Re: Detecting Plagiarism

From: Eberhard R. Hilf <>
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 18:08:21 +0100

dear Sally,
I have on my desk papers, published in highly esteemed physics journals,
which are 80% Latex-identical, and still this has passed the referees
and the publishers.
(In a few cases it is even the same publisher and journal, could have
been the same referee even!!).

Thus a plagiarism test is definitely not done,even by the most
distinguished editors, referees, journals, publishers even in their own

However: plagiarism is more subtle as that it could be seriously tackled
by text string overlapping.
1. text string copying is very seldom in physics at least.
2. most common is 'assimilation of the new findings and methods of others'
and not citing them (too seldom revealed by referees),
3. uttermost common, the (almost) common case is 'self-plagiarism',
that is, the author copies and pastes text strings of earlier papers into
the new file.
In the case, I have in front of me, it is this case: the author group
uses the file of an earlier accepted paper and pastes it to be the new
one, then cutting the last chapter ('new results'), replaces it by really
new never published outrageous new and important sophisticated new
results, keeps the earlier dull chapters as asked for by the publisher
such as Intrdouction, Used Method, Work of Others, Their shortcomings,
tools and expertise of the group, etc.
yes, and finally adapts the wording of the title and abstract.

So if I were to claim to have checked for plagiarism, I would have
detected this case.
So, if I were a referee I would have accepted it for its new findings
but would have asked the authors to shorten the paper by let them refer
to the earlier ones or use the Paranthesis 'from here on to there we just
cite the earlier paper.

How to cope with it:
Thus it is better, to publish a paper first, by either selfarchiving or
using the ArXiv, and let the community then all look at the findings.
After some comments authors will vote for 'living documents', where the
(above mentioned well written ) part form an original part of the new
paper, as a multi-file document with different timestamps for the
different parts.
Eberhard R. Hilf
Eberhard R. Hilf, Dr. Prof.i.R.;
Institute for Science Networking Oldenburg GmbH
an der Carl von Ossietzky Universitaet
Ammerlaender Heerstr.121; D-26129 Oldenburg
my homepage:
tel/Fax: +49-(0)-441-798-2884/5851
Service PhysNet for the EPS:

On Wed, 23 Jul 2003, Sally Morris wrote:

> Actually, it is pretty difficult for individual authors to pursue
> plagiarists, whereas in my experience journal publishers both can and do
> (often via their contacts with the publishers of the offending journals). I
> don't think publishers' *willingness* to do so has anything at all to do
> with copyright ownership; however, their *ability* to act immediately and
> decisively, in the courts if absolutely necessary, is strengthened by
> copyright ownership, as Martin Blume convincingly pointed out at the last
> Zwolle Group conference
> Sally
> Sally Morris, Secretary-General
> Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
> South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK
> Phone: 01903 871686 Fax: 01903 871457 E-mail:
> ALPSP Website
Received on Wed Jul 23 2003 - 18:08:21 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:47:00 GMT