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Plagiarism in the sciences: What do we really know

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Title: Plagiarism in the sciences: What do we really know


1
Plagiarism in the sciences What do we really
know?
This is a slightly abridged version of Miguel
Roigs slides for his METM06 plenary address.
This version is posted with the speakers
permission as background information for the MET
workshop Managing plagiarism an approach to
dialog between authors and editors.
  • Miguel Roig, Ph.D.
  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Psychologyroigm_at_stjohns.edu

Portions of this presentation have been shown
elsewhere.
2
Some Dictionary Definitions¹
  • The action of using or copying someone elses
    idea or work and pretending that you thought of
    it or created it (Collins).
  • To take words, ideas, etc., from someone elses
    work and use them in ones own work without
    admitting one has done so(Longman).
  • To steal and pass off as ones own the ideas or
    words of another (Webster).
  • ¹taken from Decoo, W. (2002). Crisis on campus
    Confronting academic misconduct.
  • The MIT Press Cambridge, MA

3
Universal Scholarly Conventions
  • Verbatim text taken from another source must be
    enclosed in quotation marks and its source/author
    must be clearly identified.
  • When paraphrasing others text, such text must
    be substantially modified and its source/author
    must be clearly indicated.

4
Plagiarism as scientific misconduct
5
Scientific Misconduct
FabricationData/Results FalsificationData/Res
ults Plagiarism 42 Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR) Part 93effective on June 16,
2005
6
US Public Health Services definition
Plagiarism is the appropriation of another
persons ideas, processes, results, or words
without giving appropriate credit. Research
misconduct does not include honest error or
differences of opinion (Section 93.103).
7
US Office of Research Integrity
(ORI)http//ori.dhhs.gov/policies/plagiarism.shtm
l
  • As a general working definition, ORI considers
    plagiarism to include both the theft or
    misappropriation of intellectual property and the
    substantial unattributed textual copying of
    another's work. It does not include authorship or
    credit disputes.The theft or misappropriation
    of intellectual property includes the
    unauthorized use of ideas or unique methods
    obtained by a privileged communication, such as a
    grant or manuscript review.

8
National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • (a) Research misconduct means fabrication,
    falsification, or plagiarism in proposing or
    performing research funded by NSF, reviewing
    research proposals submitted to NSF, or in
    reporting research results funded by NSF.
  • Research, for purposes of paragraph (a) of this
    section, includes proposals submitted to NSF in
    all fields of science, engineering, mathematics,
    and education and results from such proposals.
  • http//a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010
    800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/
  • cfr_2002/octqtr/45cfr689.1.htm

9
Cases of plagiarism investigated by the US
government
  • From 1992-2005 ORI reported a total of 159 cases
    of scientific misconduct, 19 (12) of which
    involved plagiarism.
  • In a similar time period, the NSF reported that
    66 of their cases of scientific misconduct
    involved a finding of plagiarism.
  • (the discrepancy between ORI and NSF cases
    involves differences in how each defines
    plagiarism, namely, the fact that NSF does
    consider certain cases of authorship disputes as
    plagiarism)

10
What is the incidence of plagiarism?
11
Incidence of plagiarism
  • Falsification and fabrication appear to be more
    frequent than plagiarism (Miller, 2005).Recent
    Plagiarism estimates range from .2 (Claxton,
    Mutation Research, 200558917-30) to about 14
    for self-plagiarism in one specific area of
    biomedicine (Schein, New Surgery, 20041,
    139-140.

12
Gibelman, Gelman (2003)
Plagiarism by Faculty/Scholars in the News
2000-2003 University Individual Field______
Trinity International University (CA) Dean
Winston F. Frost Law Monash University
(Australia) Vice Chancellor Sociology Dav
id Robinson Kumaun University (India) Balwant
Singh Rajput Physics University of Albany
(NY) Louis Roberts Humanities Wesley College
(DE) President Scott D. Miller Unknown TV
Commentator Scholar Lecturer Doris Kearns
Goodwin History University of New Orleans (LA)
Stephen Ambrose History Gibelman, M.
Gelman, S. R. (2003). Plagiarism in Academia
Trends and Implications. Accountability in
Research Policies Quality Assurance, 10,
229-252.
13
Gibelman, Gelman (2003)
Plagiarism by Faculty/Scholars in the News
2000-2003 University Individual Field___ Moun
t Holyoke (MA) Joseph J. Ellis
History Hamilton College (NY) President
Eugene Tobin Unknown Cornell University (NY)
David A. Levitsky Nutrition Heald College
(Various locations) Senior Vice President,
Unknown Roger C. Anderson Liverpool
Hospital, University Bruce Hall Immunol. of
New South Wales (Australia) Peking University
(China) Wang Mingming Anthrop. Gibelman, M.
Gelman, S. R. (2003). Plagiarism in Academia
Trends and Implications. Accountability in
Research Policies Quality Assurance, 10,
229-252.
14
Gibelman, Gelman (2003)
Plagiarism by Faculty/Scholars in the News
2000-2003 University Individual
Field___ Boston University (MA) John J. Schulz
Commun. University of Pirarus (Greece)
Prof. Assima Kopoulos Engin. University of
Texas Health Center Momiao Xiong Health
Sc. U.S. Naval Academy (MD) Brian VanDeMark
History Florida Atlantic University Lindsey
S. Hamlin Intern. William
T. Ryan Business __________________________
__________________________________________ Gibelma
n, M. Gelman, S. R. (2003). Plagiarism in
Academia Trends and Implications.
Accountability in Research Policies Quality
Assurance, 10, 229-252.
15
Martinson, et al.s (2005) study
  • A recent study by Martinson, et al., indicates
    that of 3,247 US scientists
  • 1.4 use anothers ideas without obtaining
    permission or giving due credit.
  • 4.7 publish the same data or results in two or
    more publications.
  • 33 admit to some other form of ethically
    questionable misbehavior.
  • Martinson, B. C., Anderson, M. S., de Vries, R.
    (2005). Scientists behaving badly. Nature, 435,
    737-738.

16
NSFs Internal Study (2006)
  • A total of 600 grant proposals submitted to NSF
    were analyzed using Bloomfields software.
    Approximately 2.5 of the sample was found to
    contain unattributed copying from other sources.
  • No differences between disciplines (e.g.,
    physics, chemistry) were detected.
  • Proposals from certain areas (NSF career
    enhancement) yielded significantly higher rates
    (15) than other areas.http//www.nsf.gov/pubs/2
    006/oigmarch2006/oigmarch2006_4.pdf

17
Cases of plagiarism in China
  • From 1999 to 2005, there were 542 cases
    investigated by the NSF of China. There were 60
    cases found to be misconduct.
  • 34 of cases involved plagiarism.
  • Yidong, G. (2005). China Science Foundation
    Takes Action Against 60 Grantees. Science, 309,
    1798-1799.

18
Plagiarism is probably more common than the data
seem to indicate
  • There is every reason to believe that the
    existing literature significantly underestimates
    the extent of the problem.
  • Why?

19
Limitations of Survey research
20
Much of the evidence for plagiarism is from
survey research
  • Items tend to reflect the unique way in which
    concepts and categories are presented by the
    researchers
  • Social desirability of items or of
    respondents/biased samples
  • Reliance on memory of events/behaviors
  • Respondents views on what constitutes plagiarism
    tend to be liberal

21
Some cases are kept hidden
22
There is some reluctance to out plagiarists
  • A plagiarism case may be perceived as reflecting
    poorly on the journal (killing the messenger)
    and some editors might be reluctant to take
    proper action.
  • Inaction on the part of institutions or
    associations (see recent case by Chalmers in
    BMJ).
  • Fear of litigation
  • Plagiarism cases are often kept confidential (NSF
    does not name names ORI does).
  • Fear of retaliatory legal action by the accused.

23
A significant number of professionals plagiarize
in subtle ways and these cases are sometimes
difficult to recognize
24
Plagiarism Is More Common Than the Research
Indicates
  • There are those who believe that as long as a
    citation is included, they can simply appropriate
    portions of text from another source and use that
    text as their own writing.
  • Julliard (1994) found that physicians, but not
    most medical students or English faculty hold the
    above view.
  • Julliard, K. (1993). Perceptions of plagiarism
    in the use of other author's language. Family
  • Medicine, 26, 356-360.

25
Plagiarism Is More Common Than the Research
Indicates
  • Others believe that, as long as you can change a
    word here or there in a sentence, the resulting
    writing constitutes an acceptable paraphrase and
    not plagiarism.

26
Plagiarism and paraphrasing criteria of college
professors Roig M. Plagiarism and paraphrasing
criteria of college and university
professors. Ethics Behavior 200111(3)307-323.

27
Study Instructions
  • Assume that you want to include the information
    from the Zenhausern paragraph in your paper and
    are considering the re-written versions shown
    below. Please examine each re-written paragraph
    carefully, compare it with the original version
    above, and ... indicate whether ... the
    re-written version constitutes a case of
    plagiarism (P), not plagiarism, that is, the
    paragraph has been legitimately paraphrased (NP),
    or you simply cannot determine (CD).

28
College professors (first row n 138) and
psychology professors (second row n 53)
responses
  • __________________________________________________
    _________________
  • Plagiarized Not
    Plagiarized Cannot Determine
  • __________________________________________________
    _________________
  • Paragr 1 92 (126) 7 (10) 1 (2)
  • 96 (51) 3 (2) 0 (0)
  • Paragr 2 83 (114) 12 (17) 5
    (7)
  • 92 (49) 6 (3) 2 (1)
  • Paragr 3 81 (111) 13 (18) 6
    (9)
  • 81 (43) 9 (5) 9 (5)
  • __________________________________________________
    ______From Roig, M. (2001). Plagiarism and
    paraphrasing criteria of college and university
    professors Ethics and Behavior (11) 3, 307-323.

29
College professors (first row n 138) and
psychology professors (second row n 53)
responses
  • __________________________________________________
    _________________
  • Plagiarized Not
    Plagiarized Cannot Determine
  • __________________________________________________
    _________________
  • Paragr 4 48 (66) 44 (60) 9 (12)
  • 57 (30) 36 (19) 8 (4)
  • Paragr 5 4 (5) 94 (129) 3
    (4)
  • 6 (3) 93 (49) 2 (1)
  • Paragr 6 4 (5) 91 (126) 5
    (7) 2 (1) 93 (49) 6 (3)
  • __________________________________________________
    ______From Roig, M. (2001). Plagiarism and
    paraphrasing criteria of college and university
    professors Ethics and Behavior (11) 3, 307-323.

30
Appropriate and inappropriate paraphrasing
  • Paragraph 4
  •    According to one researcher, subjective and
    objective tests of imagery ability have not
    resulted in differences in performance and
    therefore the only way to determine if a person
    thinks visually or nonvisually is to ask that
    question directly. One important finding is that
    many nonvisual thinkers who state with confidence
    that they do not think in pictures have rather
    vivid imagery.
  • ORIGINAL
  • Since subjective and objective tests of imagery
    ability have not resulted in predicted
    performance differences, the only way to
    determine if a person thinks visually or
    nonvisually is to ask that question directly. ...
    One important finding is that many nonvisual
    thinkers have rather vivid imagery, but they can
    state with confidence that they do not think in
    pictures" (Zenhausern, 1978, p. 382).

31
Appropriate and inappropriate paraphrasing
  • Paragraph 6
  •    Zenhausern (1978) reports that various types
    of instruments designed to measure imagery have
    yielded inconsistent results. He suggests that
    the only technique that will tell us whether
    someone thinks visually or not is to ask the
    person directly. However, this author also notes
    that some individuals who admit that they do not
    think in pictures report having very vivid
    imagery (p. 382).
  • ORIGINAL
  • Since subjective and objective tests of imagery
    ability have not resulted in predicted
    performance differences, the only way to
    determine if a person thinks visually or
    nonvisually is to ask that question directly. ...
    One important finding is that many nonvisual
    thinkers have rather vivid imagery, but they can
    state with confidence that they do not think in
    pictures" (Zenhausern, 1978, p. 382).

32
College professors (first row n 138) and
psychology professors (second row n 53)
responses
  • __________________________________________________
    _________________
  • Plagiarized Not
    Plagiarized Cannot Determine
  • __________________________________________________
    _________________
  • Paragr 4 48 (66) 44 (60) 9 (12)
  • 57 (30) 36 (19) 8 (4)
  • Paragr 5 4 (5) 94 (129) 3
    (4)
  • 6 (3) 93 (49) 2 (1)
  • Paragr 6 4 (5) 91 (126) 5
    (7) 2 (1) 93 (49) 6 (3)
  • __________________________________________________
    ______From Roig, M. (2001). Plagiarism and
    paraphrasing criteria of college and university
    professors Ethics and Behavior (11) 3, 307-323.

33
What happens when college professors are asked to
paraphrase these paragraphs?
34
Study Instructions
  • Let's assume that you want to include the
    information from the original paragraph in your
    paper but that you do not want to use a direct
    quote. Instead, you want to paraphrase the
    entire paragraph. How would you re-write the
    above version of the paragraph so as to not be
    classified as a case of plagiarism? In the space
    below, please paraphrase the above paragraph to
    the best of your ability (use the back of the
    page if you need more space). Assume that a
    correct citation (e.g., a footnote, Zenhausern,
    1978) will appear in your paper's reference
    section. Also, please write clearly and legibly.

35
How would you paraphrase the following paragraph?
  • ORIGINAL
  • Since subjective and objective tests of imagery
    ability have not resulted in predicted
    performance differences, the only way to
    determine if a person thinks visually or
    nonvisually is to ask that question directly. ...
    One important finding is that many nonvisual
    thinkers have rather vivid imagery, but they can
    state with confidence that they do not think in
    pictures" (Zenhausern, 1978, p. 382).

36
How would you paraphrase the following paragraph?
  • ORIGINAL
  • If you have ever had your astrological chart
    done, you may have been impressed with its
    seeming accuracy. Careful reading shows many
    such charts to be made up of mostly flattering
    traits. Naturally, when your personality is
    described in desirable terms, it is hard to deny
    that the description has the ring of truth"
    (Coon, 1995, p. 29).

37
Text misappropriation by professors as function
of paragraph readability
  •  
  • College Professors
    Psychologists
  • Difficult-to-read Difficult-
    to-read Easy-to-read
  • (n 109)
    (n 43) (n 64)
    __________________________________________________
    __________________
  • String Length
  • 5-word strings 30 26
    03 6-word strings
    22 19 037-word
    strings 18 16
    008-word strings 09
    09 00
  • _________________________________________________
    ____________
  • From Roig, M. (2001). Plagiarism and
    paraphrasing criteria of college and university
    professors Ethics and Behavior (11) 3, 307-323.

38
Text misappropriation as function of paragraph
readability
  •  
  • College Professors Psychologists
    Students
    Difficult-to-read Easy-to-read
    Difficult-to-read Easy-to-read
  • (n 109)
    (n 64) (n 215)
    (n 206) __________________________________
    _________________________________________
  • String Length
  • 5-word strings 30 03
    68 19 6-word strings
    22 03 62
    16 7-word strings 18 00
    53 10 8-word
    strings 09 00 41
    09
  • _________________________________________________
    __________________Student data from Roig, M.
    (1999). When college students' attempts at
    paraphrasing become instances of
  • potential plagiarism. Psychological Reports,
    84, 973-982.

39
Plagiarism has not been fully operationalized
and the available guidance is sometimes
inconsistent.
40
Paraphrasing according to the general writing
guides
41
General Writing Guides
  • When paraphrasing, you restate an authors ideas
    in your own words. A good paraphrase retains the
    organization, emphasis, and often many of the
    details of the original passage
  • Kennedy, X. J., Kennedy, D. M., Holladay, S. A.
    (2002). The Bedford Guide for College Writers,
    6th ed. Boston Bedford/St. Martins Press.

42
General Writing Guides
  • Changing a word here and there and reversing the
    order of phrases is not sufficient, even though
    you give credit in a footnote (Campbell
    Ballou, 1990, p. 11).
  • In explaining proper paraphrasing strategies
    these authors further warn
  • Do not substitute synonyms here and there or
    rearrange sentence elements (Campbell Ballou,
    p. 39).
  • Campbell, W. G., Ballou, S. V. (1990). Form
    and Style Theses, Reports, Term Papers. (5th
    ed.). Boston Houghton Mifflin.

43
General Writing Guides
  • You also plagiarize when you use words so close
    to those in your source, that if your work were
    placed next to the source, it would be obvious
    that you could not have written what you did
    without the source at your elbow. (Booth,
    Colomb, Williams, 1995 p. 167)
  • Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., Williams, J. M.
    (1995). The craft of research. Chicago
  • The University of Chicago Press.

44
Biology Writing Guide
Writing Guides in Biology
  • Express your own thoughts in your own words.
    Note, too, that simply changing a few words here
    and there, or changing the order of a few words
    in a sentence or paragraph, is still plagiarism.
    Plagiarism is one of the most serious crimes in
    academia. (Pechenik, 2001 p.10).
  • Pechnick, J. A. (2001). A short guide to
    writing about biology, 4th Edition. New York
    Addison Wesley Longman.

45
Plagiarism and paraphrasing according to the
professional writing guides
  • Most of the student and professional writing
    guides provide coverage for plagiarism. However,
    few of the professional guides cover the more
    subtle forms of plagiarism (e.g., inappropriate
    paraphrasing).

46
The American Medical Association Manual of Style,
9th edition
  • Direct Plagiarism Verbatim lifting of passages
    without enclosing the borrowed material in
    quotation marks and crediting the original
    author.
  • Mosaic Borrowing ideas and opinions from an
    original source and a few verbatim words or
    phrases without crediting the original author. In
    this case the plagiarist intertwines his or her
    own ideas and opinions with those of the original
    author, creating a confused plagiarized mass

47
The American Medical Association Manual of Style,
9th edition
  • Paraphrase Restating a phrase or passage,
    providing the same meaning but in a different
    form without attribution to the original author.
  • Insufficient acknowledgement Noting the original
    source of only part of what is borrowed or
    failing to cite the source material in such a way
    that a reader will know what is original and what
    is borrowed.

48
The APA Manual
  • One guide that provides some coverage of proper
    paraphrasing is the Publication Manual of the
    American Psychological Association (2001).
  • Unfortunately the coverage provided by the APA
    Manual is misleading

49
The APA Manual
  • From the APA Manual
  • Each time you paraphrase another author (i.e.,
    summarize a passage or rearrange the order of a
    sentence and change some of the words), you will
    need to credit the source in the text.
  • Please note that summarizing and paraphrasing are
    two distinct processes, though in both instances
    we must acknowledge the source of the material.

50
US Office of Research Integrity
(ORI)http//ori.dhhs.gov/policies/plagiarism.shtm
l
  • Substantial unattributed textual copying of
    another's work means the unattributed verbatim or
    nearly verbatim copying of sentences and
    paragraphs which materially mislead the ordinary
    reader regarding the contributions of the author.
    ORI generally does not pursue the limited use of
    identical or nearly-identical phrases which
    describe a commonly-used methodology or previous
    research because ORI does not consider such use
    as substantially misleading to the reader or of
    great significance.

51
Institutional standards are more conservative
  • S. Baughman (2005) has noted that some
    universities steer their faculty to abide by
    standards set up for students. However, these can
    be in conflict with professional standards.
  • According to Price (2005) Two cases referred to
    ORI in which the institutions had found
    plagiarism were dismissed by ORI as not
    constituting misconduct.

52
  • Perhaps ORIs definition may stem from
    encountering situations, such as the one that
    follows

53
Try paraphrasing this paragraph
  • Mammalian histone lysine methyltransferase,
    suppressor of variegation 39H1 (SUV39H1),
    initiates silencing with selective methylation on
    Lys9 of histone H3, thus creating a high-affinity
    binding site for HP1. When an antibody to
    endogenous SUV39H1 was used for
    immunoprecipitation, MeCP2 was effectively
    coimmunoprecipitated conversely, aHA antibodies
    to HA-tagged MeCP2 could immunoprecipitate
    SUV39H1 (Fig. 2G). (Lunyak, et al., 2002 p.
    1748)
  • Lunyak, V., et al., (2002). Corepressor-dependen
    t silencing of chromosomal regions encoding
    neuronal genes. Science, 298, 1747-1756.

54
Even the most terse text can be paraphrased
  • ORIGINAL VERSION
  • Mammalian histone lysine methyltransferase,
    suppressor of variegation 39H1 (SUV39H1),
    initiates silencing with selective methylation on
    Lys9 of histone H3, thus creating a high-affinity
    binding site for HP1. When an antibody to
    endogenous SUV39H1 was used for
    immunoprecipitation, MeCP2 was effectively
    coimmunoprecipitated conversely, aHA antibodies
    to HA-tagged MeCP2 could immunoprecipitate
    SUV39H1 (Fig. 2G). (Lunyak, et al., 2002, p.
    1748)
  • PARAPHRASED VERSION
  • According to Lunyak, et al. (2002), a high
    affinity binding site for HP1 can be produced by
    silencing Lys9 of histone H3 by methylation with
    mammalian histone lysing methyltransferase, a
    suppressor of variegation 39H1 (SUV39H1). MeCP2
    can be immunoprecipitated with antibodies
    prepared against endogenous SUV39H1 on the other
    hand, immunoprecipitation of SUB39H1 resulted
    from aHA antibodies to HA-tagged MeCP2.

55
But, it is not easy!!
  • There are some instances in which the extent to
    which text can be modified is very limited ...
  • Particularly in situations where the author has
    less than a full command of the language, proper
    paraphrasing can be extremely difficult.

56
Self-Plagiarism Can one steal from one self?
57
Plagiarism vs. self-plagiarism
  • Plagiarism refers to the misappropriation of
    others ideas, words, images, design properties,
    data, musical notes, etc.
  • Self-plagiarism refers to authors re-use of
    their earlier work and passing it of as new or
    original material .

58
Forms of Professional Self-plagiarism
  • Duplicate publication/presentation Submitting a
    paper to a journal or conference which had been
    previously written for journal or conference
    under a slightly different title.
  • Redundant publication occurs when some portion of
    previously published data is used again in a new
    publication with no indication that the data had
    been published earlier.

59
Forms of Professional Self-plagiarism
  • Fragmented or piecemeal publication occurs
    when a complex study is broken down into two or
    more components and each component is analyzed
    and published as a separate paper.
  • Augmented publication occurs when when a
    simpler study is made more complex by the
    addition of more observations or experimental
    conditions.

60
Forms of Professional Self-plagiarism
  • Salami Slicing Using data from a large, complex
    study and segmenting it to produce two or more
    papers.
  • Text recycling Reusing portions of previously
    published text in a new publication without
    reference to the original.
  • The essence of self-plagiarism in all of the
    above instances is that the reader is not made
    aware of the duplication.

61
The evidence for self-plagiarism
62
Empirical evidence for self-plagiarism
  • Schein (2001) found that 14 of 660 articles
    represented a clear form of redundant
    publication.
  • Schein, M. (2001) Redundant publicationsfrom
    self-plagiarism to Salami-Slicing.
    NewSurgery, 1, 139-140.

63
Empirical evidence for self-plagiarism
  • More recently, von Elm, et al. (2004), reported
    that of 1,234 articles reviewed in the area of
    anesthesia and analgesia, 5 were duplicates that
    gave no indication as to the original
    publication.
  • von Elm, E., Poglia, G., Walder, B. Tramèr,
    M. R. (2004). Different patterns
  • of duplicate publication. Journal of
    the American Medical Association. 291,
  • 974980.

64
Many do not believe self-plagiarism is unethical
  • In a study of health educators, Price, et al.
    (2001) reported that 64 of their sample stated
    that self-plagiarism is an acceptable behavior
  • Price, J. H., Dake, J. A., Islam, R. (2001).
    Selected ethical issues in research and
    publication Perceptions of health education
    faculty. Health Education and Behavior, 28, 51-64.

65
Why self-plagiarism is problematic
  • It misleads the reader into thinking that the
    material is new.
  • More importantly, self-plagiarism overestimates
    or underestimates a statistical effect thereby
    biasing our state of knowledge in a given area.

66
What about reusing portions of previously
published text?
67
Traditional scholarly conventions
  • Verbatim text taken from another source must be
    enclosed in quotation marks and its source must
    be clearly identified.
  • When paraphrasing others text, such text must be
    substantially modified and its source must be
    clearly indicated.
  • Technically, the same rules apply when verbatim
    or paraphrased text was re-used by the same
    author in a new publication or conference
    presentation.

68
Text reuse in a sample of 9 psychology journal
articles
  • Study Method
  • Obtained electronic versions of all articles
    (target articles) published in one issue of a
    psychology journal.
  • For each target article I obtained at least 3 of
    the articles from the same author/authors that
    were cited as references (source).
  • I compared each of the references to the target
    article to determine if any text had been re-used
    from any of the earlier published sources.

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Text reuse in a sample of 9 psychology journal
articles
  • __________________________________________________
    _
  • Target Article Id A B C D E
    F G H I
  • __________________________________________________
    _
  • String length Number of word-strings
    detected
  • _________________________________
  • 6 9 8 1 0 6 1 2
    8 2
  • 7 6 1 0 0 0 1 3
    6 1
  • 8 6 1 0 0 3 1 1
    3 1
  • 9 4 1 1 0 0 0 0
    0 0
  • 10 and longer 13 0 0
    0 0 1 2 3 0
  • __________________________________________________
    ___
  • 30 sentences of a total of 79 contained text
    strings derived from other same-authored
    publications.
  • From Roig (2005). Re-using text from ones own
    previously published papers
  • An exploratory study of potential
    self-plagiarism. Psychological Reports,
  • 97, 43-49.

70
Results
  • Most of the reused text found was derived from
    methodology sections.
  • Other comparisons between pairs of references
    revealed at least 4 instances of identical sets
    of 40 to 60 word strings, again, mainly in
    Methods sections.

71
Is it self-plagiarism? Is it unethical?
  • Given standard scholarly conventions (i.e.,
    quotations, footnotes) are there any
    circumstances where even small amounts of text
    (e.g., one full sentence) can be re-used without
    any indication of its origin?
  • Text from these sections is sometimes difficult
    to paraphrase. For example
  • Mammalian histone lysine methyltransferase,
    suppressor of variegation 39H1 (SUV39H1),
    initiates silencing with
  • selective methylation on Lys9 of histone H3

72
It is best to avoid re-using ones own text
  • On the other hand, at least one journal cautions
    against the use of previously published methods
    sections as templates for writing these sections
    in new publications (Academic Emergency
    Medicine)
  • http//www.saem.org/inform/aempub.htm

73
Guidelines from selected journals
  • At the time of submission, authors must describe
    in a cover letter any data, figures, or text in
    the manuscript that have been used in other
    papers (Conservation Biology) http//www.conbio.o
    rg/SCB/Publications/ConsBio/Instructions/
  • A paper submitted to the Indian Pediatrics
    should not overlap by more than 10 with
    previously published work, or work submitted
    elsewhere which then would be labeled as
    duplicate publication. http//www.indianpediatric
    s.net/author1.htm

74
Guidelines from selected journals
  • The authors must describe in a cover letter any
    data, illustrations, or text in the manuscript
    that have been used in other papers that are
    published, in press, submitted, or soon to be
    submitted elsewhere (Evolution and Development),
    http//www.blackwellpublishing.com/submit.asp?ref
    1520-541X
  • If part of a contribution has appeared or will
    appear elsewhere, the author must specify the
    details in the covering letter accompanying the
    Nature submission (Nature). http//www.nature.com
    /nature/authors/policy/index.html

75
OTHER SITUATIONS WHERE TEXT RE-USE OCCURS
  • What are the parameters of text reuse? What are
    readers expectations?

76
From article to grant proposal?
  • From article to grant proposal? Vice versa?
  • From journal article to conference presentation?
    Vice versa?
  • From one book to another?
  • Where is the guidance with respect to these
    questions? Who decides whether these activities
    are appropriate or not?

77
Am I self-plagiarizing this talk?
  • It depends on whether you assume that this
    presentation was exclusively prepared for you.
    Therefore, please note that
  • Many of the ideas and slides from this
    presentation have been shown at other venues
    (e.g., conferences)

78
Plagiarism in the sciences What do we really
know?
79
What do we really know?
  • We know that it happens, but we do not know its
    true incidence.
  • There are significant discrepancies amongst the
    various official definitions of plagiarism.
  • There is no operational definition of plagiarism
    (extent or form of misappropriation).
  • Few guidelines exist on text self-plagiarism.

80
Thank youMiguel Roig
  • roigm_at_stjohns.edu
  • http//facpub.stjohns.edu/roigm/plagiarism
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