Survey Shows Plagiarism a Regular Problem in Scholarly Research, Publishing, But Action to Prevent Falls Short

Time, Cost, and "Not an Issue in My Work" Top Reasons for Not Checking for Plagiarism

OAKLAND, Calif., December 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A study of more than 400 researchers, authors, and editors at scholarly publications reveals that while most agree that plagiarism is a serious problem on the rise, tactics to prevent or detect plagiarism are often inconsistent or absent.

The survey, which was conducted by iThenticate, captured respondents' attitudes about and direct experience with plagiarism.

Nearly one in three editors encounters plagiarism "regularly." Overall, 95 percent of editors and 84 percent of researchers reported that they "occasionally" or "regularly" encounter instances of plagiarism. Sixty percent of those surveyed believe plagiarism is increasing.

"These results are a clear sign that plagiarism is no longer an under-the-radar behavior, and that those in scholarly publishing must now expect to encounter issues with duplication," said Chris Cross, general manager of iThenticate.

Researchers reported the highest level of concern, with more than one in four reporting that plagiarism is a "very serious" problem in their field. However, they were among the least likely of those surveyed to be utilizing plagiarism detection tools— nearly half report that they have never used professional plagiarism detection software.

Editors at scholarly publications were the exact opposite, with a majority reporting routinely checking submitting authors' work for plagiarism. A Nature article reported a 10-fold increase in the rate of article retraction over the past 20 years.

"There's a surprising disconnect here," added Cross. "Researchers are clearly worried about misconduct, but that concern isn't translating into consistent action."

When asked to rate factors that might deter a plagiarism check, three issues topped the list— time, cost and, perhaps most surprisingly, "don't believe plagiarism is an issue" in their own work. Editors were most likely to perceive time concerns as the leading deterrent (30 percent) whereas researchers perceived cost as the major barrier, at 24 percent. The factor that rated highest across all respondent groups was the belief that plagiarism wasn't an issue in their work, with 22 percent stating that as the leading reason to forego checking for plagiarism.

Learn more about the iThenticate plagiarism survey.

About iThenticate

iThenticate is the leading provider of professional plagiarism detection and prevention technology used worldwide by scholarly publishers and research departments to ensure the originality of written work before publication. iThenticate helps editors, authors and researchers prevent misconduct by comparing manuscripts against its database of over 24 billion web pages and 122 million content items, including 32 million published works from over 300 scholarly publisher participants of CrossCheck, a service offered by CrossRef® and powered by iThenticate software. iThenticate is developed by Turnitin, the leader in plagiarism and originality checking for educational institutions worldwide. The company is headquartered in Oakland, California with international offices in Newcastle, United Kingdom.

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