Correspondence

Nature 456, 30 (6 November 2008) | doi:10.1038/456030c; Published online 5 November 2008

Detectors could spot plagiarism in research proposals

Victor Maojo1, Miguel García-Remesal1 & Jose Crespo1

  1. Biomedical Informatics Group, Facultad de Informatica, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Boadilla del Monte, 28660 Madrid, Spain
    Email: vmaojo@gmail.com

Sir

Your News story 'Entire-paper plagiarism caught by software' (Nature 455, 715; 2008) follows other reports of systems to detect plagiarism (see M. Errami and H. Garner Nature 451, 397–399; 2008, and S. L. Titus et al. Nature 453, 980–982; 2008). Having all been involved in proposal evaluation, we believe the studies indicate that a text-matching analysis of research proposals could reduce plagiarism in subsequent publications.

For instance, when European Commission evaluators have met in the past to evaluate research proposals, they received printed copies which had to be returned before the panel members left, and had no computer access during deliberations. A plagiarism-detector using text-mining methods could be used instead of the current security measures. Such a system could, in principle, detect similarities to previous submissions and uncited sources using advanced document segmentation.

Only official agencies have access to confidential proposals and the funds to experiment with automated plagiarism-detectors. It is important that they should investigate these approaches to reducing the possibility of scientific misconduct.


Readers' Comments

If you find something abusive or inappropriate or which does not otherwise comply with our Terms and Conditions or Community Guidelines, please select the relevant 'Report this comment' link.

There are currently no comments.

Add your own comment

This is a public forum. Please keep to our Community Guidelines. You can be controversial, but please don't get personal or offensive and do keep it brief. Remember our threads are for feedback and discussion - not for publishing papers, press releases or advertisements.

You need to be registered with Nature and agree to our Community Guidelines to leave a comment. Please log in or register as a new user. You will be re-directed back to this page.