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Old 07-02-2014, 07:35 AM   #1
xri
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Using OS to prevent plagiarism


I'm referring here only to plagiarism of academic articles.
The problem:
  1. Young researcher submits manuscript to a peer reviewed journal.
  2. After a few weeks, she receives a plain rejection with a rather curt explanation of why the content is uninteresting and/or lacks enough merits for consideration.
  3. A few months after, she reads an article developing the very same idea on her manuscript, under the name of one of the journal reviewers (=one of the household names in the area).
Possible open source solutions:
  1. Keeping an official repository of manuscripts, independent from any particular journal, where writers can submit their initial writings, signed with their (registered) public keys.
  2. Routine use of (both personally and institutionally) software like these:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/antiplagiarismc/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/plag...ce=recommended
http://sourceforge.net/projects/plag...ce=recommended
http://sourceforge.net/projects/aaps...ce=recommended
  • If you know of any of these measures been implemented or in the process of being implemented anywhere, that would be very helpful.
  • Also, if you have similar or better ideas, with the same gist, that would be really awesome.

Last edited by xri; 07-02-2014 at 07:39 AM. Reason: Needed to expand the question
 
Old 07-02-2014, 08:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xri View Post
I'm referring here only to plagiarism of academic articles.
The problem:
  1. Young researcher submits manuscript to a peer reviewed journal.
2 words, Notary Public.
 
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:46 AM   #3
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"Developing the very same idea" is neither plagiarism nor something that software could catch.

Last edited by dugan; 07-02-2014 at 09:48 AM.
 
Old 07-02-2014, 11:33 AM   #4
xri
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Quote:
"Developing the very same idea" is neither plagiarism nor something that software could catch
Very true, it is NOT plagiarism. However, the CONTEXT of the story includes:
  1. Quote:
    the name of one of the journal reviewers
    (THE SAME PERSON WHO REVIEWED YOUR MANUSCRIPT)
  2. Quote:
    A few months after
    (CLOSE TEMPORAL ASSOCIATION)

At least you should contemplate the possibility that the bastard:
  1. had your paper rejected;
  2. stole your idea.
Of course, all this could be due to pure chance
 
Old 07-02-2014, 12:23 PM   #5
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"A few months after?" How long do you think it takes someone to go from getting (or "stealing") an "idea", to "developing" it into a publication-ready paper (which, in this context, would obviously include doing their your own research), to submitting it, to having it accepted, to waiting for the journal issue to actually be published?

You specifically said "researcher", and attempting to research the same subject that you know someone else is researching is not a breach of ethics.

"Contemplate the possibility"? Sure you can contemplate the possibility that someone "stole" the "idea". You don't need software to help you contemplate.

Last edited by dugan; 07-02-2014 at 05:08 PM.
 
Old 07-02-2014, 12:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habitual View Post
2 words, Notary Public.
I think this, to be able to prove actual plagiarism, is all that is needed. Well, any reliable witness or legally acceptable way to prove copyright would do.
However, as dugan points out that is only in the case of actual plagiarism and simply researching a topic further isn't likely to be in breach of any laws or codes.
 
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:12 PM   #7
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Retain copyright to your work?
Patent your ideas?

One of life's lessons. People stink sometimes. You will find that everywhere there is some scum that will take an idea. Tell you it won't work and later get a bonus for turning it in. But I'm not mad still.

Last edited by jefro; 07-02-2014 at 03:14 PM.
 
Old 07-02-2014, 03:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Retain copyright to your work?
Patent your ideas?

One of life's lessons. People stink sometimes. You will find that everywhere there is some scum that will take an idea. Tell you it won't work and later get a bonus for turning it in. But I'm not mad still.
That stirs up a memory. Don't most universities and colleges take ownership of the copyright of any submitted theses as part of the terms and conditions of membership? In which case it's not plagiarism even if your work is submitted under another name -- it's capitalism.
 
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Old 07-02-2014, 06:51 PM   #9
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Smile

I appreciate all the replies to my post. However, I sense that I was not explicit enough, and unwillingly stirred up some sensitive fibers there, which was not my intention.
Let me clarify a bit:
  1. I believe in, and daily support, in more ways than you may think, the Open Source movement. I am quite aware of the history and problems associated with "Intellectual Property", and why that whole concept (at least in its current incarnation) sucks.
  2. Having said that, academic careers (which involve grant funding) rely on the concept of authorship, and therefore its consistent attribution is important for any scholar these days.
  3. The oversimplified "vignette" or "parable" that I used to formulate my question had the sole purpose of laying out the context ("environment") to give you guys a feeling of the human relevance for what is, essentially, a technical question. So, dugan, if you don't like "A few months after", use "A few time-units after" instead (although, it appears that, at this point you're going to bite my head off anyways since you've already decided that I'm one of the bad guys... you obviously misread my post).
@jefro, I appreciate your cute sarcasm
@273, I can see that you too have experience working in academic research which allows you to understand where I'm coming from... your insight is right on
@Habitual, your answer is the best, and makes it clear: nothing implemented, just the law of the jungle, as usual... good to know
 
Old 07-02-2014, 07:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xri View Post
@273, I can see that you too have experience working in academic research which allows you to understand where I'm coming from... your insight is right on
I have to admit that I have not, at least directly. I just happen to spend some of my idle time reading and other parts of it talking to people.
I think you are talking about a distributed way of storing academic papers and the like so that somebody cannot take ownership later. I also think that that cannot be done as copyright is the only protection and that doesn't hold when it has to be handed over. To me that says that legal reform is needed not software -- you could prove that a professor made 20 million dollars from publishing a carbon copy of your paper but if your contract says that you gave away your copyright that means nothing.
(all simplified, of course)
 
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:24 PM   #11
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Also, apart from surrendering your rights to the institution at the moment when you take your job, you also surrender them to the journal when you submit your paper. If, on top of that, you consider that usually the Principal Investigator does not usually do the job (or, oftentimes, doesn't even know the techniques employed), you can understand how the whole thing has been carefully rigged. The crown jewel is the copyright construct, to protect the plunderers, not the creators.
 
Old 07-02-2014, 07:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
I think you are talking about a distributed way of storing academic papers and the like so that somebody cannot take ownership later.
No, he's talking about something much less workable. He wants a database of papers that are submitted for publication, regardless of whether they are accepted or published.

Last edited by dugan; 07-02-2014 at 07:34 PM.
 
Old 07-02-2014, 07:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
No, he's talking about something much less workable. He wants a database of papers that are submitted for publication, regardless of whether they are accepted or published.
He or she...
I don't disagree with you but I'm trying to envisage a working idea.
 
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:45 PM   #14
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
He or she...
I don't disagree with you but I'm trying to envisage a working idea.
Well, the purpose of the repository would be to serve as evidence when you claim that someone at the journal you submitted your paper to stole it, right? If the repository is private, then its effectiveness for that would be greatly diminished, and if it's public, then submitting your paper to it would ensure that no publisher will ever look at your paper (because you've already published it).

Last edited by dugan; 07-02-2014 at 07:51 PM.
 
Old 07-02-2014, 07:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dugan View Post
Well, the purpose of the repository would be to serve as evidence when you claim that someone at the journal you submitted your paper to stole it, right? If the repository is private, then its effectiveness for that would be greatly diminished, and if it's public, then submitting your paper to it would ensure that no publisher will ever look at your paper (because you've already published it).
I thought the purpose was that it was a distributed repository, which may work to confirm ownership. However, as you and others have mentioned that is likely not the solution.
 
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