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Opinions about plagiarized paper on an academic website

d123

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Hi,

I have a quandary: I mind my own business in life in general, however, yesterday I read AN-1075 (dated 2008) by Matthew Kessler at Analog Devices which starts with detailed description of Zeta converters (and ends with usual description of circuit using part made by same company, as most app notes end). About 30 minutes later I then read a purportedly academic report about Zeta converters by a person who has published several papers on a website of publicly-available research papers (along lines of IEEE but mostly free content) and to my surprise, this person's paper is the AD app note copy-pasted word for word and image for image but without the end section about the AD IC and Zeta circuit - at no moment do they cite Matthew Kessler or AD and appear to be trying to pass this work off as their own. This is clearly wrong, dishonest, cheating, intellectual property theft, ...whatever words fit.

What should a person do? Email AD? Email the plagiarist? Email the academic repository website? Do nothing?
 

stenzer

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Hi,

what are the titles of the papers you are talking? I'm especially interested in that availabe at IEEE, because someone may expect "high" quality and of course a plagiarism check, at least a plagiarism check is always mentioned when uploading a paper at IEEE. I'm also interested if it is a conference publication or in a journal. I have noticed a couple of times that almost similar papers by the same author/research groups are submitted and publicated by different publishers. Most times the differences are minor, but at least they are "reusing" their own work, but that's also not really ethical, especially if the related/similar work is not cited.

I once attended a talk at an IEEE conference, where a plagiarism-incident was discussed. A journal paper was resubmitted by an other group for a conference, and it was accepted and published. It seems it took quite a time until this was mentioned, and it took a couple of years (I can't remember how long 2~3??) until the committee decided to suspend the author (group) for paper submissions (for some years) at IEEE.

So I think a plagiarism seems to be tempting for (some "kinds" of) PhD students, because until some action/decision have been made, he might has finished his PhD. How a doctoral thises based on such methods passes a plagiarism check is an other question.

I think all of your mentioned actions are appropriate except doing nothing. I think I would start with AD / Matthew Kessler especially as it seems it takes pretty long until the publisher penalize such an article (at least IEEE). Maybe AD / Matthew Kessler are not bothered at all.

greets
 
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dick_freebird

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There is a large scandal simmering right now, about
Russian academics multi-publishing, "self-plagiarizing"
and flat out plagiarizing. Especially rampant in Russian
publications, but likely spilling over anywhere that can
be taken advantage of.

I wouldn't bet that they are the only ones.
 

BradtheRad

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You're correct on the face of it. However it would take more research to get the entire story.

* Example, to find out whether the original author gave permission for his work to be included among other works uncredited.

* Example, did the presumed guilty party ask an assistant to find an article about Zeta converters, which then found its way into a collection of generic app notes (being that it's an app note), uncredited?

* Example, is there an assistant (colleague, etc.) who has sinister motives? (Rather than the presumed guilty party?)

* Example, does Analog Devices hold the legal copyright, and gives general permission for the app note to be copied-and-pasted, with advice to include its logo, or its brand, etc., somewhere in the reprint?

-----------------------

Each of the authors involved has a great deal to lose. For someone that's prominent in his field it's unlikely he'd knowingly engage in intellectual theft.

I'm not sure about the best way to follow up on your suspicions, which party to contact first, what details to give, what questions to present.
 

c_mitra

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What should a person do? Email AD? Email the plagiarist? Email the academic repository website? Do nothing?
Doing nothing is not an option.

You need to make sure that the author has not given credit for the extensive "copy-paste"; what is fair is rather subjective.

First you must contact the publishers: they have taken from the authors some kind of formal declaration.

If figures or diagrams are copied, mention clearly that the original source have not been acknowledged.

There is a group (in the US but they work all over the world) who are working on the various aspects of plagiarism. But I am unable to recall the name...

If the academic repository website does not respond, you need to write to the author and the employer.

But frankly I do not know what will be the outcome.
 

d123

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Hi,

Thanks for input. Lots to discuss in replies...

Important is that it is not on IEEE, it is a website that serves a similar purpose - it is a repository of academic and other papers and a place to look for research grants and have bundles of collated material you are interested in put together to save you time searching article by article, if you become a paying member. In principle it seems a useful and serious website/organization.

It's different to a company producing an app note as part of a product launch, and a version of the app note appearing in engineering magazines as part of the legitimate marketing and (hopefully) sales strategy.

I agree, it's complicated, maybe author and AD don't care, maybe actual author is this person and maybe they asked for permission. I doubt it's sinister, just lazy and cheeky.

My feeling is that if you write something in your own name, a) cite the source(s) and b) paraphrase the content you are copying enough for it to be your own words but don't literally copy paste and only change a couple of words in each paragraph - that's we all did as children of 9 years old for school assignments when we were intellectually incapable of synthesizing information into our own ideas...

And I agree, I'll bet they aren't the only ones, from students to senior academics this is such a widespread practice which must be frustrating for those who did the actual work.

Maybe best is to contact AD and let them decide what to do as contacting suspect plagiarist is unlikely to resolve anything - average person would deny it, I think.

Thanks.
 

BradtheRad

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website of publicly-available research papers (along lines of IEEE but mostly free content)
Many of these 'free' websites are suspect as carriers of malware. Not to say it necessarily applies here, but the attraction does provide a means for parties known and unknown to attach malware to uploaded documents.

Again, I don't mean to definitely implicate anyone discussed here.
 

d123

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Hi Brad,

Yes, I think that's a concern for anyone doing research or leisure reading of any kind these days.
 

d123

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Hi,

Thanks, interesting read. 'Guest authorship' is a new concept for me... These type of things must be so common everywhere.
 

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