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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 45  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 151-152

Whose responsibility is to check plagiarism?


1 Department of Physiology, Fakir Mohan Medical College and Hospital, Balasore, Odisha, India
2 Department of Physiology, Kalna SD Hospital, Kalna, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication28-Jun-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Himel Mondal
Department of Physiology, Fakir Mohan Medical College and Hospital, Balasore - 756 019, Odisha
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jss.JSS_42_18

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How to cite this article:
Mondal H, Mondal S. Whose responsibility is to check plagiarism?. J Sci Soc 2018;45:151-2

How to cite this URL:
Mondal H, Mondal S. Whose responsibility is to check plagiarism?. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Jul 18];45:151-2. Available from: http://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2018/45/3/151/261663



Sir,

Plagiarism, intentional or unintentional or both, is considered as misconduct, and it is disgraceful to authors.[1] It may also warrant future legal complications. Furthermore, it may reduce the reputation of the journal.[2] A manuscript goes through a defined pathway for its journey from submission to publication. There are several checkpoints where different aspects of the manuscript are checked. In [Figure 1], a typical pathway of a manuscript is shown. Now, the question is – at which point, plagiarism should be checked?
Figure 1: Pathway of a manuscript from submission to publication

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An author is the only person who can inject plagiarized content to the manuscript. An editor first evaluates the suitability of the manuscript to the journal. Then, it is sent to peer reviewers. If the manuscript receives positive peer review, the editor decides to publish it in the journal. Then, the manuscript is sent for copy editing and pagination. The copy editor, commonly a language expert, corrects minor linguistic errors, punctuation errors, and structure of the sentences. After this step, the formatted manuscript is sent to the authors for proofreading before publication.

During this journey of a manuscript, when and who should check the plagiarism – author, reviewer, or editor? The first answer may be “the author.” A published article is an intellectual asset of the author. Hence, it is their responsibility to make the asset plagiarism free. However, if it is unintentional plagiarism or the author is not aware of plagiarism at all, then?

Next is the editor who initially assesses the article. Commonly, editors provide honorary service to the journals. Hence, they are not supposed to invest money from their pockets in checking plagiarism. However, passing plagiarized content from an editor to a reviewer is not a fair practice either.

Next are the peer reviewers. They invest their valuable time in reviewing the article for the sake of science. They are considered to be familiar to the topic of the manuscript. Hence, they can guess plagiarism by cognitive power. In addition, they may seek help from Google search for one or two sentences. However, checking the whole manuscript is not always possible. A limited amount of text can be checked from free plagiarism checking website or software.[3] However, these free services do not provide detailed report.[4]

For a trustable report, premium plagiarism checking services may be opted. This should be taken care of by the institution or the agency running the journals. However, it may be difficult for a resource-limited journal to buy a package from the service providers. For them, the best method is the education. The journal website can be enriched with a page about plagiarism and ways to prevent it. In addition, the legal issues concerned with plagiarism can be highlighted. These would be a source of information about plagiarism for a new author. However, “terms and conditions” are rarely read by a user while browsing the web pages.[5] This may be true for authors too. In this situation, a face-to-face academic conversation may help. Why don't we take some time to disperse knowledge about plagiarism among our academic colleagues?

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Helgesson G, Eriksson S. Plagiarism in research. Med Health Care Philos 2015;18:91-101.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
6 Consequences of Plagiarism. Available from: http://www.ithenticate.com/resources/6-consequences-of-plagiarism. [Last accessed on 2018 Jul 30].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Mondal H, Mondal S. How to check plagiarism free of cost from authors' end. J Dent Res Rev 2017;4:74-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
4.
Mondal H, Mondal S. Relevancy of free online software and websites in detection of plagiarism. Int J Clin Exp Physiol 2017;4:139-41.  Back to cited text no. 4
  [Full text]  
5.
Berreby D. Click to Agree with What? No One Reads Terms of Service, Studies Confirm. The Gurdian. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/03/terms-of-service- online-contracts-fine-print. [Last accessed on 2018 Jul 30].  Back to cited text no. 5
    


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