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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 199-201

Plagiarism and its effect on pediatric surgery publications

Associate Professor, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication12-Sep-2017

Correspondence Address:
Rishavdeb Patra
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Kolkata - 700 020, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9261.214458

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How to cite this article:
Patra R. Plagiarism and its effect on pediatric surgery publications. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2017;22:199-201

How to cite this URL:
Patra R. Plagiarism and its effect on pediatric surgery publications. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Nov 27];22:199-201. Available from: https://www.jiaps.com/text.asp?2017/22/4/199/214458

It is a great honor to write the editorial for this issue of JIAPS.

The term “plagiarism” was derived from the Latin word “plagere” meaning kidnap and “plagiatum” meaning stealing people. Plagiarism literary means theft. Plagiarism is the use of someone else's written work as your own, especially when proper credit is not given to the original author. In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud that involves both stealing and lying. Plagiarism of words and ideas can be unintentional and intentional.[1]

Publications are the end products of the scientific work, and their quantity and citability are keys to the promotion of scientists. Once published, a scholarly paper becomes a source for future references. By claiming authorship of scholarly works, researchers get promotion and numerous other academic benefits.[2]

Authors are obliged to follow ethical, moral, and legal regulations acceptable by the scientific journals. To do so, they must properly cite relevant publications and quote borrowed published or unpublished ideas and words. Simply, when an author copies others' text word for word, the borrowed passage should be enclosed in the quotation marks (inverted commas). It is absolutely unacceptable to republish a paper with minor changes, without referring to the primary publication, and to present it to the readership as a new source. In this case, the author may breach the copyrights of the publisher.[3]

Truth and trustworthy results are “flesh and bones” of scientific research. To have trustworthy results and to avoid misconduct, researchers should use optimal study designs and follow ethical standards. Scientific misconduct can be unintentional and intentional. The former is usually due to inappropriate use of research methodology, while the latter is a frank dishonesty and violation of ethical standards (intellectual dishonesty).[2]

The worst forms of scientific misconduct and intellectual dishonesty are as follows:

  • Falsification of the obtained data
  • Fabrication of the data
  • Plagiarism of ideas and words (stealing others' ideas, data, and texts).[4]

Plagiarism takes many forms, from passing off another's paper as the author's own paper, to copying or paraphrasing substantial parts of another's paper, without attribution to claiming results from research conducted by others.[2]

Plagiarism of words can be divided into: (a) the direct form – completely or partially copying of text, without acknowledging the primary source; (b) mosaic form – borrowing ideas and opinions from the original source, few words, and phrases without citing this source; (c) self-plagiarism – reuse of one's own work without specifying the primary (own) sources.

Plagiarism is when someone uses others' ideas, statements, linguistic style, and does not acknowledge intellectual pioneers. If there is an instance of substantive plagiarism (copying >25% of the published source), the manuscript should be withdrawn from the publication process and actions should be taken to inform the respective institution(s). If plagiarism is surfaced after the publication, editors should retract the paper and inform the readership on misconduct.[5]

Authors should:

  • Always follow the rules of properly citing references, acknowledging ideas taken at conferences
  • References must contain full bibliographic information
  • Each source cited in the text must be listed in the bibliography
  • Quotation marks should be used if >6 consecutive words are copied
  • Obtain permission from other authors/publishers to reproduce copyright-protected graphics or text
  • It should be also noted that plagiarism can now be detected electronically (e.g., by use of CrossCheck of iThenticate).[2]

Cases of plagiarism have been known throughout the history of mankind. It affected not only medicine, but also many other disciplines. Mozart's masterpieces were copied by Salieri. Shakespeare's poems were also plagiarized. Plagiarism has also been reported even among politicians and state leaders, who plagiarized during the PhD writing.[2]

Academic plagiarism is detected by the software such as Turnitin and SafeAssign and scientific plagiarism with CrossCheck and eTBlast software. The software consists of algorithms to detect similarities, associated databases, and websites, by which it compares the article.[2],[6]

Scientific and academic institutions should have established guidelines for monitoring, promotion, and research development. There is a dilemma about who, on what basis (criteria, standards, and rules), when, and how should declare someone a plagiarist. It is necessary to work on mechanisms for early detection of plagiarism, and relevant software should be used by all reputed journals. At an international level, a database of all cases of plagiarism should be launched with disclosure of all names of blacklisted plagiarists.[2]

Although it seems harmless when using another person's information without him or her knowing and been acknowledged, one should think of that person's feeling. How would one person feel when someone takes his/her work on which he/she has spent a lot of time on, copies it, and produces the same thing, and the worse of all, he/she claimed that information belongs to him/her, is actually injustice to the author of the information.

The act of plagiarism is wrong in the terms of law, so an act of plagiarizing can be fined for a sum of money, in court who copied his/her information. It also depends on the people who sue because some of them may let that person go, otherwise they would want them to get in prison, or even get them into more severe punishment, especially with the copyrighted one. Although these things can be solved with money, money cannot buy everything; what about that person's hatred toward that plagiarist or the discomfort feeling after that incident?

Planning your paper well is the first and most important step you can take toward preventing plagiarism. If you know you are going to use other sources of information, you need to plan how you are going to include them in your paper. This means working out a balance between the ideas you have taken from other sources and your own, original ideas. Even if you cite sources, ambiguity in your phrasing can often disguise the real source of any given idea, causing inadvertent plagiarism. Make sure when you mix your own ideas with those of your sources that you always clearly distinguish them. You should know how to paraphrase. A paraphrase is a restatement in your own words of someone else's ideas. You should keep in mind that paraphrased passages still require citations because the ideas came from some another source, even though you are putting them in your own words. If the author of the material used it in an earlier paper, he/she should quote it, because if this is not done, he/she plagiarized himself/herself. References must be listed at the end of the article and should include the sources where authors found the information in the given article.[7]

Plagiarism in scientific publication has increased recently due to the recent Medical Council of India (MCI) eligibility criteria for academic promotion to be the 1st or corresponding author in two original articles during the last tenure of holding that post. In India, it is difficult to publish two original articles in 3 years as medical record-keeping is very bad in government medical colleges. Publishing an original article is a collective effort of at least 4–6 researchers involving the surgeon and the anesthetist who are involved in the operation, residents who do data collection, writing the manuscript, editing the manuscript, etc. Hence, giving credit to only the 1st and corresponding authors is not justifiable. The MCI should amend these eligibility criteria to give credit to all the authors who are involved in the article for academic promotion. The pressure to publish scientific articles quickly and in large numbers for advancement in academic career has become counterproductive and degraded the quality of published articles, leading to plagiarism.

   References Top

Habibzadeh F, Marcovitch H Plagiarism: The emperor's new clothes. Eur Sci Editing 2011;37:67-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Masic I. Plagiarism in scientific publishing. Acta Inform Med 2012;20:208-13.  Back to cited text no. 2
Masic I. How to search, write, prepare and publish the scientific papers in the biomedical journals. Acta Inform Med 2011;19:68-79.  Back to cited text no. 3
Wager E, Kleinert S. Cooperation between research institutions and journals on research integrity cases: Guidance from the committee on publication ethics (cope). Acta Inform Med 2012;20:136-40.  Back to cited text no. 4
World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). Recommendations on publication ethics policies for medical journals. Arch Med Res 2004;35:361-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Shamin T. The latest developments in plagiarism detection in medical literature. Eur Sci Editing 2012;38:56.  Back to cited text no. 6
Masic I. Plagiarism in scientific research and publications and how to prevent it. Mater Sociomed 2014;26:141-6.  Back to cited text no. 7


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