This paper aims to stimulate discussion about how editors should respond to plagiarism. Different types of plagiarism are described in terms of their: extent, originality of the copied material, context, referencing, intention, author seniority, and language. Journal responses to plagiarism are also described including: educating authors, contacting authors’ institutions, issuing corrections, and issuing retractions. The current COPE flowcharts recommend different responses to major and minor plagiarism. Possible, more detailed, definitions of these are proposed for discussion. Decisions about when to use text-matching software are also outlined. The appendix describes other systems for classifying plagiarism and links to related documents and resources.
Questions for discussion
- Should we attempt to define different types of plagiarism?
- If so, is the distinction between major and minor plagiarism useful or do we need more categories?
- What types of plagiarism should prompt journals to inform authors’ institutions?
- What other sanctions should journals impose on authors for plagiarism?
- How should journals handle cases of the various forms of plagiarism in submitted and published work?
Aims and scope
- Types of plagiarism
2.2 Originality of copied material
2.3 Position / context
2.4 Referencing / attribution
2.6 Author seniority
- Detecting and responding to plagiarism
- Screening for plagiarism
- Defining plagiarism
- Next steps
- Other relevant documents and plagiarism classifications
About this resource
Written by COPE Council
Version 1 April 2011
How to cite this
COPE Council. COPE Discussion Document: How should editors respond to plagiarism? April 2011.
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6 May 2021