We publish journals with a view to serve various purposes which include but not limited to just peer review, broad distribution, branding and authority, portability and creation of the archive of a body of literature....
One of the most important attributes of a good research article is its originality. Plagiarism causes loss of credibility of the article and the author. According to the Cambridge dictionary, Plagiarism is a practice of using another person’s ideas or work and pretending that it is your own. It may or may not violate the applicable copyright laws. In the field of academics, plagiarism is considered a very immoral and unethical practice.
Types of plagiarism:
When an author copies another researcher’s published work in a word-to-word manner or quotes another author’s work with only minor changes to it without the due citation and passes it off as their own, it is termed direct plagiarism.
Self-plagiarism can be explained as follows. When an author uses his/her own previously published data (in part or whole) in a new submission without due acknowledgement, it is termed self-plagiarism. Although both the data are the author’s own work, this still falls under the umbrella of plagiarism because the work is not novel data and has previously appeared as part of a scientific publication.
When an author copies and cites parts of someone else’s work without using quotation marks, the practice is called “mosaic plagiarism” or “patch writing”. Another way in which mosaic plagiarism is practiced is when certain words are replaced by their synonyms, but the style and structure of writing is the same as that in the original work.
Such type of plagiarism is unintentional and most commonly happens when the author overlooks or forgets to provide proper citation for the referenced work. In such a case, the sources are not correctly cited or the literature is just paraphrased without giving due credit to the original authors.
Apart from these, there are certain other unethical practices that need to be mentioned when speaking about plagiarism. These practices also fall under the broad category of plagiarism in the field of scientific publication.
When the same study is submitted to more than one journal for publication, it is termed as duplicate submission or duplicate publication. Such duplicate submissions may be made at the same time, immediately one after the other, or years apart.
When a single study is divided into parts and submitted for publication in one or more journals, it becomes a redundant publication. Here, the findings are redundant because the same findings have been presented in a different manner and submitted to different journals. This unethical practice also involves the submission of previously published findings without proper cross-referencing, permission, or justification. “Self-plagiarism” is considered to a type of redundant publication. While this is a commonly noted practice, it might be unintentional on the part of the author.
Certain researchers resort to data manufacturing and fabrication to make their research findings appear valuable and publication worthy. Such incorrect generation of data includes practices where researchers collect data from a smaller number of subjects but project larger numbers (by extrapolating or averaging and expanding the numbers) to show that a larger study sample was enrolled. Such a practice is used when the author wants to cut down on the time and effort that goes into the research work but wants to project that a large amount of data has been collected and analyzed. Since a larger sample size is eligible for certain statistical analyses and the use of these improves the manuscript quality and publication chances, some authors resort to this unethical practice.
Practices that involve the manipulation of data for the above-mentioned purposes fall in this category. The authors may fabricate or doctor the images, omit inconvenient results, and apply specific statistical tests to modulate their findings to make them more positive. While the manipulation of images is permitted in some cases where it can improve the visibility and readability, in certain instances, authors deliberately manipulate the images to influence the interpretation. Ethically, appropriate technical manipulation should be applied to the entire image, not just parts of it. Further, any such alteration should be mentioned during article submission.
Conflict of Interest
One more factor which is an important consideration while submitting a manuscript is that of “Conflict of interest”. In research terminology, “interest” refers to a person’s or institution’s value, commitment, or goal. A conflict of interest arises when the individual or the institution feels that there is a discrepancy or contradiction in the interests related to that activity.
Therefore, while submitting the article, all the participants, including the editorial team, must consider their conflicts of interest. Authors, reviewers, and the editorial team should declare any discrepancies or biases at the earliest and make the decision for article acceptance/rejection accordingly.
While submitting a manuscript, the author needs to submit certain supporting statements and supporting documents. The major inclusions are listed below:
A clear, concise, and informative statement regarding the authors’ conflicts of interest.
Author statement about whether the study was conducted with financial aid from an individual or institution. If yes, detailed information about the funding received, the sponsor’s role in the study, data collection, analysis, and result interpretation of results needs to be mentioned.
Information about the authors’ access (nature and extent) to the study data.
Madridge Publishers’ policies for plagiarism
As a leading publication house for scientific, technical, and engineering research, we believe in publishing original and innovative papers that conform to the highest standards. In order to maintain our publication standards, we employ very strict policies to detect and discourage plagiarism.
If our reviewers, editors, or any other team members detect plagiarism before the paper is published, the author(s) is informed about the finding and asked to rewrite the content or provide proper citation(s) for the said content, as applicable.
The action that we take is dependent on the extent of plagiarism detected in the submission.
Manuscripts with plagiarism of up to 5% to 30% are sent back to the author for revision.
Submissions that are found to have >30% plagiarized content are rejected outright.
However, the authors are free to revise and resubmit the corrected article to our journal. If the plagiarism is detected after publication, the journal will issue a note, which will be linked to the original paper, to point out the plagiarism. Based on the extent of plagiarism, the journal may decide to pull back the paper completely.
Plagiarism is considered as theft and hence, has its repercussions. Schools, colleges, and universities are very particular about plagiarism, and it can lead to suspension or expulsion of the student. A professional or academic’s career can be ruined if they are known to be involved in such wrong practices. In addition, there are legal and monetary repercussions.
Guidelines to avoid plagiarism
Here are a few tips ensure that your research document is free from plagiarism.
Manage time well
Break down the process of manuscript writing and perform each task in a timely manner. Allocating sufficient time for each task (writing the first draft, inserting the data figures and tables, citing sources, etc.) will allow you to write original articles and conduct the necessary background research to enhance your manuscript. This will also give you the chance to conduct a thorough proofread, spelling and grammar check, and plagiarism check, thus minimizing the errors in your final draft.
Ensure appropriate and accurate reference citation
It is crucial that you insert appropriate citations in a consistent format. When using data, texts, and/or images from a published document, remember to acknowledge and accurately cite the source. Every journal has a particular format that needs to be followed for citations. Study the author guidelines of your target journal to understand their citation rules so that you can apply the appropriate format and increase the chances of acceptance.
Conduct a final proofread and check
Establish a system of proofreading and re-checking the article before submitting. This will let you identify, analyze, and rectify the errors in a timely manner.
Proper format for verbatim citations
Make sure that you acknowledge all the cited material. Use quotes for verbatim sentences cited from published documents to avoid plagiarism. Use a valid plagiarism-check software to make sure there is no unintentional plagiarized content.
Paraphrase, re-word, and re-structure correctly
Rephrase the source information and data while retaining the actual meaning. It is important to choose the wording appropriately and provide the due reference so that the original idea is conveyed properly without the content appearing plagiarized.
Supplement the references with insights
Include your own ideas about your research findings in reference to previous reports to add more meaning to your study. This requires extensive research and focus. Adding your own sentences will minimize the number of citations required and enhance your manuscript.
Include a “References” section
Add a reference page and add all the references you have cited in your manuscript on this page with due credits. Keep updating this list as you add citations to your manuscript so that your reference list is also complete by the time you finish writing your manuscript.
Cite internet sources accurately
Mention citations sourced from the internet, including e-books, online reports, and conference proceedings. Ensure that these references are cited as per the format prescribed by your target journal.
Careful consideration of these guidelines will help you write an article free from intentional and/or accidental plagiarism. Such an ethically valid research paper is credible, valuable, and contributes to the field of research.