Jump to content
Francis Mouton

How to deal with plagiarism

Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm not a "hard" scientist (history of art), but by accident I stumbled across a recent scientific book (published by Wiley, written by University professor) which contains what I think are many plagiarized sections (some identical, some with very minor changes). I contacted Wiley about this more than a month ago, but haven't gotten a reply nor have they taken any action about the book. I have no idea where I could best report this situation, I have no personal stake in this (the copied texts are not by me or anyone I know), but don't like knowing about such a situation and not doing anything about it.

Do I post my evidence here (in whichever subforum you prefer), or is there some scientific journal or newspaper who might be interested in this? The author is not some big-shot name, so it's highly unlikely that a mainstream newspaper would be in any way interested.

 

Thank you,

Francis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The publisher and the writer are the ones who would be sued if it really is plagiarism.

The only other person who would care would be the person whose work was copied (and their publisher). They are the people you should contact as they are the only ones who can take action on this. (Well, Wiley could decide to withdraw the book themselves, if they decided it really was plagiarism.)

I doubt anyone here cares, so there is little point posting it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, thank you. I have identified at least 8 different sources which have been partially copied, I'll try to find out which one might be the most interested / harmed by this practice.

Oh, and for clarity, while I'm not a scientist, the book is scientific (about engineering), not about art, perhaps I wasn't too clear about that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In reality, anyone can (and should, on occasions where they notice) point out errors in scientific and other scholarly publications, including plagiarism. The quality of the scientific literature depends on all stakeholders taking an active role in correcting errant publications. The reliability of the scientific literature depends on science being self-correcting. 

Most of the plagiarism I've caught has been on the student side, usually well before material is submitted for publication. (I mentor lots of student research, and in spite of ample training and care, when the crunch of deadlines approach, plagairism occurs about 10% of the time.) A few years back, I did catch a case where a paper of mine had been copied, both the exact method (slightly different system) as well as part of the method section. Eventually a Corrigendum was published here:

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0256-307X/27/8/089902/pdf

My original paper can be found here:
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0256-307X/27/8/089902/pdf

The paper from Chinese Physics Letters which copied my method without attribution is here:
http://cpl.iphy.ac.cn/EN/article/downloadArticleFile.do?attachType=PDF&id=37803

I didn't notice the issue and move toward corrective action until 6 years or so after the other paper was published. It would have been nice had someone brought it to the journal editors' attention sooner.

Striking Similarities between Courtney, 1996 and Wang and Lin, 2004:

  1. Main idea of using closed orbit theory to determine initial angles of closed classical orbits from quantum recurrence spectra.
  2. Detailed method for computing initial angles.
  3. Abstract excerpts
    1. From the abstract of Courtney, 1996: For a given initial state, closed-orbit theory gives the dependence of this recurrence amplitude on the initial angle of an orbit. By comparing the recurrence amplitudes for different initial states, the initial conditions of closed classical orbitsare determined from quantum spectra.
    2. From the abstract of Wang and Lin, 2004: For a given initial state, closed-orbit theory gives the dependence of this recurrence amplitude on the initial angle of an orbit. By comparing the recurrence amplitude for different initial states, we can determine the initial angles of theclosed classical orbits from the quantum recurrence spectra.
  4. Excerpts from paragraph 2:
    1. From paragraph 2 of Courtney, 1996: Semiclassical quantization techniques reverse the causal role between quantum and classical behavior by using the classical solutions to construct approximate quantum solutions.
    2. From paragraph 2 of Wang and Lin, 2004: Semiclassical quantization techniques reverse the causal role between quantum and classical behavior by using the classical solutions to construct approximate quantum solutions.
  5. Compare Equations 4-10 and related discussion of Courtney, 1996 with Equations 2-6 and related discussion of Wang and Lin, 2004.
  6. Compare Figure 1 of Courtney, 1996 with Figure 1 of Wang and Lin, 2004.
  7. Compare caption and column headings of Table 1 of Courtney, 1996 with caption and column headings of Table 1 of Wang and Lin, 2004.
  8. Excerpts from concluding paragraph:
    1. From concluding paragraph of Courtney, 1996: In summary, a method is presented for determining the initial conditions of classical orbits from the quantum spectra…
    2. From concluding paragraph of Wang and Lin, 2004: In summary,we have presented a simple method to extract the closed orbits from the quantum spectra.

      If contacting the publisher of the work containing the plagiarism is unsatisfactory, I would contact the author(s) and publisher of the original work that was plagiarized.  I would also give ample public notice in forums like this one and possibly others.  Errors in scholarship (including plagiarism) should be brought to the attention of a wide audience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Francis Mouton said:

 Do I post my evidence here (in whichever subforum you prefer) 

Please don't. We can talk about plagiarism in general, but aren't the right place to litigate any particular instance of it.

You could contact the person(s) whose work was plagiarized and let them take whatever action they deem appropriate.

38 minutes ago, MathGeek said:

A few years back, I did catch a case where a paper of mine had been copied, both the exact method (slightly different system) as well as part of the method section.

As above, no. Not the place to get into the details

38 minutes ago, MathGeek said:
    1. I would also give ample public notice in forums like this one and possibly others.  Errors in scholarship (including plagiarism) should be brought to the attention of a wide audience.

Nope. This is for science discussion, not for advertising the list of those who should wear the scarlet P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have not already done so, you can first go and read

retractionwatch.com/2013/11/25/want-to-report-a-case-of-plagiarism-heres-how/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mathgeek, I plagiarised your post here:

Quote

If contacting the publisher of the work containing the plagiarism is unsatisfactory, I would contact the author(s) and publisher of the original work that was plagiarized.  I would also give ample public notice in forums like this one and possibly others.  Errors in scholarship (including plagiarism) should be brought to the attention of a wide audience.

Just to agree with what you have written.  Also, it may be possible that authors who are not expert in English would be more willing to plagiarise because they might not have the range of semantic and syntactic skills to enable them to rephrase a paragraph which appears to be perfectly written from their viewpoint.  In short, help should be available to rephrase a scientific statement for people who are imperfect in written English skills (I include myself in this description due to this repetitive and word-heavy paragraph which I have just written).

 

Edited by jimmydasaint

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jimmydasaint said:

Just to agree with what you have written.  Also, it may be possible that authors who are not expert in English would be more willing to plagiarise because they might not have the range of semantic and syntactic skills to enable them to rephrase a paragraph which appears to be perfectly written from their viewpoint.  In short, help should be available to rephrase a scientific statement for people who are imperfect in written English skills (I include myself in this description due to this repetitive and word-heavy paragraph which I have just written).

 

It is an interesting remark. In some cases I was asked to evaluate articles by eastern European authors, where it became immediately clear that they were not comfortable with writing in English. However, just around when there was significant issues of mathematical clarity being important, their language straightened up remarkably. Whereas in parts of the paper that seemed more motivational and explanatory, their grammar got horrific. In such cases it just made it obvious to check for previously published results that were similar or identical, and I never had a miss, and it turned out always plagiarized. In the end I assume that this is just something which would be harder for me to detect if the plagiarizer happens to be quite comfortable with writing in English.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.