Signup date: 19 Feb 2021 at 2:55pm
Last login: 03 Mar 2021 at 4:19pm
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The journal in which the highly similar paper C (to our paper B) was published in, and for which I have regularly acted as a peer-reviewer for has just written back saying "the articles are in the same area, so there will be similarities" and " as a result, I do not believe this constitute plagiarism".
However, they have ignored the nearly 8 pages of similarities I've listed. Their conclusion is clearly wrong and I believe anyone who sees the report of the similarities will agree. It just seems the journal has its own agenda.
I requested retraction, but they probably don't care as I'm seen as a lowly, small-fish post-doc.
I don't want to give up on this out of principle. What shall I do?
Thank you for replying and sharing your experiences.
...I heard nothing back, the status of my submission is now "with editor". After facing the first other suspected plagiarism issue, I was totally shocked (on checking the inter-disciplinary journal) that a similar x basic rules on y article was published mid February. I had a sick feeling in my stomach as I could see that 6 or 7 of the rules in my article (which only had a few more) had been written into this new one, but the title was vey different. It had a much wider scope to make the article look different at the outset. It was a general x rules article for "beginners in the field". It used the same phrases, rational and logic but added a few bits -- like a glossary, and one of the basic sections was expanded a bit. Many of the particular rules, especially quite specific unusual ones (but useful) were woven into this new work. Bear in mind that these x basic rules articles are usually quite short, sometimes a rule is just a big paragraph.
I noticed the article has the same editor (one of two I suggest that is listed as being responsible for these x basic rules articles), so they must have known about both these works given the time proximity.
One of the senior editors is from a particular country, and the new paper is from two authors I've not heard of, from the same country, especially wrt to my specific area. It is potentially possible that either this editor tipped them off (or asked them by solicitation to write something similar with a more general slant but gobbling up my work), or that the two authors found it on arXiv.org and did the same.
Given aspects of the content are extremely niche, and many of the basic rules I wrote in mine are incorporated and woven in, it's highly probably they have encountered my work or have been "coached" to write it with my ideas in.
Has anyone experienced anything like this before? It's sort of like rewt alluded to about theft of ideas in peer review, but editorial pieces don't usually go out to external reviewers, but are done inside?
It has gotten me done to think this is what goes on in "professional" academia, and high-ranked journals that have been running for years.
What can I do about this?
thanks for reading
I'm an early-stage researcher (post-doc) in Europe. The early-stage bit makes this particularly frustrating. Perhaps I'm a bit wet-behind-the-ears wrt to publishing ethics, but to me the right and wrongs in this regard are quite basic common sense. Thou shalt not steal, but rather cite and build-upon.
In my last post I described work I had done (paper B) during my PhD that I suspect has been plagiarised by a group in North America (paper C), and bears some resemblence to a much earlier paper we cited, paper A. I am now facing another similar (but not quite the same sort of situation) with a new article I wrote in January, which could have involved some "hanky-panky" by the editorial team of a journal I submitted it to. It's quite peculiar.
In December, I noticed a really cool educational piece that was in many ways based on work during my PhD, but it properly cited us so was very nice to see. It gave me a good idea to such a paper in a different area, but to appear in the same journal. This is an inter-discplinary journal in my field, and the educational article that cited us has a short, very well defined, specific format comprising X number of basic rules for/on Y.
So, just before Christmas, and with a view as an early-stage research to practice more publishing, in the spare time I had over the holidays I wrote my x basic rules article on topic Y. I based this on experience I had in a research institute and the particular stumblings blocks inter-discplinary researchers face using certain equipment. Some of this material is generically covered in such places as part of an induction, but often falls short resulting in new staff members (and some who should know better) making the same sorts of mistakes. With this in mind I added my expertise also covering optimisation. All in the basic rules educational article format.
In January I archived the work on arxiv.org. I picked an CC-BY-NC-ND license.
I then came to submit it to this inter-disciplinary journal. I checked their submission guidelines and it said these basic rules articles are editorial pieces and should be submitted by their submission system.
After creating an account on the system, I noted that the Editorial article type had "(invitation only)" next to it. I emailed the journal enquiries asking about basic rules article submission - initially got no response. Quite keen to get my work submitted, I submitted it as an "Educational" type article and provided 4 reviewers. A few days later I got an email from the journals front-end servicedesk saying "sorry for slow delay, please submit as editorial". I thanked and said I'd already submitted it. They said it was now with editor. All this happened by end of Jan.... CONTINUED...
It could be that he's just flexing his ego as he no longer supervises you now. At least your ex-2nd-supervisor is supportive.
Thank you for your thoughts on this. I have written to the editor of the journal paper C was published in, who are investigating.
I have access to Turnitin as a TA, but I've never used it yet. I can only submit work for a group of students for a set assignment, or against a particular set assignment, I think. I don't think I would show anything due to the extensive paraphrasing.
As for the peer review, that is a great suggestion. You make a good point as I saw on retractionwatch that there are large numbers of cases of this happening. We have the history (even the ability to download the transcript) from journal B that we published in and the authors of C don't seem to have been involved in that process (thankfully).
Having said that, I am unlucky enough to be experiencing a similar issue to the peer review with another short educational article I wrote and archived on a preprint server in January, that has been submitted to a journal and whilst it is with the editor, a similar article having substantially similar content (key aspects of mine plus some other areas) but that has the overall scope widened, has appeared only last week. I'll post on that shortly.
I only just found this out the other day, after posting this thread and was in absolute total shock --- why me?! Again I have to detach my feelings of shock and horror and figure out how to deal with that separately as it has potentially developed differently.
Very stressful and has eaten lots of my time detailing it.
Thank you for the good advice abababa. Yes, it isn't a case of simply cut+paste so I will have to outline the ideas, methodologies, conclusions and most importantly the structure of their paper that are remarkably similar.
I am a post-doc in Europe. I am facing the issue of highly probable plagiarism of one of my papers published a few years back during my PhD (with my then supervisor) by a senior professor and their grad students in another country (north America). Their paper C is strikingly similar to ours, paper B and another paper A published 2 years before ours that we discussed and cited in our work. Yet, the authors of this likely plagiarised paper (paper C) have not cited our work in B, nor have they cited previous work done in A.
Furthermore, the authors of Paper C have also incorporated important technical recommendations I gave to our field on reproducibility during a talk whilst I was working at a medical research institute (the abstract of my talk details this and is freely available online). The authors have also used this, together with a summary of one of my thesis chapters to write a letter to the editor of a very reputable Nature journal (to make these same technical recommendations) which was published just over a year ago (I've only noticed this now).
Having received an article update from a journal I follow, and sometimes review for, I noticed this paper (C) that had a title that was almost identical to a conclusion of the paper I mentioned. Having looked at it, I was stunned to see that this work had repeated the same methodology in our paper B, some of the methodology of paper A, and not only came to the same conclusions but also used similar phrases (para-phrased). They had essentially done exactly the same data-mining experiment but had adjusted it slightly - the methodology is quite unique to that in our work some years back.
My initial impression was that our work in paper B should have been cited by C, and that the work of A should also be cited in C. However, on further investigation it appears that the authors of C seem to have deliberately not cited work A, or work B (our paper) so as to hide the origins of the theory, and methodology that we devised and present it as their own work. The similarities are so extensive that it can't possibly be a coincidence or just un-conscious and unintentional, particularly because other work I have done myself and with my supervisor has also been incorporated into this paper C, and as mentioned above, the same authors wrote a letter to the editor of Nature (summarising the work I did in one of my thesis chapters) as a technical recommendation to methodology/best-practice used in our field.
As a starting point, I've looked at COPE: Committee on Publication Ethics information and case studies, but I would like to know how to go about tactfully reporting this to the editor of the journal that has published this work in paper C. I am also looking at the retraction watch online resource.
I would be grateful for advice as this is a very unpleasant thing to have to face.
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