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I am the editor. I received a paper from some author. I need to check whether that same paper is already published in some other journal or not. For example some authors downloaded a paper from some other journal, they just change the paper title, and author name and they send that paper to us. So in this case how can I find whether this paper is already available or not?

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There are several software available for checking plagiarism, which would also fit the problem you are investigating. The journal (actually the publisher) for which I am editor use iThenticate. I am not in a position to compare the numerous software and services around, some free, some commercial. However, a simple check that can easily be made is to to a Google search on bits of text. I have personally used this to check on similarities between manuscripts and earlier published articles to check on the degree of overlap and it works fine. It will give you a first indication at which stage you can decide on continuing with a more advanced analysis.

See also answers in What is the easiest way to check for plagiarism in student essay papers?

  • And, of course, a slightly-clever plagiarist will continue tweaking a paper until Google ceases to produce too-good hits. – paul garrett Nov 17 '13 at 17:29
  • Then it seems the effort is more to plagiarize than to actually get another publication. This, on the other hand indicates it only the not so clever ones that can get caught. Do yo have any support that supports your statement? It would be very interesting to check it out in order to get a strategy for catching the more clever ones. – Peter Jansson Nov 17 '13 at 18:16
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    Some evidence: in the late 1990s and early 2000s I taught courses on crypto and on coding, in which I required a written project. Some plagiarism was hinted at from use of language that I suspected was beyond the ken of the given writer, and follow-ups confirmed. More subtly, some cases came to my attention only later when some phrase in a published paper resonated with a student project. Some discreet inquiries on my part strongly suggested that "clever" people plagiarized considerably more subtly than just cutting-and-pasting... – paul garrett Nov 17 '13 at 18:37
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    ... namely, by making substantial "cosmetic" changes so that a superficial appraisal would be less likely to detect plagiarism. Beginning in the early 2000s, just as search engines could easily find resonating phrases, the "clever" plagiarists would just as easily spend a little time running tests on the match-ability of their plagiarized documents... as I was told. Eventually, I decided to not corrupt my general approach to students... Perfect enforcement is too expensive. General deterrence is feasible, but will be imperfect. I don't know any really strong solution... – paul garrett Nov 17 '13 at 18:41

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