Doing a review of the literature for an article in my area of specialization in education. I came across two recent journal articles that were surprisingly similar at their core. One was co-written by Professors Alpha and Beta; the other by Professors Gamma and Beta.
The core section, which amounted to approximately a quarter of the text in Gamma and Beta’s article and almost half the text of the Alpha and Beta article, was identical, word for word. Yet neither article cited the other. The articles, both appearing during the current year, were in different refereed journals.
Applying these two levels of concern to the originating incident, it would seem that something has gone wrong here. According to Professor Gamma, whom I contacted based on my previous communication and his central role, 1) the longer, Gamma & Beta article was first, with Professor Beta writing the part at issue; 2) Professor Beta subsequently submitted the article, co-written with Professor Alpha, to the other journal, and 3) Professor Gamma, as an editor at the second journal, was admittedly “lax” in not checking it more closely. If Professor Gamma’s account is correct, Professor Beta merits the specific self-plagiarism charge of text recycling in light of the significant amount and core nature of the duplication without citation. I received no reply upon requesting Beta’s side of the story.
Self-plagiarism was at issue in one of the scandals at Southern Illinois University (SIU) with the reviewing body finally giving self-plagiarism a pass. In the law business, law firms sometimes give out multiple copies of the same opinion on a patent, charging a prime price for each (identical) opinion.