Never Plagiarize a Scientist

Harold R. Garner didn’t set out to uncover plagiarists. He and his team of researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas wanted to develop software to help researchers find papers that covered congruent topic areas. The idea was to point out similar research, and hopefully to uncover new directions for study. What they found, according to Science News, was widespread un-credited copying in scientific journals.

Some reactions to Garner’s findings have been posted by The Scientist. One author who may have been plagiarized told the magazine, “We were very sorry and somewhat surprised when we found their article. I don’t want to accept them as scientists.”

One accused plagiarist’s defense was predictably scientific:

There are probably only ‘x’ amount of word combinations that could lead to ‘y’ amount of statements…. I have no idea why the pieces are similar, except that I am sure I do not have a good enough memory–and it is certainly not photographic–to have allowed me to have ‘copied’ his piece.

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