Author: Ignacio Aguaded – Translation: Erika-Lucia Gonzalez-Carrion

Mentioning “plagiarism” is nearly citing an evil term with negative connotations, supposes, first of all denouncing that the intellectual activity is moving in directions far from ethics and the respect of the right to the authorship.

plagiarismSince the beginning of the history of the humanity, there has been the copy and the usurpers of property. The thief can steal utensils but also intellectual property: ideas, content, fragments of texts verbatim or even complete works.

The plagiarism has nothing to do with the citations. In the intellectual work all are heirs that have preceded and precisely the “review of literature”, the called “state of the art” is the first step of any serious research, because is this which locates you in the “state of the issue”. However, there is a saying that taking a little of many is “cite” and take a lot from very few is “copy”.

crosscheckThe copy is ethically reprehensible because apart from stealing intellectual property to other authors (even most of the times without citing them), is redundancy in the science, inflation… increasing the scientific production falsely because there is not originality, novelty… that are the basic premises of the scientific work of quality.

grammarlyThe new scientific search engines have revolutionized the systems of access to the information. A few years ago, the documentation was little accessible and focused in the libraries. Today Google and all the products of access to the scientific information generate us a problem of selection rather than access… But they also facilitate the legitimate “cite” of sources, such as the “copy” and “plagiarism” illegitimate and illegal.

Since a few years, especially in Germany, the investigation about plagiarized doctoral thesis has been encouraged. The results have been surprising since several Ministers of the federal Government have admitted because it was discovered that their works, by which they acceded to the grade of Doctor, were plagiarism of others done earlier. The same has happened recently in others countries as in Mexico and even very recently in Valencia (Spain). These explorations have focused still in high-ranking politicians but in the future it is expected that it is widespread throughout all the production. It is not to wonder that big surprises are upcoming…

turnitinToday not only the access to information has been universalized, but also we have powerful antiplagiarism systems that make endless searches in the universe of digital objects, with lexical searches of high refinement allowing to identify not only the texts cited but also their sources of origin. There are applications focused on academic works, in scientific articles, in literature… for the future, programs are expected to be more refined yet, able to read in several languages and especially that do semantic searches (beyond of them lexemes, capable of capturing ideas and content).

All high-level scientific journals have already regularized the use of such professional applications, so before publishing any work it is checked that that really it is an original and innovative product as they specify its rules and their authors agree, so that plagiarism is not only detected by copying of other authors but also (self plagiarism) when reproducing texts which are already published in other digital environments. For a scientific journal that seeks to publish original, innovative and shocking science, the self-plagiarism is also an evil endemic that is not permissible and that would lead to the rejection of the manuscript.

viper“Comunicar” maintains a specific section with programs anti-plagiarism, many of them are free or half- free that our readers can use to detect the degree of originality of their works ( From all of them, our editorial employs one professional licensed of the NorthAmerican Association CrossRef, called CrossCheck that, with a powerful search engine, checks the international scientific literature.

In summary, science has to be original, innovative and impactful; plagiarism navigates in the opposite direction, attempting even with the intellectual rights of the people. “Comunicar” 48, dedicated to “Ethics and plagiarism in scientific communication” ( can be a manual to go deep for these interesting topics. Recommended!

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