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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
Journal of Medical Internet Research >
Volume 2 (2000) >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4566


Title: Report of a case of cyberplagiarism - and reflections on detecting and preventing academic misconduct using the Internet
Authors: Eysenbach, Gunther
Keywords: Special Case Report
Ethics, Professional
Plagiarism
Scientific Misconduct
Publishing
Internet
Retraction of Publication
Copyright
Peer Review
Software
Information Retrieval
Issue Date: 31-Mar-2000
Publisher: Gunther Eysenbach; Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Toronto, Canada
Citation: Gunther Eysenbach. Report of a case of cyberplagiarism - and reflections on detecting and preventing academic misconduct using the Internet. J Med Internet Res 2000;2(1):e4 <URL: http://www.jmir.org/2000/1/e4/>
Abstract: [This item is a preserved copy and is not necessarily the most recent version. To view the current item, visit http://www.jmir.org/2000/1/e4/ ] Background: The Internet is an invaluable tool for researchers and certainly also a source of inspiration. However, never before has it been so easy to plagiarise the work of others by clipping together (copy & paste) an apparently original paper or review paper from paragraphs on several websites. Moreover, the threshold of stealing ideas, whether lifting paragraphs or perhaps even whole articles from the Internet, seems to be much lower than copying sections from books or articles. In this article, we shall use the term "cyberplagarism" to describe the case where someone, intentionally or inadvertently, is taking information, phrases, or thoughts from the World Wide Web (WWW) and using it in a scholarly article without attributing the origin. Objective: To illustrate a case of cyberplagiarism and to discuss potential methods using the Internet to detect scientific misconduct. This report was also written to stimulate debate and thought among journal editors about the use of state of the art technology to fight cyberplagiarism. Methods: A case of a recent incident of cyberplagiarism, which occurred in the Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (JRCSEd), is reported. A systematic search of the Internet for informatics tools that help to identify plagiarism and duplicate publication was conducted. Results: This is the first in-depth report of an incident where significant portions of a web article were lifted into a scholarly article without attribution. In detecting and demonstrating this incident, a tool at www.plagiarism.org, has proven to be particularly useful. The plagiarism report generated by this tool stated that more than one third (36%) of the JRCSEd article consisted of phrases that were directly copied from multiple websites, without giving attribution to this fact. Conclusions: Cyberplagiarism may be a widespread and increasing problem. Plagiarism could be easily detected by journal editors and peer-reviewers if informatics tools would be applied. There is a striking gap between what is technically possible and what is in widespread use. As a consequence of the case described in this report, JMIR has taken the lead in applying information technology to prevent and fight plagiarism by routinely checking new submissions for evidence of cyberplagiarism.
Description: Reviewer: van der Slikke, Hans
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4566
ISSN: 1438-8871
Other Identifiers: doi:10.2196/jmir.2.1.e4
Rights: Copyright (cc) Retained by author(s) under a Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Appears in Collections:Volume 2 (2000)

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