As a journal editor, you may have experienced cases where unattributed text overlap has been identified in a paper submitted to your journal, requiring you to take action. You may have been fortunate enough not to have experienced such a situation, but are concerned that, sooner or later, you will. So, what should you do if this does happen?
If an allegation of plagiarism or dual submission is brought to your attention, your Taylor & Francis Managing Editor is there to help and support you in investigating the issue – contacting them should be your first step.
When faced with a concern around plagiarism or dual submission, you may decide to utilize similarity detection software, such as Crossref Similarity Check. Editors can contact their Taylor & Francis Managing Editor at any time to have a paper run through Crossref Similarity Check similarity detection software. Crossref Similarity Check can help to provide a visual and quantifiable indication of text overlap of the manuscript in question, and thus is also helpful in informing your decision.
Your journal Editorial Board members can also be an invaluable asset when dealing with plagiarism investigations. Their subject specific knowledge is useful in assessing the novelty in suspect manuscripts, and conducting further evaluation of the paper and allegations when required. The considered opinions of board members may be of significant help in your decision making process.
Once the matter has been investigated, and if the allegations appear to be founded, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines suggest best practise is to contact the author(s) of the paper and request an explanation of the overlapping material.
Based on the investigation and reply from the author(s), a decision can be made as to how to proceed.
In terms of the decision you make, there are some key options you can consider:
- If a paper is still in peer review, your decision might be to send the paper back the author for revision, requesting they address the issues through appropriate citation, use of quote marks to identify direct quotes, or re-writing.
- If the similarity between the manuscripts is too extensive for revision, or if the paper is already published, a rejection or a retraction may be more appropriate.
The full range of COPE guides and resources are available to Taylor & Francis journal editors at all times. Useful guidelines include: