Friday, May 29, 2009

Duplicate publications: we findz them

Deja vu finds duplicate publications. These might be cases of plagiarism, or of an author or authors publishing the same thing twice. For some it might have been an easy way to pad out the CV--just publish the same paper in journals in different fields and hope no one notices. But that party is over. Here's a random example.

Oops.

Warn your lazy colleagues! Or don't, and have fun catching them out. Whatever.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Bill Parker said...

I know of a good number of Triassic papers that would be just perfect for this type of thing.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Dr. Vector said...

Thought ya might!

Now, if only you had some kind of online forum where you could announce this stuff. Some kind of log, but on the web. Y'know what I'm sayin'?

;-)

10:02 PM  
Blogger TheBrummell said...

This is very interesting. Your example was basically 100% identical. Big chunks of identical text interspersed with different stuff I could believe represents a mistake or laziness (possibly driven by tight deadlines). But something like this, full identity of title and abstract, seems clearly unethical.

I bookmarked the site, and I'm going to try to get into the habit of feeding the occasional paper I read through it. Is there any indication of how widespread differnt forms of self-plagiarization are, maybe in different disciplines?

1:27 PM  
OpenID archosaurmusings said...

One comment I would have is to beware of introductions. Since pterosaurs aren't that well know pretty much all my pterosaur papers are started with a sentence or three along the lines of "Pterosaurs are extinct Mesozoic ornithodians that lived from the Late Triassic to the end Cretaceous, and were the first vertebrates to evolve powered flight". All the papers are different, but there's only so many ways you can rewrite that sentence and keep all the information in there for a given person's writing style.

4:06 AM  
Blogger Dr. Vector said...

Sure! Mike is always going on about how EVERY. SAUROPOD. PAPER. EVER. PUBLISHED starts with some variant of, "Sauropods were the largest terrestrial animals of all time and their large sizes and long necks pose challenges to paleobiological explanation."

Fortunately, Deja Vu gives you the similarity index of the entire article, and IIRC only reports those with very high similarity scores, say 65% or higher. So what you're describing should never trip the system. Furthermore, suspected cases of plagiarism (or self-plagiarism) are only flagged by the software. They still have to get vetted by humans.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

Very interesting case! I did find at least one paleo-related example (an article by Dave Raup) that is a simple mistake in reference collation. They claim his paper "The case for causes of extraterrestrial extinction" is a duplicate citation, where in fact it is just two entries of the same article (down to page numbers, volume, and journal) within Medline. I've submitted a request to Deja Vu to update their records accordingly.

At any rate, it is cool to see something like this coming together. . .the practice of duplicate publication is distressingly common, particular in the medical field.

7:20 AM  

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