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Testing of Support Tools for Plagiarism Detection (Papers: Tomáš Foltýnek, et al | February 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 6, 2020

There is a general belief that software must be able to easily do things that humans find difficult. Since finding sources for plagiarism in a text is not an easy task, there is a wide-spread expectation that it must be simple for software to determine if a text is plagiarized or not. Software cannot determine plagiarism, but it can work as a support tool for identifying some text similarity that may constitute plagiarism. But how well do the various systems work? This paper reports on a collaborative test of 15 web-based text-matching systems that can be used when plagiarism is suspected. It was conducted by researchers from seven countries using test material in eight different languages, evaluating the effectiveness of the systems on single-source and multi-source documents. A usability examination was also performed. The sobering results show that although some systems can indeed help identify some plagiarized content, they clearly do not find all plagiarism and at times also identify non-plagiarized material as problematic.

text-matching software, software testing, plagiarism, plagiarism detection tools, usability testing

Foltýnek, T., Dlabolová, D., Anohina-Naumeca, A., Razı, S., Kravjar, J., Kamzola, L., Guerrero-Dib, J., Çelik, O. & Weber-Wulff}, D. (2020) Testing of Support Tools for Plagiarism Detection. arXiv
Publisher (Open Access):

(China) Chinese state censorship of COVID-19 research represents a looming crisis for academic publishers – London School of Economics Impact Blog (George Cooper | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on May 4, 2020

Issues of censorship surrounding the publication of scholarly research in China have been prominent since a series of press reports and publisher statements revealed that works had been removed from circulation that were deemed sensitive by Chinese buyers. As George Cooper observes, evidence that Chinese authorities are conducting pre-publication vetting of COVID-19 related research, raises new challenges for publishers seeking to distribute open access research papers on this subject, as there is little ground for publishers to remove these papers from their platforms. As publisher commitments to openness collide with their obligations to operate within the legal frameworks of the countries they operate in, it is argued that COVID-19 presages an overdue discussion on the limits of openness in publishing.

Earlier this month, the websites of Fudan University and the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan briefly revealed a system of pre-publication vetting of COVID-19 research. If accurate, these regulations could have far-reaching consequences, both for research communities in China, and for the global scholarly communications industry. The university notices, now removed, revealed requirements for China-based researchers to seek approval from China’s Ministry of Science and Technology before publishing research on the novel coronavirus, with a special emphasis on articles that pinpoint its origins. Publications will be vetted by government officials, who will assess both their ‘academic value’ and whether the ‘timing for publishing is right,’ raising the spectre of scholarly censorship that routinely shrouds research activities in China. 

For now, China’s restrictions on COVID-19 research apply only to domestic scholarship. But research in China on COVID-19 is published widely, often in high-impact, English-language journals. Given recent precedents, pre-publication restrictions could signal a shift in focus regarding the post-publication distribution of journal articles by non-Chinese scholarly publishers. In recent years, journal articles on topics such as persecution of the Uighur Muslim ethnic group in Xinjiang, civil unrest in Hong Kong, and the ‘three Ts’ – Tiananmen, Tibet and Taiwan – have come under intense scrutiny by Chinese state authorities. Cambridge University Press, Springer Nature, Sage and Taylor & Francis, in 2017 and 2018, were forced to navigate the demands of the General Administration of Press and Publications, rendering the distribution of research containing sensitive keywords, such as ‘Xinjiang’ and ‘Cultural Revolution’, illegal in China. These events led to accusations of censorship complicity, as some publishers took steps to remove or restrict access to sensitive articles on their Chinese-language platforms; whilst others had entire journals removed from circulation by Chinese research importers for refusing to ‘bowdlerize’ their online collections.

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(Australia) Medical journal fast-tracks free publication of COVID-19 research – ResearchProfessionalNews (Rosslyn Beeby | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 26, 2020

Rapid review ‘risks errors, but being too slow with information sharing is a bigger risk’

We’re seeing two encouraging signs from the COVID-19 pandemic: a marvellous sense of cooperation between researchers from around the globe; and greater respect of the analysis and warnings from researchers.  But as we’ve noted recently, there is a concern about the rush to publish and the risk of dangerous mistakes.

Australia’s leading peer-reviewed medical journal has launched a rapid online publication process for COVID-19 research papers and is providing free public access to these studies.

The Medical Journal of Australia has introduced the changes so that “the newest data and viewpoints are released as soon as possible”.

Nicholas Talley, the journal’s editor-in-chief, said the MJA had “stepped up to do its part in the crisis” by developing an ultra-rapid review of papers submitted to the journal.

The preprint papers are published on the MJA website in a section called Online First.


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(Australia) Thousands of researchers in Australia appear on editorial boards of ‘predatory’ journals – Nature Index (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | April 2020)0

Posted by Admin in on April 19, 2020

One in four said they were not aware of their names being used.

More than 3,700 researchers based at Australian institutions — roughly 7% of the country’s academic community — as of mid-2019 appeared on the editorial boards of journals that are potentially predatory.

Given the toxic effects of junk science these numbers are troubling.  What we find especially troubling is the three quarters who were aware their names are being used to prop up questionable publishers.  We have included links to 40 related items.

That’s the finding of a new study, which examined how often researchers affiliated with Australian universities are listed on the editorial boards of journals with ‘questionable’ reputations.

Conducted by Michael Downes, an independent researcher in Queensland, Australia, the study looked at the 1,165 “potential predatory publishers” identified by librarian Jeffrey Beall on his widely read but controversial blog. The blog was discontinued in 2017, but the list remains online.

According to Downes, one-third of these publishers have disappeared, haven’t thrived, or have become inactive since 2017. In addition to those that remain active, Downes identified 162 journals that he classified as potentially predatory.

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