Plagiarists beware

We here at __The Scientist__ do our best to keep an eye out for instances of scientific misconduct and publishing irregularities. In the past we've not only reported on linkurl:Woo-suk Hwang's;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53460/ fraudulent human cloning research, but we've brought you news of other misconduct, such as the Egyptian paleontologist who allegedly linkurl:plagiarized;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/20040922/02/ previously published photos. We may have a lot less scand

By | April 11, 2008

We here at __The Scientist__ do our best to keep an eye out for instances of scientific misconduct and publishing irregularities. In the past we've not only reported on linkurl:Woo-suk Hwang's;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53460/ fraudulent human cloning research, but we've brought you news of other misconduct, such as the Egyptian paleontologist who allegedly linkurl:plagiarized;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/20040922/02/ previously published photos. We may have a lot less scandal to report on in the near future, given last week's announcement by the linkurl:Committee on Publication Ethics;http://www.publicationethics.org.uk/ of the June launch of a new plagiarism detection service called CrossCheck. According to a story to appear tomorrow (Apr 12) in the __British Medical Journal__, scientific journal editors can sign up for CrossCheck, which is being offered by citation linking network linkurl:CrossRef,;http://www.crossref.org/ to automatically check manuscripts they receive against a database of already published work. Already, eight publishers - including Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, the BMJ Group, Taylor and Francis, and the __New England Journal of Medicine__ - have agreed to sign on to the service, which will compare "text fingerprints" from manuscripts to other works in the database. If the service works, editors might catch plagiarism before publishing papers. The service will not, however, catch instances of linkurl:image;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23156/ fraud, such as the plagiarism allegedly perpetrated by Mostafa Mansour Imam, the Egyptian paleontologist, and at least one of Hwang's missteps. So maybe __The Scientist__ will still have some misconduct fodder for our news stories.
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Comments

Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 6

April 13, 2008

I suspect just knowing such a service exists will help deter some authors who might be teetering on the edge of plagiarism. The push to publish, publish, publish, and the rewards of doing so provide unnecessary pressure to "come up with something FAST", and plagiarizing the works of others is a quick and easy step in the wrong direction. Let's use the computer technology available to remove the "benefits" of such behavior - and stop it before it is published. This will benefit both the submitting author, who can be warned before publication, and his colleagues, who can feel assured of the originality of the paper
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

April 14, 2008

Good job to combat plagiarism.The thing is plagiarism is done by people who have been given a good reputation ,knowingly or unknowingly.The history have given lesson that plagiarists have also been awarded nobel prize, for example the DNA structure was studied by Franklin using X-ray crystallography but it is others who wee awarded the\nprize (though she was late by then).A lot need to be done to combat it, not only an agreement between few groups.But is the egyptian the only plagiarist you know?It looks too personal or else so....
Avatar of: Nasar S.K.T.

Nasar S.K.T.

Posts: 9

April 15, 2008

A commendable effort!\nIn the race for upmanship in science many authors plagiarise while others take the entire credit of colleagues' work. \nThis CrossRef system is a very welcome step forwawrd in checking the most common form but not all the forms of scientific fraud and misconduct. \nFor example, this method would fail to detect 'creation-on-desk experimental data' and getting published.\nNonetheless three cheers for a good beggining - that's half done!!
Avatar of: Alison Reiheld

Alison Reiheld

Posts: 2

April 17, 2008

Now all we need is a good way to catch:\n\n- ghostwriting and ghost authorship\n- undisclosed conflicts of interest\n- manipulation of data to serve a hypothesis\n- outright falsification of data\n- inappropriate authorship (see Richard Lewontin's critiques of senior personnel being listed as primary authors on studies for which they did no work)\n\nThese are just some of the bad behaviors of science documented in the oft-cited Nature article by Martinson, et al. Unfortunately, these are less likely than rank plagiarism to have technological solutions and more likely to require social re-engineering and dedicated human monitoring.
Avatar of: Stephen Stone

Stephen Stone

Posts: 1

April 28, 2008

As much as I believe this is a step in the right direction, it is a fallacy to believe this program will stop or even deter plagiarism. Just like computer viruses that change their signatures and patterns constantly to avoid detection, heuristic software will be developed to modify any submission enough to avoid footprints that would link it to another work and researchers without scruples will submit that work. Human ingenuity to defeat the mousetrap knows no bounds.

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