Plagiarism (published article)


Plagiarism and possible fraud


The authors of a paper published in another journal wrote to the editor of Journal A, complaining of apparent blatant plagiarism of their work by N et al. , whose paper had been published in the journal earlier in the year. Further investigation revealed that the text of the two papers was almost identical. S et al. had used one drug and N et al. had used a different one of the same class. The published results in the second paper closely matched those of the first.


Attempted plagiarism of a published report


A review paper covering the prevention of a certain type of infection was submitted to Journal A. One of the reviewers identified that the paper was based word for word on a report that had published guidelines on the same area. The authors of both pieces are different. The only significant differences between the submission and the original paper were in the introduction and conclusion.


Extensive plagiarism


An article published in Journal A in 2003 contains extensive, almost verbatim, unattributed quotations from an article published in Journal B in 2001. The editor asked a member of the editorial team to compare the two articles line by line, and there appears to be a high degree of overlap without any reference to the original article in Journal B. The authors of the article and the editor of Journal A were asked for an explanation.


Plagiarism in a case report


The whole discussion section of a submitted case report was almost identical to the discussion section of a previously reported, similar case written up by another group of authors in another journal. The only difference lay in the patient details. While the other paper had been referenced in the case report, the authors of this case report had not indicated that the whole discussion was identical to the previously published paper.


Alleged plagiarism


Journal A published a review paper. About a year later, the author of a paper published in 1997 in Journal B wrote to say that he had come across the paper in Journal A during a literature search. He pointed out that parts of this paper were virtually identical with his paper in Journal B. Although the author of the article in Journal A had made one reference to his article, this was only to one specific point and the nearly identical sections had not been referenced.




A paper by Turkish authors was submitted to journal A. The paper was virtually the same as one published in the equivalent US journal B of the same specialty,but with different authors. The paper submitted to journal A seems to have been plagiarised from the paper published in journal B. The editor has written to the deans of the faculties of medicine to which the authors are attached. What more should he do?


Double plagiarism


A researcher has written to us to point out that a paper published in a German journal in 1993 was put together almost verbatim from articles published in the BMJ in 1989 and the New England Journal of Medicine in 1992. About three quarters of the material in the article in the German paper comes from these two journals. It may be that the data are original but it seems unlikely. What should we do?