[TAG] Talkback:128/saha.html (A case of copyright violation / plagiarism ?)
Benjamin A. Okopnik
ben at linuxgazette.net
Mon Oct 9 04:02:06 MSD 2006
On Mon, Oct 09, 2006 at 04:11:15AM +0530, Baishampayan Ghose wrote:
> Well, I guess it's safe to assume that people who write about Free &
> Open Source Software are at least somewhat aware of possible copyright /
> licensing violations. But as it appears, it's not enough. I think what
> LG can provide clear instructions to all authors to acknowledge and give
> attribution to all sources from where they have quoted code or
> sentences. They should also respect any copyright notices if any. That'd
> IMHO reduce the chances of such issues in the future by a great deal.
Y'know, I *really* wish it was that easy. Unfortunately, all my experience
in this position says otherwise.
We _have_ clear instructions to authors in our Author Guide
(http://linuxgazette.net/faq/author.html); I've spent quite a large
amount of time and effort making our author-relevant guidelines and
policies as clear as I possibly can, and every new author gets a "New
Author Guide", with pointers to the above right at the top, when they
first contact me. The result? These rules and guidelines are uniformly
and monotonously ignored by many people who volunteer as authors for LG,
and a significant percentage of my time as Editor-in-Chief is spent
"going a few rounds" with the majority of new authors, either having
them fix the problems - which can drag on for weeks, or simply result in
the author quietly disappearing - or fixing them myself/having someone
on the proofing team fix it. I've come to accept this as part of the
reality of running a volunteer publication. Once in a while, of course,
I'm pleasantly surprised by a well-formatted, spell-checked article -
but it's a rare occurrence.
We have no way to "force" people to read anything; in truth, I wouldn't
want one. However, that leaves us with a problem that can range from a
mildly annoying lack of formatting to plagiarism - and unless I can
invent some new method that's never occurred to me before, the only
response that we can have is a _reactive_ one... which in itself leads
to a host of problems.
I've been exploring other publications' plagiarism policies; many of
them, like the ACM, have a reasonable set of rules capped by a harshly
punitive ultimate recourse. I quote from
'http://www.acm.org/pubs/plagiarism%20policy.html', with some
reformatting to fit email line length:
6. Penalties for Plagiarism
When plagiarism has been found to have occurred, ACM will take the
actions listed below as determined by the type of plagiarism. Unless
determined otherwise during the investigation, all authors are deemed
to be individually and collectively responsible for the content of a
a. Verbatim copying, near-verbatim copying, or purposely
paraphrasing a significant portion of another author's paper
without citing the source and without clearly delineating (e.g.,
in quotation marks) the source material.
* ACM will inform the Department Chair, Dean, or supervisor
of the authors of the finding of plagiarism.
* The authors will be asked to write a formal letter of apology
to the authors of the plagiarized paper, including an
admission of plagiarism.
* If the paper has appeared in press, ACM will post a Notice
of Plagiarism based on the investigation on the ACM
Digital Library's citation page of the plagiarizing paper and
will remove access to the full text. The paper itself will be
kept in the database for future research or legal purposes.
[ ... ]
Given the fact that most author's *won't* read the policy page, and that
the most likely manner in which plagiarism is brought to our attention
is through a reader spotting it and notifying us, we will rarely have
the option of rejecting an article during the editing process - unless
we happen to have an expert in the field that the article covers.
Currently, I'm focusing on the last two paragraphs of the ACM policy
I've cited above as a model for LG. I'm definitely going to solicit
comments from staff, but that's the general direction in which I think
we're going with this.
* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://LinuxGazette.NET *
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