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International Research Community Stands up to Plagiarism

Posted by David Rothschild on Feb 16, 2011 1:12:00 PM

international research‘International research community’ is a term you hear quite often; referring to a global consortium of researchers working together towards a common discovery. 

As far as scientific research goes, it truly is an international effort.  Scientists and universities are known to embrace the research of foreign institutions or scientists with open arms. 

The US, Europe, India and China are only a few of the major players to contribute to a variety of fields of research and are constantly expanding with a greater number of PhD students enrolling in the sciences.

Although a global effort is integral to advancing scientific research, there are a few barriers in the way of truly embracing an international research community. 

One large obstacle is the constant threat of plagiarism within grant proposals and research manuscripts.

Plagiarized papers that freely steal from other works and don’t properly cite sources not only discredit researchers and universities, but also sully the reputations of entire countries.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that research institutions in different countries have various standards and rules of enforcement on plagiarism.  Not only do the institutions vary on the proper methods for handling plagiarism, but they also differ in their stances on what constitutes plagiarism. 

Last year, Nature Publishing Group cited one specific Chinese science journal, the Journal of Zhejiang University–Science A&B, reported a 31% incidence of plagiarism in all papers published since 2008. This journal is considered an integral part of the country’s scientific research efforts, and as is such took the initiative to become the pioneering Chinese user of CrossCheck:  Powered by iThenticate.

Although there are some major plagiarism problems in international research efforts, many international organizations are following Zhejiang University’s lead and implementing new policies to ensure the highest standard of research integrity. 

China’s nationally-run Ministry of Science and Technology recently took some steps in the right direction by revoking a science prize from a top researcher from the touted Xi’an Jiaotong University.  Scientest Li Liansheng won the ministry’s second-prize in 2005 for his apparent ground breaking research into scroll compressors. It was recently found that much of his research was copied from other scientists without providing proper attribution.

From Asia One News:

“News that the ministry is stripping him of his award for scientific and technological progress comes three years after six colleagues first claimed that the energy and power studies expert had plagiarized the work of others.  Wan Gang, the minister of science and technology, had earlier vowed that there would be a “zero tolerance” policy toward research frauds and academic plagiarism amid growing criticism about the country’s academic integrity.”

The fact that the minister is placing  importance on preventing plagiarism not only shows China’s new found commitment to the issue, but also a greater trend towards a global “due diligence” for creating original research.  

Although this stance may often be in response to criticism or previous problems with plagiarism – it does represent an overall shift in attitude.

Technology also is continually playing a bigger role in the global research community’s growing commitment to academic integrity. 

Many organizations and institutions are now implementing screening processes for paper submissions by utilizing cutting-edge plagiarism software solutions.

iThenticate’s plagiarism detection software is currently being used to screen research coming out of a variety of countries.   Not only does this use of technology improve each specific publication or piece of research by weeding out duplicate content, but it also bolsters the entire body of scholarly research.  

Through the continued use of innovative technology as well an enhanced understanding on the pitfalls of plagiarism, the international research community can expect a bright future.


“China: Plagiarism prof stripped of prize” 11 February 2011. Asia One News. Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

Zhang, Yuehong. “Chinese journal finds 31% of submissions plagiarized” Nature Publishing Group. 9 September 2010.

“Plagiarism in China” iParadigms LLC. 27 October 2010.