One of the referees of our journal has brought to our attention a potential case of plagiarism.
The referee feels that the a manuscript submitted to our journal plagiarises an article published in another journal. The authors are from an institute in a far-eastern country.
We would be grateful if COPE could provide an opinion on this issue, as well as advice on what would be the best course of action.
The Forum was informed that one paragraph in the introduction and one other sentence had obviously been cut and pasted from another (cited) paper but that the work itself was not duplicated. The advice from the Forum was to write an educative letter to the authors pointing out that if they directly quote from another paper they should either place the words between quotation marks and state who had written them or report them indirectly citing the author. The Forum did not consider it was necessary to go any further.
The editor-in-chief wrote to the authors pointing out that quoted text should be placed between quotation marks, stating who has written the text, or alternatively, authors should create their own text to describe the situation and not use other individual’s text. This letter was sent to the corresponding author together with the decision letter. The authors have responded with a letter of apology, acknowledging their mistake.