.3%). Conclusions: Seeking acknowledgement is not a priority among these editors. They fear their work and reputation will be compromised by authors introducing post-editing errors and infelicities unintentionally and without consultation. Keywords: Freelance editors, English as an additional language authors, science editing, academic editing, academic ethics
... This omission from the CC is surprising, especially since plagiarism featured in two of the 23 highly ranked statements in the Delphi process 2 . While working with authors on manuscripts, authors' editors sometimes encounter re-used text and inadequate citation, and use these opportunities to explain why these practices may be inappropriate and how to avoid them 25 These are just two of the areas where authors' editors can provide valuable input for future efforts to define and refine CC for biomedical journal editors. Alongside earlier efforts to support professional and ethical practices [26][27][28] (see also: ...
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A team of stakeholders in biomedical publishing recently proposed a set of core competencies for journal editors, as a resource that can inform training programs for editors and ultimately improve the quality of the biomedical research literature. This initiative, still in its early stages, would benefit from additional sources of expert information. Based on our experiences as authors’ editors, we offer two suggestions on how to strengthen these competencies so that they better respond to the needs of readers and authors – the main users of and contributors to research journals. First, journal editors should be able to ensure that authors are given useful feedback on the language and writing in submitted manuscripts, beyond a (possibly incorrect) blanket judgement of whether the English is “acceptable” or not. Second, journal editors should be able to deal effectively with inappropriate text re-use and plagiarism. These additional competencies would, we believe, be valued by other stakeholders in biomedical research publication as markers of editorial quality.
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Aich angka kredit butuh jurnal ilmiah. Gimana sih buat jurnal ilmiah internasional. Bagaimana sih biar tulisan kita bisa diterima di publikasi Scopus? Mulai dari mana? Bingung? Pusing? Coba baca Panduan EASE yang sudah dialih bahasakan ke 50 bahasa di seluruh dunia. Khusus alih bahasa dari Bahasa Inggris ke Bahasa Indonesia, saya ikut berkontribusi pada proses itu. Selamat membaca..Semoga bermanfaat.
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The way scientists communicate has changed over the last few centuries; however publication in specialized journals has become the standard and central format of science since the twentieth century. Parallel to the exponential increase of journals production, there has also been an increase in the number of misconduct cases, which has led to a series of global initiatives to assist with both, policy development and the training of experts on this theme, which is also referred to as Integrity in Research. In spite of the growing literature on this subject, there are still few studies on the accountability of the different actors, that is, authors, reviewers and editors, in misconduct cases. Considering the relevance of such a theme and the scarcity of specific literature, this study starts with the following question: how do the editors of scientific journals from Brazil and other Latin American countries perceive the different misconduct practices in the editorial process? Other more specific questions also directed the present study: at what point in the editorial flow are the misconducts identified? What are the procedures of the journals? Do journals have specific editorial policies to deal with the prevention and detection of misconduct? How do they define plagiarism and other misconducts? What is the publishers' familiarity with misconduct practices? What is the responsibility of authors, reviewers and editors? In order to answer such questions, this quantitative qualitative study focused on the population of scientific journals editors of the largest collections of the SciELO Platform, that is, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico. An online questionnaire was sent to the 858 chief editors, of which 209 returned. A statistical analysis was carried out to describe the variables extracted from the closed questions, in addition to the content of the open questions, according to Bardin. A first set of the results shows that 80% of Brazilian and Latin American publishers indicate that misconduct has rarely or never occurred in their journal. The analysis of the reviewers is the most frequent moment for identifying the misconducts; rejecting the article is the most frequent procedure. It was also seen that most of the journals participating in the study have specific prevention policies; however 36.6% of the Brazilian journals and 24.7% of the Latin American ones said that they do not. Concerning familiarity with some practices, Brazilian and Latin American publishers are more familiar with the simultaneous submission of papers, conflicts of interest, and plagiarism as well. Considering knowledge on plagiarism, self-plagiarism and redundancy, it was seen that most of the editors have the classic definition for these practices, that is, they show knowledge about a common sense concept. Finally, regarding responsibility for Fabrication, Falsification and Plagiarism, most editors point out that the authors are fully responsible, whereas others, especially Latin American publishers, delegate this responsibility to the reviewers. This non-exhaustive study had as its main purpose to enter into a not yet explored topic, in addition, to seek a better understanding on the relationship among the ethical issues of scientific communication, the editorial flow and the editors, whose information is expected to be used for further research and studies.
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A team of stakeholders in biomedical publishing recently proposed a set of core competencies for journal editors, as a resource that can inform training programs for editors and ultimately improve the quality of the biomedical research literature. This initiative, still in its early stages, would benefit from additional sources of expert information. Based on our experiences as authors’ editors, we offer two suggestions on how to strengthen these competencies so that they better respond to the needs of readers and authors – the main users of and contributors to research journals. First, journal editors should be able to ensure that authors are given useful feedback on the language and writing in submitted manuscripts, beyond a (possibly incorrect) blanket judgement of whether the English is “acceptable” or not. Second, journal editors should be able to deal effectively with inappropriate text re-use and plagiarism. These additional competencies would, we believe, be valued by other stakeholders in biomedical research publication as markers of editorial quality.
The pressure to publish, particularly for those employed in universities and government research agencies, is greater today than it has ever been. As a consequence it is also more important than ever to be diligent about the ethics of publishing. Significant questions arise in the process of generating a manuscript for publication: (1) Who should be included as an author on a manuscript? (2) How do we assure that data have not been fabricated? (3) If animals are used in the research, has the research been carried out in accord with regulations for ethical treatment of animals? (4) Have the authors declared their bias and exposed any and all conflicts of interest, especially related to funding of the research? (5) Has plagiarism occurred in the manuscript and, if so, what are the consequences? These are important considerations in publishing and reporting research results especially since once the material is in print or otherwise accepted into the “literature” it is very difficult to remove. These questions are addressed in this chapter.
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Traditional definitions of plagiarism typically fail to provide discussion of its more subtle manifestations, some of which may occur with greater frequency than the more egregious forms. One particular area that is in need of clarification is the process of paraphrasing, specifically, the extent to which text must be modified to qualify as an adequate paraphrase as opposed to an instance of plagiarism. This paper examines some discrepancies in existing guidance on paraphrasing and plagiarism and makes a recommendation that is consistent with the US Office of Research Integrity's definition of research misconduct.
The paper explores the complexity of the notion of plagiarism from sociocultural and psychological perspectives. Plagiarism is a dynamic and multi-layered phenomenon [Russikoff, K., Fucaloro, L., Salkauskiene, D., 2003. Plagiarism as a cross-cultural phenomenon. The CAL Poly Pomona Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 16, 109–120. <>; Sutherland-Smith, W., 2005. Pandora’s box: academic perceptions of student plagiarism in writing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 4, 83–95] and needs to be understood in relation to a specific context of academic conventions and environment. Drawing upon the experiences of 10 Chinese students on a pre-sessional course and subsequently their postgraduate courses, the paper investigates change in these students’ perceptions of plagiarism in a different academic community over time. Three English tutors who taught the students on the pre-sessional course were also interviewed to compare their judgment of plagiarism with the students’ own accounts of their writing experience. Early results from the study and an extensive review of the literature on plagiarism suggest that learning to write in an unfamiliar academic discourse requires, at the deepest level, the students’ cultural appropriation of their conceptual understanding of the way of writing and of the meaning of using the literature to develop their written argumentation. This learning process spans a developmental continuum involving the learners overcoming emotional tensions which arise from changes in their cognition, senses of identity and sociocultural values. A holistic and developmental perspective is thus required to understand changes in students’ perception of plagiarism as part of their wider adaptation to the academic conventions of their host countries.
Documenting reactions from authors and journal editors to plagiarism may help others address the problem.
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