New Tool Checks IEEE Publications For Plagiarism

Makes checking submitted manuscripts for plagiarism or responding to accusations of such misconduct easier

5 February 2010

There were 135 charges of plagiarism brought last year against authors who submitted manuscripts to or had papers published in IEEE journals and conferences. That might not seem like a lot when you consider the tens of thousands of papers IEEE published in 2009. But each instance not only threatens an author’s career, it also tarnishes the reputation of an IEEE journal, conference, or society.

Checking submitted manuscripts for plagiarism, or responding to accusations of such misconduct after a paper is published can be a long, labor-intensive process, as IEEE volunteers and staff must put in a great deal of effort to review and adjudicate each case. That’s why IEEE has adopted CrossCheck, a plagiarism-detection tool. CrossCheck is the result of efforts by two well-known and experienced organizations: CrossRef promotes the use by publishers of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), and iParadigms, which many professors and students might know from their use of, a plagiarism-prevention service for academia.

IEEE started using CrossCheck on a trial basis in mid-2009 and rolled it out at the end of the year for editors who use Manuscript Central, the online manuscript-submission system.

“Because CrossCheck is now available through Manuscript Central, it creates a lot of time and labor efficiencies for editors,” says Bill Hagen, manager of IEEE Intellectual Property Rights, the department in Piscataway, N.J., that deals with plagiarism complaints. “It’s a convenient, automated process that can review a large number of manuscripts at once.”

The biggest advantage of CrossCheck over other plagiarism-detection tools is its scope, Hagen says. More than 60 publishers, including Elsevier and Oxford University Press, submit their publications to CrossCheck, making it one of the largest databases of academic and scholarly papers. It also includes more than 6 billion Web pages. Because IEEE participates in CrossCheck, the system also will help safeguard papers from IEEE publications from being plagiarized and submitted to other publishers, Hagen says.

The full text of manuscripts submitted to CrossCheck is compared to its vast database of published literature, with the system looking for what it calls “similarities.” After examining a paper, the system ranks the paper, putting it into one of four categories. “Low-Level Non-Issues” includes papers that have a high number of commonly used phrases but are not considered to be plagiarized. “False Alarms” is the label given to those that display possible high similarity levels but not from any one source. “Hidden Problems” refers to manuscripts that contain many similar phrases from a single source and should therefore be reviewed by an editor. “High Percentage Problems” is the designation given to papers that the system considers to be plagiarized.

More than 16 IEEE societies are using CrossCheck to examine the manuscripts submitted to 24 journals and magazines and 30 conferences. Throughout 2010, there will be no cost to societies to use CrossCheck.

“We’re glad to see so many societies embracing CrossCheck, because it helps to protect the integrity of IEEE’s publications program and, by extension, all of IEEE,” Hagen says.

For more information, contact Hagen.



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