Plagiarism is unacknowledged copying or an attempt to misattribute original authorship, whether of ideas or text. As defined by the ORI (Office of Research Integrity), plagiarism can include, ‘theft or misappropriation of intellectual property and the substantial unattributed textual copying of another’s work’. Plagiarism can be said to have clearly occurred when large chunks of text have been cut-and-pasted without appropriate and unambiguous attribution. Such manuscripts would not be considered for publication in SALR. Aside from wholesale verbatim re-use of text, due care must be taken to ensure appropriate attribution and citation when paraphrasing and summarising the work of others. ‘Text recycling’ or re-use of parts of text from an author’s previous research publication is a form of self-plagiarism. Here, too, due caution must be exercised. When re-using text, whether from the author’s own publication or that of others, appropriate attribution and citation is necessary to avoid creating a misleading perception of unique contribution for the reader.
Duplicate publication occurs when an author re-uses substantial parts of his or her own published work without providing the appropriate references. This can range from getting an identical paper published in multiple journals, to ‘salami-slicing’, where authors add small amounts of new data to a previous paper.
Editors and Editorial Board members of SALR assess all such cases on their individual merits. When plagiarism becomes evident post-publication, we may correct or retract the original publication depending on the degree of plagiarism, context within the published article and its impact on the overall integrity of the published study.
SALR is part of Similarity Check, a service that uses software tools to screen submitted manuscripts for text overlap.
Due Credit for Others’ Work
Discussion of unpublished work:
Manuscripts are sent out for review on the condition that any unpublished data cited within are properly credited and the appropriate permission has been sought. Where licensed data are cited, authors must include at submission a written assurance that they are complying with originators’ data-licensing agreements.
Referees are encouraged to be alert to the use of appropriated unpublished data from databases or from any other source and to inform SALR of any concern they may have.
Discussion of published work:
When discussing the published work of others, authors must properly describe the contribution of the earlier work. Both intellectual contributions and technical developments must be acknowledged as such and appropriately cited.