Journal that “suffered” from plagiarism purges itself

pharmpractWhen Pharmacy Practice found out it had been victimized by plagiarists, it apparently took the news personally — and to heart.

In an elaborate statement with more than a dozen references — but not one to the plagiarizing work — the journal lashed out against the behavior of word thieves, and described the discovery as a Road to Damascus moment.

Here’s the notice, which was published in 2012 but was only just indexed on PubMed:

We regret to inform the readers that Pharmacy Practice suffered from a plagiarism case. After an author’s complaint, our internal investigation concluded that the article authored by Radhakrishnan RAJESH, Sudha VIDYASAGAR, Krishnadas NANDAKUMAR, entitled “Highly active antiretroviral therapy induced adverse drug reactions in Indian human immunodeficiency virus positive patients”, and published on Pharm Pract (Internet) 2011;9(1):48-55 (deliberately not included in this editorial’s references), plagiarized a complainant’s article.1

Following the Committee of Publication Ethics plagiarism flowchart2, we contacted the authors’; institution, the Principal of Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, communicating our concern. Few days later, we received a satisfactory resolution from the institution’ Scientific Misconduct Enquiry Committee. Additionally, offended author and editors-in-chief of the original publication journal and editors-in-chief of peer journals were also informed.

“There is nothing more debilitating in a journal editor’s life than to be involved in a discussion of a case of scientific misconduct”.3 The “publish or perish” threat was summarized long time ago by the statement: “In order to receive grants or promotions it is necessary for them [researchers] to keep their names in print over articles”.4 Unethical shortcuts exist, and unfortunately, journal editors have to act as cops.

After this first case of publication fraud identified in Pharmacy Practice, we establish a procedure to check all manuscripts for potential plagiarism prior to the external peer-review process. Through this investigative process we have learnt a lot. However, we also identified some pitfalls in the plagiarism concept.

The editors go on to discuss how to handle plagiarism, and the difficulties journals face.

7 thoughts on “Journal that “suffered” from plagiarism purges itself”

  1. Interestingly, all three authors appear to be faculty members. No student among the authors to pin the blame on!

      1. I am very wary of these journals and publishers who suddenly have a “consciousness awakening” moment. They suddenly detect a case of plagiarism, and then they are sold the concept of plagiarism, in what I think is a bid to increase the revenues of software. If this journal has any real “ethics”, then it has the responsibility of screening ALL back papers for plagiarism or selfplagiarism, and stop labelling “new” papers with this apparent sin. I see the rapid downfall of science publishing if journals and publishers only decide to start screening for plagiarism now (recent past) onwards and neglect to screen ALL back papers. If they do this, they may suffer a revolt from the scientific community as the victims pile up, precisely on this road to Damascus. Once again, I call on the scientific community to create a FREE effective lagiarism detection software, or expect alot of backlash from scientists who are being accused, and not just from the commenters at RW.

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