How do journals deal with plagiarism?

How journals deal with plagiarism

How do journals deal with plagiarism?

What is plagiarism? 

The action or practice of taking someone else’s work, word, or idea from sources outside your own and putting it across as novel is called plagiarism. More precisely, plagiarism is a phrase used in journalism and academia, as the praxis of representing the thought, language, or findings of another author/writer, intending to exercise it as authentic, or originating from self-thought. Plagiarism is considered unethical and an act of dishonesty in the law and ethics of journalism and academia. In academia and publishing industry, plagiarism is considered a serious ethical offense or fraud, and can lead to legal action against the guilty, if protected under copyright law. The consequences may depend on the kind of plagiarism committed. Academic plagiarism occurs when a writer uses more than four words from a printed source without using quotation marks and a precise reference to the original source of work.

Why is plagiarism unethical? 

Scholarly journals have a high reputation when it comes to publishing novel ideas, research findings, and results that represent the author’s original work in a clear and cogent manner. Scholarly journals take pride in advancing their specific scientific discipline, so they strive to publish only the most novel and exciting research findings. For this reason, scholarly journals have the responsibility to meticulously assess a manuscript before publishing in order to ensure the draft is free from any fabricated work or ideas, to avoid copyright violation, and to discourage research misconducts.  To that end, most research works are conducted and written through study and reference from other sources such as previous research works published by other scientists.

The scientific community depends on the foundational model of shared research data disseminated through scholarly journals that help and support other research studies pertinent to the field of study. This is done so as to validate new research findings and experiments conducted that should have relevance and proof of significance, adding value and credibility, which can contribute to the advancement and progress of a particular study or academic discipline. Therefore, a case of a published article or research work containing unethical use of someone else’s work or idea in the form of plagiarism can adversely affect the reputation and credibility of the journal or institution.

Therefore, scholarly journals and academic institutions have a systematic procedure and methods tailored to the publishing process that are dedicated to deducing sources that help identify if the written text is copied from a third-party source, and if so, how much was stolen. Scholarly journals achieve this through use of reliable third-party tools, and one such tool is iThenticate.

What is iThenticate? 

iThenticate is a third-party plagiarism detection service for the corporate market, intended for publishing houses. It is a tool that helps researchers and professional academic writers to evaluate and check their work for potential plagiarism prior to publishing.  iThenticate is considered the most trusted plagiarism checker by leading journals, researchers, scholars, and publishers worldwide. It is a web-based service that detects and identifies similar or identical text from extensive database available online so as to check and mark potential plagiarism in a written document to ensure the research is novel and eligible for publishing.

It is primarily used in the academic field, especially by academic institutions, journal and academic publishers, scholars, and editors to avoid research misconducts from being published. iThenticate was developed with the purpose of protecting research and publishing reputation, as well as to achieve respectful and ethical research and publishing culture in the academic field.  Of late, iThenticate has become an integral part of the edit and academic publishing process.

IThenticate was developed to be broad in its application relevant to students pursuing their higher education especially at the university level. It is designed for individual use with advanced customized options that apply in writing theses and dissertations for scholars and PhD students, ensuring novelty and authenticity in project writing for university degrees. These advance options help in achieving workflows, advanced exclusion options to narrow on the critical matches, updated database that has an extensive range of content collection, including the top-of-the-line and latest research published, covering over 70 billion web pages and 170 million research contents, and an online repository for comparison. Some of the most reputed journals and academic publishers, namely, Elsevier, Nature, Taylor & Francis, Springer, and Willy-Blackwell, have integrated iThenticate into their publishing system for content and manuscript assessment.

How does iThenticate work? 

1. When a paper is uploaded on iThenticate, the software analyzes the document and compare the content to a vast repository of published works and websites checking for borrowed sentences and phrases that have not been properly attributed.

2. iThenticate has unique features that enable it to handle documents up to 400 pages long, which indicates that iThenticate can produce similarity reports on theses and dissertation drafts much more quickly and easily.

3. iThenticate allows to upload more than one document at a time unlike other plagiarism checking software like “Turnitin,” iThenticate searches the ProQuest Dissertations database and internal documents when running the similarity report. This helps the user to identify more matches to academic sources.

4. Also, unlike “Turnitin” iThenticate does not include class papers from other universities. This eliminates the probabilities of false-positive matches to sources that cannot easily be tracked down.

5. The most important function of iThenticate, by default, is that it does not save uploaded drafts and documents into its cloud repository. This is in line with NPS cyber security policy, which was a frequent problem with other plagiarism detecting software.

6. Lastly, iThenticate offers reporting features that are easier to use and more powerful than other similar tools.

With iThenticate, much remains the same when it comes to its functions and the narrow learning curve like “Turnitin”, which makes it familiar. Although iThenticate does not come equipped with feedback studio, its management function and interface filing structure nevertheless enable users to create folders and groups much the same way as other similar tools and applications document information by classes. In addition, NPS policy allows only faculty and staff members of an academic institution or corporate company to hold iThenticate accounts, while students or non-professional individuals are not permitted to hold personal accounts. On a final note, only publicly releasable information may be processed through these programs. Documents that contain FOUO, CUI, or other restricted content may not be compatible or uploaded.

Importance of iThenticate 

1. iThenticate safeguards institutions from scandals.

2. Enables researchers and scholars to write and produce research and academic-based articles and content free from any form of misconduct and fabricated work.

3. It helps achieve collaboration and data sharing between professors and students during theses and dissertation work.

4. Provides reliable and trustable support for writing novel research papers and grant proposals that are protected.

5. iThenticate helps publishers to uphold their reputation and credibility through its quality and verification services.

6. It helps academic institutions to screen and detect academic misconducts committed through plagiarism.

What is iThenticate report?

An iThenticate report is similar to a plagiarism report referring to the final results of detected plagiarism and similarity between texts and information from an uploaded draft. The report highlights specific sources by numbers and indicated colors in the main text so as to highlight and notify the user to recognize text and information that can be a questionable offence or a potential case of plagiarism.

What is similarity index?

A similarity index refers to the percentage of overlapped text or information between the uploaded draft and the original source from which the information was deduced. The percentage and level of similarity between the written source and the published source can help determine if a written document is plagiarized.


Integrity in research publication is core to motivating writers and researchers to continue producing novel research results and findings that contribute to the overall progress of science and research. For this reason, it is the responsibility of academic institutions and publishers to ensure that novelty is valued and authors are given credit where due, which can only be achieved through a strict system of law toward plagiarism and academic misconducts.

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