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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 211-212
Policy of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry on the problem of plagiarism

1 Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College Hospital, Mysore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangaluru, Karnataka, India

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Date of Web Publication12-Sep-2014

How to cite this article:
Sathyanarayana Rao T S, Andrade C. Policy of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry on the problem of plagiarism. Indian J Psychiatry 2014;56:211-2

How to cite this URL:
Sathyanarayana Rao T S, Andrade C. Policy of the Indian Journal of Psychiatry on the problem of plagiarism. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2014 [cited 2022 Nov 28];56:211-2. Available from:

Editors of journals frequently face academic and administrative problems, and sometimes ethical problems, as well; plagiarism, though uncommon, is one of these. Plagiarism is most simply defined as the misrepresentation of another's ideas or words as one's own, without acknowledgement of the original source. [1] The concept is broad, and includes plagiarism of concepts as well as plagiarism of text.

Plagiarism of original material may be total, or the guilty author may interlace his own words and ideas with those from the source, constituting what is known as mosaic plagiarism. Authors may also reproduce their own, previously published material; this is called self-plagiarism, and duplicate publication is an extreme example of such an act. [2]

The temptation to plagiarize may at least in part be driven by the pressure to publish for academic survival, poor language and composition abilities, lack of time, or a combination of these factors. Opportunities for plagiarism are increasing because of the greater availability of source materials through online resources. Whereas the full extent of plagiarism in biomedical literature is unknown because only glaring examples tend to be spotted, it is now becoming easier to detect copy-paste plagiarism of text through the use of software, some applications for which are freely available. [2]

Curiously, a large proportion of journals does not have a policy in place to address plagiarism. In December 2011, Bosch et al. [3] surveyed the misconduct policies of 399 high-impact biomedical journals in 27 biomedical categories of the Journal Citation Reports. They found that plagiarism was explicitly mentioned by only 56% of the journals, and plagiarism-checking services were used by only 28%.

The Indian Journal of Psychiatry did not have a formal plagiarism policy, earlier. However, there were two events which led to a revision of editorial policy. One was the identification of an almost word-for-word reproduction of an entire article on poverty, social stress, and mental health from one Indian journal [4] to another. [5] The other was the identification of the reproduction of significant quantities of text from a previously published book into a review in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, earlier this year. Fortunately, the latter instance of plagiarism was detected immediately after the journal was posted online and before the print issues were commissioned, and so it was possible for the article to be removed from both online and print editions of the journal.

In order that we do not face similar problems in the future, the Indian Journal of Psychiatry is instituting a policy on plagiarism. The Journal defines plagiarism as follows:

  1. Plagiarism of ideas is the presentation of the ideas of another author or group of authors without reference to the source.
  2. Plagiarism of text is the presentation of one or more sentences of text from another source without reference to the source.
  3. Self-plagiarism is the reproduction of one's own ideas, data, or text without reference to the source.

In this context, plagiarism will include a full sentence that is identical with that in another source, or several sentences in sequence that are substantially identical with those in another source. This will constitute plagiarism whether or not the source is referenced, unless the context necessitates the verbatim or near-verbatim reproduction of text.

The Journal is modifying the contributor declaration form to include a statement that the submission is original, does not infringe copyright, and does not contain text or ideas taken from another source without proper attribution and/or permission. The Journal will also require the authors to state, on the title page, the contributions of each author to the submitted work, so that the responsibility for writing the sections of the manuscript is identified.

This Journal recognizes that there is a gray zone between what clearly constitutes plagiarism and what does not. For example, an author may independently conceive of and present an idea without knowing that it was previously published. Or, a plagiarized sentence may carry too little weight to justify the label of misconduct. Or, if the author is describing something that has not changed (e.g., a procedure), considerable overlap in wording may be inevitable. Other examples are also possible. This Journal also recognizes that the seriousness of misconduct will vary depending on the nature and extent of the plagiarism.

Should significant plagiarism in an article submitted to or published in the Journal be alleged, suspected, or detected, and if a prima facie case exists, the Editor of the Journal will constitute a committee to investigate the matter. If the committee believes that the plagiarism amounts to misconduct, the corresponding author will be contacted for an explanation. Further courses of action, in case the response is unsatisfactory, include one or more of several options. The Journal may contact the co-authors (if any) and inform the heads in the departments and institutes in which the corresponding author and co-authors work. The Journal may also blacklist the corresponding author and co-authors from future submissions to the Journal.

Other likely actions are that the Journal will publish an official apology, statement, explanation, or retraction, depending on the nature and extent of the alleged plagiarism and the outcome of the investigation. The Journal may communicate with the editor or publisher of the source from which the materials were plagiarized, informing the latter about the events. Finally, the Journal may also inform the funding agency, regulatory authorities, or other responsible bodies involved in the work.

These are not harsh measures. Scientific integrity brooks no compromises.

   References Top

1.Anderson MS, Steneck NH. The problem of plagiarism. Urol Oncol 2011;29:90-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Das N, Panjabi M. Plagiarism: Why is it such a big issue for medical writers? Perspect Clin Res 2011;2:67-71.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
3.Bosch X, Hernández C, Pericas JM, Doti P, Marušic A. Misconduct policies in high-impact biomedical journals. PLoS One 2012;7:e51928.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Kuruvilla A, Jacob KS. Poverty, social stress and mental health. Indian J Med Res 2007;126:273-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
5.Kumari S, Vishmita, Kiran M, Chaudhury S. Impact of poverty and social stress on mental health. RINPAS J 2011;3:132-8.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Dr. T S Sathyanarayana Rao
Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College Hospital, M. G. Road, Mysore - 570 004, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.140613

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