I have recently received an email from an unknown source where an academic (who I don't know) is accused (backed by some evidence which I haven't examined in detail) of misconduct, particularly academic plagiarism.

Since the academic is not from my university I am not sure what to make of it.

What's the proper course of action in this case?

  • 8
    Treat it the same as those article soliciting emails, i.e. ignore. May 22, 2021 at 9:51

1 Answer 1


There is no action needed or appropriate on your part unless you are part of some official investigation.

You might want to be wary of both parties in the future, however. Especially the email sender. Accusing others with such mail is a form of defamation.

  • Especially if such mails are circulated indiscriminately to what probably amount to various recepients.
    – henning
    May 22, 2021 at 11:15
  • 1
    If evidence of plagiarism is supplied it is not defamation. Only when circulating false evidence could it possibly be defamation. May 22, 2021 at 16:34
  • 1
    @DeboraWeber-Wulff, laws differ of course. I haven't seen the "evidence". One person's plagiarism is another person's parallel research. I used the term informally, however, not in a legal sense, since the facts aren't all here. But the intent certainly seems to be to harm the reputation of a private person.
    – Buffy
    May 22, 2021 at 17:00
  • @Buffy After having seen the evidence I think it's fair to call it plagiarism. What's curious about the case is that the accused academic is an expert on AI Ethics.
    – Alup
    May 22, 2021 at 22:59
  • @Alex, strangely, that is not uncommon. If this happens to be a German researcher, do contact me by email. I can be googled. May 23, 2021 at 19:12

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