Analysis of Plagiarism in Scientific Papers

It’s the cycle of scientific dissemination – research leads to publications, which lead to intellectual property that can inevitably be plagiarized.

Every day, hundreds of papers are added to the massive public database of scientific research known as ArXiv. Due to the large amount of content and need to protect authors’ intellectual property, the database uses an algorithm to detect re-used text from already existing articles.

“The algorithm is such that it can compare over 500 new articles per day to roughly one million already in the database in a matter of seconds,” ArXiv founder Paul Ginsparg told The Atlantic.

When looking at the papers submitted in a one month time frame, about three percent – or 250 papers – were flagged for plagiarism. This rounds out to thousands of papers per year.

To find out what was going on, Ginsparg took a closer look at the flagged papers.

This from The Atlantic:

What they found surprised them. For one thing, many of the researchers who re-used a significant amount of text from others seemed to make up little sub-communities of authors who all frequently cited one another

Read the full article here.

Ginsparg states that the standards for flagging a paper are very lenient, allowing as much as 20 percent self-copying from previous articles.

This from The Atlantic:

Text re-use also seems to happen more in some countries than others, a finding that reflects differences in academic cultures and the likelihood that non-native English speakers may rely more heavily on quoting others when writing in English. But there are several overlapping factors at play.

“Many students from non-Western cultures had never before heard the word ‘plagiarism,’ and in some cultures it is considered disrespectful to rewrite another author’s words,” said Ginsparg.

With a goal of disseminating scientific research to the largest possible audience and an international constituency, ECS aims to make our publications as accessible and high-impact as possible – all while protecting authors’ intellectual property.

Get more information on ECS publications here.

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