Chinese journal finds 31% of submissions plagiarized

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
467,
Page:
153
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/467153d
Published online

Since October 2008, we have detected unoriginal material in a staggering 31% of papers submitted to the Journal of Zhejiang University–Science (692 of 2,233 submissions). The publication, designated as a key academic journal by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, was the first in China to sign up for CrossRef's plagiarism-screening service CrossCheck (Nature 466, 167; 2010).

We are therefore campaigning for authors, researchers and editors to be on the alert for plagiarism and to work against cultural misunderstandings. In ancient China, for example, students were typically encouraged to copy the words of their masters.

To this end, we have given lectures and written three papers (including Y. H. Zhang Learn. Publ. 23, 914; 2010) that have been widely publicized in China's media (see http://go.nature.com/dPey7X; in Chinese) and reported in CrossRef's quarterly online news magazine (see http://go.nature.com/icUwvh). Our website displays the CrossCheck logo to remind authors of their responsibilities.

Other Chinese journals are also policing plagiarism, using software launched in 2008 by China's Academic Journals Electronic Publishing House and Tongfang Knowledge Network Technology in Beijing.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Journal of Zhejiang University–Science, 38 Zheda Road, Hangzhou 310027, China
    jzus@zju.edu.cn

    • Yuehong Zhang

Author details

Comments

  1. Report this comment #13472

    Tommy Tong said:

    Plagiarism and citing others' work are different things. I believe scholars in ancient China cite rather than plagiarize (see the Analects of Confucius, for example). Plagiarism often has selfish connotations – such as monetary or other rewards, whereas citing others' work gives regards to the original author(s) and can be considered an act of generosity or respect. Plagiarism is a product of the reward-centered modern world.

  2. Report this comment #13474

    S.P. Li said:

    I was surprised to the title, and eager to know the details. However, I thought the author mislead the readers definitely according to the text. I don't think it is acceptable that the author used Chinese journal instead of Journal of Zhejiang University?Science.

  3. Report this comment #13483

    Z.D. Fisher said:

    From their website (http://www.zju.edu.cn/jzus/), Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE(A/B/C) are international peer-reviewed journals. They have a world-wide authorship. It is 'Chinese journal' (more accurately, 'a' Chinese journal) in the title, not necessarily meaning 31% of submissions of 'Chinese authors'.
    From this correspondence, we can see that some Chinese editors have realized this problem and made their efforts to struggle with misconduct.

  4. Report this comment #13508

    Keming Cui said:

    I agree with Tommy Tong and Z.D. Fisher. Ancient China cite rather than plagiarize. And it is 'Chinese journal' (more accurately, 'a' Chinese journal) in the title, not meaning 31% of submissions of 'Chinese authors'.

  5. Report this comment #13528

    Helen Zhang said:

    Actually, the letter?s title is "Policing plagiarism in China is helped by innovative software" in the author final proof version. But, the current title was a last-minute change by the Nature editor without asking the author to proof at. Author has stressed the current title is not suitable to its content to the editor who replied to ?I am very sorry but I'm afraid that your letter has already been printed and it is too late to change the title. Because your letter mentions only JZUS, we expect it will be clear to the majority of readers that the 31% figure refers only to that journal?.
    Up to now, author still insists on the first title shows the letter?s main meanings here.

    Frankly speaking, we have to admit the fact that some authors believe that, with a full citation, it is reasonable to copy whole paragraphs from other papers, or cut-and-paste from other?s beautiful sentences is also all too common, which was not regarded as a misconduct due to the orient traditional culture difference.

  6. Report this comment #13544

    w k said:

    The author is just like a tabloid writer, using some extremely exaggerating title to arouse reader attention.
    Just ask you one question: if you get a ticket for speeding, are you a lifetime criminal?

  7. Report this comment #13546

    w k said:

    Apologize to Helen Zhang, author of this article.
    Nature editor is the one deserving criticism.

  8. Report this comment #13547

    Han Wu said:

    First, I also think the title is misleading too much.
    Second, I do believe most of the so called "Plagiarism" is caused by culture difference and the lack of appropriate "education", not in the scientific part. But in order to get you stuff published, you have to learn and follow the rules.
    Third, ''Plagiarism" is everywhere now, which deserves better attention.

  9. Report this comment #13639

    Rosalind Cotter said:

    Rosalind Cotter said: As Correspondence editor, I would like to clarify why we made a last-minute change to the headline of Dr Yuehong Zhang's letter. In fact, authors are warned in advance of publication that Nature reserves the right to change a headline after authors have seen their proof (see our guidelines to authors on our website).
    In this case, we felt that the replacement headline 'Chinese journal finds 31% of submissions plagiarized' better encapsulated the point of the letter. This headline is accurate, and use of the singular makes it clear that the figure refers to a specific journal, rather than to Chinese journals generally.

  10. Report this comment #14121

    Zhongyu Hou said:

    Cited Rosalind Cotter's comment: 'This headline is accurate, and use of the singular makes it clear that the figure refers to a specific journal, rather than to Chinese journals generally.' The use of singular is just like a game of word here. Based on the response of the readers commented, including Tommy and others, I believe that a large portion of the Nature's readers would glance the headline without cares about the details or just take the JZU as an example of all CN journals. It is an advertising title, just admit it. I am especially shocked by the confuse of the author about the differences between citing and plagiarising. Maybe the editorial does not intend to, but the effect of this comment is negative, although I plause the criticism of all the bad side of Chinese academics if it is scientific at the first place.

  11. Report this comment #14124

    Yuesheng Xia said:

    The periodical influence power related to the manuscript plagiarizing

    Plagiary presents abuse in scientific circles, serious influence scientific good faith. Every year numerous magazines from all over the world may receive a great quantity and different degree plagiarizing manuscript, but is not only China's magazine. Entertaining, the magazine influence is more higher, manuscript plagiarizing rate is more lower. Perhaps people should have paid more attention to the marked influential magazine, the improper conduct was discovered easily, thus weaken the plagiarist's courages to contribute high-end magazines and like Nature, Science. Once the matter is discovered, plagiarist's prestige immediately crashes into the hell. Hence, more plagiarizers quickly congregated round the low influence magazines, just like the thieves frequently approach the small markets, Seldom flash in Zhong Nan Hai or the White House.
    Yuesheng Xia, Yongqi Li. Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, China

  12. Report this comment #14147

    w k said:

    Cited Rosalind Cotter's comment: 'This headline is accurate, and use of the singular makes it clear that the figure refers to a specific journal, rather than to Chinese journals generally.'
    Do you really mean this when you wrote the title?

    Cited Helen Zhang said: Actually, the letter?s title is "Policing plagiarism in China is helped by innovative software" in the author final proof version.
    This title has a completely different meaning from the current title.
    So dear editor: Do you really understand what the author is trying to tell? Is it fair?

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