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ORI Closes 2011 with Four Cases Involving Plagiarism

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Plagiarism is an issue that has plagued mankind for centuries.  Along with falsification and fabrication of data, the act of plagiarism constitutes research misconduct as defined by ORI. Although it's one of the three misconduct behaviors, it has historicially made up a small percentage of research misconduct findings by ORI, until recently.

In the final months of 2011, ORI closed four cases involving plagiarism.  Three of the four involved Respondents who engaged in plagiarism by copying large amounts of text. The fourth case is more interesting. It involves a principal investigator who approved three articles and one abstract that contained plagiarized text.  Although he may not have written (or copied) the materials himself, he was held accountable because he had prior knowledge of the plagiarized text within the articles. This was the first instance in which ORI made a finding of this type of  plagiarism.

Plagiarism has always been a concern within the research community but has always been difficult to detect and prove.  The recent emergence of plagiarism software has greatly facilitated the ability of universities, journals, and individual researchers to detect plagiarism and report it with confidence.

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