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The disease of self-plagiarism in Russia

In an article published in the Journal of Informetrics in February, two researchers from a Russian company that specializes in detecting plagiarism calculated the frequency of a type of misconduct that is abnormally high in the country: when authors reuse excerpts of their own past scientific work. Yury Chekhovich and Andrey Khazov of Moscow-based software company Antiplagiat analyzed 3.8 million articles stored on the online Russian journal platform eLIBRARY.RU and found more than 70,400 fully or partially repeated manuscripts (where at least two thirds of the original work was copied). Most cases were duplicate papers, but some 5,000 articles involved self-plagiarizing the same text in more than three papers, with one example being reused on 73 occasions. According to the survey, there was an increase in the number and percentage of recycled articles between 2014 and 2017—one in every 20 papers published in Russian journals in the period was an exact or near copy of an existing article. Chekhovich told the Times Higher Education website that duplication often occurs because authors have a habit of submitting the same article to several journals simultaneously, which is bad practice. “Journals are poorly protected from well-prepared attempts to publish a manuscript more than once,” he said.