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NYQ Editor-in-Chief Sheds Light on Plagiarism and iThenticate

Posted by Robert Creutz on Jun 9, 2011 8:30:00 AM

nyqlogoWe recently had the opportunity to chat with Editor-in-Chief Raymond Hammond of the New York Quarterly Magazine, a publication that Rolling Stone has called "The most important poetry magazine in America", about his thoughts on plagiarism and his experience with iThenticate.

Here are the highlights of my interview with Mr. Hammond:

What led you to select iThenticate for your institution?

About four years ago, we had a very suspect case of plagiarism where we published a poem that was suspiciously similar to another poem, by a different poet, that had been published a number of years before in another journal.  After the legal issues began to settle, we immediately began researching ways that would enhance our due diligence in researching the poems that we were publishing. iThenticate fit the bill and we have subscribed ever since.

How do you use iThenticate in your role?

We vet each and every piece of writing that goes into the magazine through iThenticate.  As we put an issue together, we simply upload the entire issue into iThenticate and within minutes we have very detailed results. Luckily, we have not found another possible instance of plagiarism; however, we have found a number of previously published poems, where the author is recycling a previously published poem of their own through our
publication as new work, which, while not as heinous as plagiarism, could be equally damaging to the magazine's reputation.

What parts of iThenticate reports do you rely on most?

I have found iThenticate reports to be very thorough, easy to understand and accurate.  I first check the percentage of material that has been identified within the document, then I check the links provided to the source of identification of the material.  Immediately, I am able to see the context of the source material and make a decision as to whether the material has been plagiarised, previously published or simply quoted.

Do you have any interesting anecdotes about what you have uncovered with iThenticate? If not, any best practices on how you believe iThenticate should be used?

We had one poem that quoted a German song from the 1940s.  To my surprise, this poem came back as containing a high percentage of previously published material.  Upon investigating the report and especially upon glancing over the highlights of the similar material reported, it was obvious that iThenticate had picked up on every line that had been quoted from the original German song in the poem.  Of course this was fair use in quoting the song, but I was astonished that iThenticate picked up on the passages so accurately.

In another instance, we found a poem that had been published not once before, not twice before, but four times before over a time span of 30+ years.  And when the poet tried to claim that she had changed the poem significantly prior to submitting it to us for publication, I was able to show her the text of each prior publication as well as the iThenticate report that showed a big red 99% of matching material - end of story, end of her publishing with us.

Anything else you would like to share?

I am very pleased with iThenticate and highly recommend it to other literary magazines.

*Special thanks to Raymond for taking time out of his busy schedule to enlighten us. Read the New York Quarterly case study.