by Paul Boon, EAN Programme Committee Chair
Scientific plagiarism is defined as using or closely imitating scientific content from an original author without clear reference and/or authorization. Plagiarism can be complete or partial, in the original or translated version or limited to paraphrases of the original text. A textual repetition of one’s own work in subsequent submissions is considered self-plagiarism and should be avoided or at least accompanied by proper referencing to one’s prior work. A specific form of plagiarism is to include references to the scientific work of others or false references in a curriculum vitae e.g. accompanying fellowship or project submissions to EAN.
In recent years, different forms of scientific plagiarism have been identified in abstract submissions, membership applications and EAN funding applications.
The general position of the scientific world is that plagiarism represents unethical behaviour that cannot be allowed. Plagiarism is a form of theft of intellectual property and reflects a complete lack of scientific integrity and of respect for the efforts of others to develop new and original ideas and insights and/or to further develop existing ideas. A plagiarist makes false claims and enhance their own curriculum and career to the expense of others. EAN has decided on a zero tolerance for plagiarism.
Accordingly, EAN has established specific procedures and policies to prevent and detect plagiarism and to deal with it appropriately. Prevention of plagiarism will be mainly achieved by a broad communication about the anti-plagiarism policies of EAN through its website and including clear anti-plagiarism warnings in the call for abstracts and other application documents.
All EAN reviewers are being alerted to the possibility of plagiarism and will report every single case of suspected plagiarism. The EAN Head Office is checking all applications that are submitted for all EAN activities. A sophisticated anti-plagiarism software that has access to a database of over 50 million documents from various journals, books and other published sources systematically checks for duplication and attribution. All software-based detections are subsequently manually scrutinized to verify whether they truly are plagiarisms. After this double-check, the suspected plagiarist will be notified about the plagiarism detection and given the opportunity to respond and explain. In case the plagiarism is confirmed, the submitted material will not be accepted by EAN, the plagiarist will be personally informed as well as the national society to which he/she belongs. As a further consequence, the author will be banned from submitting to EAN for a period of 2 years. In case of recurrence the ban can be permanent. Publication lists on applications or curriculum vitae sent to EAN should include a link to the abstracts and will be systematically checked by the Head Office.
EAN actively promotes scientific integrity and ethical behaviour. The EAN anti-plagiarism policies have been put in place to create broad awareness about plagiarism, to prevent and discourage plagiarism and to act vigorously against plagiarism in a hopefully decreasing number of cases in the future.