NEW DELHI: At least 25 per cent of researchers worldwide have a poor understanding of plagiarism and ethics, according to a new survey.
The report titled "Author Perspectives on Academic Publishing: Global Survey Report 2018" provides insights into various aspects of research publication such as challenges authors face in manuscript preparation, communicating with journals and responding to peer reviewer comments.
Over 7000 researchers from India, Republic of Korea, Japan, China and Brazil were interviewed for the survey conducted by Editage, a global scholarly communications firm.
"A substantial proportion of respondents (25 pc) were unaware of or confused about what constitutes plagiarism and duplicate submission or who qualifies for authorship.
In addition, 31 per cent were not familiar with established ethics-related bodies and guidelines such as Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).
"However, a relatively small proportion reported facing difficulty in ethical compliance when preparing a submission.
This points to a gap in author understanding of ethical issues that publishers, journals should consider addressing through better author education," the survey report said.
The report further said ," a quarter or more of the respondents were unaware that it is plagiarism to reword peers' ideas without citing their papers or to quote them verbatim without using quotation marks.
Respondents seemed more confused about or unaware of what constitutes self-plagiarism".
"The majority reported that reusing text from their own previously published study is not plagiarism, irrespective of whether the study is cited," it added.
About 76 per cent respondents found preparation of manuscript the most difficult part of publication of a research in an international journal while about 66 per cent of the respondents felt that journal guidelines were unclear, incomplete or both.
"The difficulty level seems directly related to English-language proficiency.
The publishing industry needs to deliberate on how to eliminate or minimize this additional burden on non-English-speaking authors so that journals do not miss out on scientifically strong research because authors choose to submit in regional-language journals," the report said.