Plagiarism and Ethics of Knowledge: Evidence from International Scientific Papers

Journal of Information Ethics 23 (1):101-110 (2014)
Today, the speed at which science and technology is progressing around the world is so fast that any lag in this race may result in irrevocable consequences for certain countries. For emerging scientific powers such as Iran, this issue is a matter of the country's reputation. This study seeks to investigate plagiarism in different fields of science in Iran. With the growing number of scientific publications in Iran, several reports about the increase of plagiarism in Iranian academia have been published. Hence, the current study aims to investigate whether there is any difference between plagiarism volumes in different fields of study in Iran. If so, what about other countries? Specifically, we will examine if there is any significant difference in these statistics among five countries: Iran, United States, Turkey, Australia, and China.We analyzed one percent of the articles published by Iranian researchers in international journals in 2010 and 50 articles by authors from the United States, Turkey, Australia and China . Our tool was the premium version of a plagiarism checker software named Dustball. Using the software, we could detect the exact percentage of copy and pasted text from other sources.Our results show that there was no trace of plagiarism in 6 out of 27 fields under consideration for Iranian papers. Unfortunately, most cases of plagiarism were reported in three scientific fields, with medicine on top of the list. Generally, there were 8 fields with plagiarism of 30 percent or more. Our results for other countries illustrate that in medicine, the United States, Turkey, Australia and China had a plagiarism rate of 18 percent, 38 percent, 32 percent and 36 percent respectively and the rate in the field of engineering was 12 percent, 34 percent, 28 percent, 36 percent respectively. The paper suggests that more frequent instances of plagiarism in Iranian articles are due to the unawareness of the international standards of science writing and editing. According to our interesting results about other countries, we find that in the field of engineering, Iran with an 11 percent plagiarism rate has the best situation even relative to the United States with 12 percent but in medicine Iran has the higher rate .The main limitation is this study pertains to the validity of the plagiarism checker software. In Iran, access to strong and free plagiarism checker software is not provided. However, for covering this limitation, we purchased an account from Dustball that offers 3 times more powerful detection. Moreover, while the application of the above-mentioned software might be considered a limitation for this study, the software tends to under-report the plagiarism percentage in scientific papers
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DOI 10.3172/JIE.23.1.101
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