I submitted a paper to one of the journals in IEEE and editor responded with a rejection letter saying that it is plagiarized. But am very sure I have not copied any content or idea from other authors and have cited all references correctly.

I had submitted the paper in another journal of IEEE ( Transactions in Vehicular Technology) and the editor wrote back advising me to submit in a different journal as this was a survey paper.

What might be the reason? Can I write back to the editor? Please help.

  • Perhaps there is a paper you don't know about. Inadvertent plagiarism, perhaps.
    – Buffy
    Sep 20, 2019 at 9:13
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    I have reviewed papers where the authors have original good results but they copy material (as is) from the introduction or some other content they they think are mostly explanatory and not relevant to the original results.. Unfortunately, those papers also has to be rejected, even though the authors feel there is no plagiarism as the idea was not copied. Is there any chance you did something like that? Sep 20, 2019 at 9:17
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    I think that isn't normal to tell an author s/he is guilty of plagiarism without providing the evidence at least in form of refs to the plagiarised works. Are you sure that you don't have simply rewrote with your own words existing surveys? Citing them might exclude plagiarism but surely the review paper can be rejected as substantially plagiarism, ie not covering new or different results and not providing new insights nor perspectives. ..
    – Alchimista
    Sep 20, 2019 at 9:50
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    You should ask for evidence. Professionally, but firmly. Sep 20, 2019 at 11:17
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    No, for definitions and other content, I have provided the references from the papers where I referred. — That might not be sufficient. Did you copy the text of those papers verbatim, or did you rewrite whatever content you took from those papers in your own words?
    – JeffE
    Sep 20, 2019 at 12:49

2 Answers 2


To answer your question, yes you can and should write back to the editor and request that they provide the information related to this accusation of plagiarism. Such accusations are quite serious and they should not make them without being willing to provide support for their claims. It would be entirely unreasonable for them to refuse to produce evidence.

In the event that they will not detail why they are making claims of plagiarism, and you are absolutely sure you have not inadvertently plagiarised, I would suggest you bring the matter to whatever office or work group in your University deals with aspects of academic integrity. They may be able to put more pressure on the journal to produce evidence.

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    I've reviewed papers for journals where the authors had plagiarised, but very clearly did not realise that they had done so. Usually this was in the providing of background/introductory information and the authors couldn't tell that what seems like accepted reality about an issue was the result of someone's published empirical work (in most cases, mine!), and that bringing it nearly word for word in to their paper was improper. I'm not saying you did this, but it is very easy to confuse "general background info" with "these words are someone's creative output and copying them is a no no" Sep 20, 2019 at 10:07

They might have run your paper through a plagiarism-detection service such as Turnitin and the figure it came up with was too high for them.

Or maybe it is a case of "self-plagiarism." Perhaps you have published this paper before or have published similar papers before.

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