New Policy Aims to Curb Plagiarism

All IEEE articles are to be screened by plagiarism-detection software

12 April 2013
Business Plagiarism Illustration: Mark Airs/iStockphoto

In its efforts to ensure the quality of articles in the IEEE Xplore digital library, the Board of Directors in November approved a new policy to combat plagiarism. All IEEE-copyrighted content, including journal articles and conference proceedings, must be run through plagiarism-detection software before it is uploaded to IEEE Xplore.

The new policy is in response to a growing plagiarism problem. In the last three years, the number of reported plagiarism cases has nearly doubled, according to Bill Hagen, manager of IEEE Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), the department in Piscataway, N.J., that deals with plagiarism complaints. In 2012, there were 255 such charges, up from 135 in 2009.

IEEE has implemented a new policy and procedure to make it easier for editors to check for plagiarism.

All articles uploaded to the ScholarOne manuscript submission system are now being automatically checked for plagiarism. Before, such checking was left to the discretion of a publication’s editor. CrossCheck, the plagiarism-detection tool, had been available to all IEEE editors for free since 2009, requiring them to manually upload the articles they wish to check. Now all articles will be submitted automatically to CrossCheck from ScholarOne—it’s only up to the editor to decide when to do this: upon submission, upon acceptance for publication, or even at both stages. There is still no charge for using the tool.

 “Automating this process is a significant development toward IEEE’s overall effort to screen all its publications for plagiarism,” Hagen says. “When it was voluntary, only about half the content was checked, but now all of what’s going through ScholarOne will be checked.”

IEEE is one of more than 60 scholarly publishers that submit manuscripts to CrossCheck. The system compares a manuscript’s full text with its vast database of academic and technical papers. CrossCheck then generates a similarity report flagging manuscripts with too high a percentage of content identical to previous works.

When CrossCheck finds that 30 percent or more of a manuscript is similar to previously published content, an e-mail alert and a similarity report are sent to the volunteer editor and an IPR Office CrossCheck staffer. If the staff member and the editor determine that the similarity indicates a degree of plagiarism has indeed occurred, the problem paper will be rejected.

Almost all IEEE journal editors use ScholarOne, but many conference-proceedings editors use other systems. That’s why IEEE is also rolling out CrossCheck Portal, a Web-based version of the CrossCheck software that will be available for free to editors of IEEE conference proceedings and journals. This tool is expected to be available later this year.

To learn more about the importance of combating plagiarism,you can download a PDF of “Pitfalls of Publications: On the Sensitive Issue of Plagiarism,” [IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Volume 19, issue 4], available for free in IEEE Xplore.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Learn More