The peer-review process is at the heart of scientific publishing. As part of Elsevier's commitment to protecting the integrity of the scholarly record, Elsevier feels a strong obligation to support the scientific community in all aspects of research and publishing ethics. We invest in many resources to help educate researchers on how to avoid ethical issues, to detect any issues during the editorial process, to support editors in handling publishing ethics allegations and, if necessary, to correct the scholarly record.
Cases of suspected plagiarism are rarely limited to one journal or publisher. Software solutions, therefore, require cooperation between (ideally) all publishing houses. In 2008, Crossref and the STM publishing community came together to develop CrossCheck, a service that helps editors to verify the originality of papers. CrossCheck is powered by the Ithenticate software from iParadigms, known in the academic community as providers of Turnitin.
Over 200 CrossRef members, including Elsevier, collaborate by donating full-text journal articles and book chapters to create a unique database of over 50 million articles. Note that even this database is not entirely exhaustive: research published by non-participating publishers or before the digital era may be absent. Elsevier's contribution consists of 10 million articles and 7000 books and is ever-increasing as all newly published articles are added.
For a searchable list of all participating publishers, please visit: www.crossref.org/crosscheck_members.html
For a searchable list of all journals in the CrossCheck database, please visit: www.ithenticate.com/search
How editors can benefit
All new submissions to many Elsevier journals are automatically screened using CrossCheck within the editorial system. Editors may also choose to run a similarity report at any other point during the review process or post-publication. To request a separate CrossCheck account, simply contact your Publishing contact at Elsevier.
The default similarity report view gives the percentage of the text of the manuscript which has overlap with one or more published articles. Figures and equations cannot be checked at present. Note that a high similarity score does not necessarily indicate plagiarized text. A similarity score of 30% could mean 30% text in common with one source but could equally mean 1% text in common with 30 different sources. Re-used text that has been legitimately cited, the Bibliography and Methods texts may all contribute to the similarity score. The subject knowledge of an editorial expert is vital in order to interpret the CrossCheck report and determine whether there is any grounds for concern.
Recommended reading for editors
Before using CrossCheck for the first time, we highly recommend that all Editors read the short article "Understanding the Similarity Score" and our quick Tips & Tricks guide. We offer many additional support and training resources for editors, including:
- Attend a live training webinar
- Recorded Webinar on Ethics, including CrossCheck demo (15 mins)
- Email a Query to CrossCheck Support
- Detailed User Manual
Further publishing ethics resources