Plagiarism detection

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.

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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.

About Crossref Similarity Check

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 Crossref Similarity Check, a service that helps editors to verify the originality of papers. Crossref Similarity Check 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: http://www.ithenticate.com/crossref-members


How editors can benefit

All new submissions to many Elsevier journals are automatically screened using Crossref Similarity Check within the editorial system. Editors may also choose to run a similarity report at any other point during the review process or post-publication using the standalone tool. To request an account, simply reach out to 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 Similarity Check report and determine whether there are any grounds for concern.


Recommended reading for editors

Before using Similarity Check 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:


Editorial Manager Duplicate Submission Check

Editorial Manager (EM) offers a Duplicate Submission Check which compares the abstract, title and author names of a submission with the historical journal database (i.e. compares within the journal) to create an overall score based on three weighted scores. This is complementary to the Crossref Similarity Check powered by iThenticate, which compares the full-text of a submission with the published literature. The Similarity Check does not compare submissions against manuscripts still in the editorial process.


Further publishing ethics resources