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Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B 2013 Vol.14 No.4 P.355-358


Be careful! Avoiding duplication: a case study

Author(s):  Yue-hong (Helen) Zhang, Xiao-yan Jia, Han-feng Lin, Xu-fei Tan

Affiliation(s):  Journals of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE (A/B/C), Hangzhou 310027, China

Corresponding email(s):   jzus@zju.edu.cn

Key Words:  CrossCheck, Bioscience papers, Case study, Plagiarism, Method section, Similarity index

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Yue-hong (Helen) Zhang, Xiao-yan Jia, Han-feng Lin, Xu-fei Tan. Be careful! Avoiding duplication: a case study[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science B, 2013, 14(4): 355-358.

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In bioscience papers, besides the other scientific misconduct issues, replication of the method section is a common problem because duplication is always being detected in the section Materials and Methods. We editors often receive comments and queries from authors who think that it is a matter of course to copy their own published materials as opposed to copying those of others. How should editors handle such papers with similar content in the method section and how to guide authors in writing the method section without being accused of plagiarism? What is right? What is wrong? Here we studied an example to explain this problem.

Darkslateblue:Affiliate; Royal Blue:Author; Turquoise:Article


[1]Jia, X.Y., Zhang, Y.H., 2013. Problem of duplication in the method section in bioscience papers: Part 2. China Publishing Journal, 309:6-8 (in Chinese).

[2]Jia, X.Y., Tan, X.F., Zhang, Y.H., 2013. Replication of the method section in biosciences papers: is it plagiarism? Scientometrics, in press.

[3]Lin, H.F., Zhang, X.X., Zhai, Z.Y., Wu, X.F., Zhang, Y.H., 2009. Using CrossCheck to protect original scientific research writing against academic misconducts. Chinese Journal of Scientific and Technical Periodicals, 20(4):580-584 (in Chinese).

[4]Lin, H.F., Jia, X.Y., Zhang, Y.H., Zhang, C.J., Jin, M.Q., Zhang, X.X., Zhai, Z.Z., 2011. Guarantee academic originality: duty of journal editors—workflow and analysis with CrossCheck of JZUS (A/B/C). Chinese Journal of Scientific and Technical Periodicals, 22(3):328-333 (in Chinese).

[5]Meddings, K., 2010. Credit where credit’s due: plagiarism screening in scholarly publishing. Learned Publishing, 23(1):5-8.

[6]Tan, X.F., Zhang, Y.H., 2013. Problem of duplication in the method section in bioscience papers: Part 1. China Publishing Journal, 309:3-5 (in Chinese).

[7]Zhang, Y.H., 2010a. Chinese journal finds 31% of submissions plagiarized. Nature, 467(7312):153.

[8]Zhang, Y.H., 2010b. CrossCheck: an effective tool for detecting plagiarism. Learned Publishing, 23(1):9-14.

[9]Zhang, Y.H., Jia, X.Y., 2012. A survey on the use of CrossCheck for detecting plagiarism in journal articles. Learned Publishing, 25(4):292-307.

[10]Zhang, Y.H., McIntosh, I., 2012. How to stop plagiarism: blacklist repeat offenders? Nature, 481:22.

[11]Zhang, Y.H., Jia, X.Y., 2013. Republication of conference papers in journals? Learned Publishing, in press.

Open peer comments: Debate/Discuss/Question/Opinion

1 <2>

Anonymous@No address<wangling199858@163.com>

2013-04-23 21:27:30

It is good suggest.

Yan-yan Li@First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University<lyynjmu123@126.com>

2013-04-23 21:06:02

It is a good discussion on the duplication issue.


2013-04-23 20:15:03

I recommend the citation of publication in such cases.

LIU Shu-Sheng@Zhejiang University<shshliu@zju.edu.cn>

2013-04-23 18:14:20

I like the article. It provides a clear and constructive guideline for avoiding duplication in the Methods section.

burcu hazer@No address<burcuhazer@hotmail.com>

2013-04-22 19:36:49

Dear Editor

I do agree with most of the comments present here. In some occasions the methodology of the experiment is almost the same with literature. If the author put the methodology in his/ her words and cite the related literature then it will not become plagiarism. But the discussion and conclusion section of a manuscript are unique if it is present in these sections then it should be stated so.


2013-04-22 02:10:41

Dear editor

The topic of discussion is very interesting. I however believe unless there is something very new most of the methods on similar topics are almost similar or even sometimes they have similar wordings except for minor modifications or changes. Most of these changes or modifications are in write ups-not in methods themselve. Even sometimes some researchers just fill in the blanks by replacing the other biological product with their own.

The most important thing is weather the authors adjusted the new biological material at the right place? If the authors are clear enough and their results are different from the one described earlier. I will not count it as plagirsim. I n the scientific literature one plagiarise if he copies his results. His conclusion is copied etc. If the authors give reference to every thing that he has cited including self citations there is no problem.

TAO@No address<No mail>

2013-04-20 17:19:53

Very meaningful guidance

wei hong@zhejiang cancer hospital<hwya192@hotmail.com>

2013-04-19 21:34:43

It is quite useful for us!

Rajasekaran@VIT University<drcrs70@gmail.com>

2013-04-19 18:06:51

Dear sir

The paper entitled "Be careful Avoiding Duplication: A case Study". Materials and methods is either following existing protocols or slightly do modification so it our moral duty to cite the investigator/ inventor name eg: Protein estimation is done by using method of Broadford 1976) or mention the modifications and cite the authors is ethically correct. If any of the above said things is mission then only it became plagiarism.

WIth best regards

Dr. Rajasekaran

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