Role of a Reviewer in detecting plaigarism

Role of a Reviewer in detecting plaigarism  

  By: Lasith Gunawardena on March 16, 2018, 4:06 p.m.

Hi Everyone,

Most of the time when I am sent a paper to review, I usually run a TurnitIn Check, and on a few instances I get rather very high (>90%) similarity scores. This sometimes happens when a author has simipy re-posted the same article to another journal or conference. In certain instances it has also happened because the author had done the research as part of his/her masters / phd but has simply cut the whole paragraphs from it. (where the thesis is online) 

Often I inform the editors on my discovery (this often happens for conferences where they do not run checks for plaigiarism)but I simply do the review without indicating that in the review comments. Is that the best course of action or would you do anything differently ?


 Last edited by: Lasith Gunawardena on March 18, 2019, 12:47 p.m., edited 1 time in total.

Re: Role of a Reviewer in detecting plaigarism  

  By: Richard de Grijs on March 17, 2018, 11:18 p.m.

Dear Lasith,

I think that your approach makes sense. Many journals now implement their own plagiarism checks before sending papers off to reviewers. A popular commercial service is provided by iThenticate; note that TurnItIn is mostly used by educators (no doubt, like yourself!). Different fields look differently at the severity of copying from conference papers and theses into peer-reviewed journal papers. In my field, conference papers often present preliminary results, while the journal paper that may eventually be submitted would be much more extensive. Speaking as a journal editor, I wouldn't worry too much about overlapping text in this case. The same goes for theses -- either theses are based on a number of published papers, or chapters are converted into peer-reviewed papers. In the latter case, the final paper will likely be quite different from the original chapter. In addition, conferences in my field may be used to present work that was published recently, so authors/presenters tend to submit the abstracts of published papers. For the abstract book, that is perfectly fine. However, if conference contributions are solicited after the meeting (usually 4-10 pages), then authors should make an effort to avoid self-plagiarising. The bottom line of my response is that the severity of copying and pasting depends on the field and on what types of outputs are valued. In my field, we almost exclusively use peer-reviewed journal papers for assessment purposed; all the rest is chaff.

Richard de Grijs

Community Moderator