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I have recently discovered that several of my papers have been plagiarized in order to create one paper, and that this paper has been published at a conference. I informed the organizers of the conference and the editor, and there is now notice of violation attached to the online version of this paper, so this problem has been solved.

However, I came to know this paper only by accident (someone contacted my co-author, and told him that this paper looked a lot like ours), and potentially, we could have missed it. So my question is: are there some techniques I could use to detect such cases?

I don't think that it's possible to detect all cases in general (because sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish between inspiration and plagiarism, and I would actually be quite glad with being a source of inspiration) but can I at least detect the most blatant ones? (in this particular example, 3/4 of the paper was actually a copy/paste from ours, and they were citing some of our other papers).

Note that as a completely childish and probably useless reaction, I've actually stopped putting my papers on my webpage. I doubt it can solve the problem though, but at least I felt like doing something :)

1 Answer 1

Unfortunately, this is not really a problem you can solve yourself. There are simply too many journals behind individual paywalls (sometimes even in different languages) for you to be able to monitor this sort of thing by yourself.

On more of a philosophical note, I would argue that it's the responsibility of the journal editors to ensure that the papers they choose to publish are not plagarized from other works. They are the only ones who can really prevent it, as they are the ones who actually publish the papers; you, the author, reader, and sometimes reviewer, are just a consumer of their publication. Teachers and professors have access to resources such as TurnItIn.com; I'm not familiar with such a resource for academics, but I would definitely argue that it is the responsibility of the journals to ensure that every paper they publish is genuinely novel research. (This is not to say that the author has no responsibility; of course every researcher should publish ethically.)