Nature has an astonishing news article reporting that there are many scientific papers that are duplicates of other papers.
When Eric Le Bourg, a French biogerontologist, came across a paper in a Korean journal recently, he almost fell off his chair; the entire article — text and graphs included — had been taken from one of his earlier articles. "It was plagiarism from beginning to end," he says. "I was astonished; it was pure cut and paste."Le Bourg's paper was published in Experimental Gerontology. The duplicate by Hak-Ryul Kim at the biology department of Korea University was published a year later in the Korean Journal of Biological Sciences. According to the Nature article, Le Bourg and the editors of Experimental Gerontology contacted authorities at Korea University but got no response.
Such blatant copying of an entire article is not unknown, says Harold Garner, a researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Garner's team has used its eTBLAST text-matching software to build Deja Vu, a continually updated database that already holds some 75,000 abstracts listed in Medline that seem highly similar. His team has so far found dozens of near-100% clone papers.
Garner estimates that among the 181 papers they have identified so far as duplicates, 85% of the text is similar on average, but one-quarter share close to 100%. For a full list of the most similar pairs of articles, click here.
The last paragraph of the article is worth noting.
When confronted with their plagiarism, some researchers can be brazen. One offender, whose paper shared 99% of its text with an earlier report, wrote to Garner: "I seize the opportunity to congratulate [the authors of the original paper] for their previous and fundamental paper — in fact that article inspired our work."Scientists tend to be reluctant to openly point out wrong doings of other scientists. But an offender's comment like this would be enough to break their mental barrier.