There is a peer researcher working closely to my main topic. I recently got some results built upon his latest papers.

However, I knew that he paraphrased a (small) section of someone else's work into his own paper. He did cite the other paper, but he did not cite it at the right place, making that plagiarized section look original. So I am a bit doubtful of his moral level.

I've checked a few related question here and people seem to agree that it is better to discuss with the previous authors. In this instance, I don't really know what to do. Shall I still email him my results, or not?

Details on his plagiarism. He cites a source in his introduction. But in one of his result sections (not the main result), he took results from the other paper as his own. The result, method, and proofs are all the same. He did not cite the source in the result section or in his proof.

  • What do you want to achieve by sending him the results?
    – Sursula
    Jun 30, 2022 at 6:38
  • @Sursula-they- Because my work is built upon his paper, so it might be polite to do so? The contribution is just a little more than a technical comment of his paper.
    – dodo
    Jun 30, 2022 at 7:25

1 Answer 1


Without knowing details, it is impossible to judge. Plagiarism is the use of someone else's intellectual work without attribution. If someone paraphrases a sentence of the related work section of another paper and cites this paper in a general way, this is possibly not plagiarism. If someone paraphrases a non-obvious argument without citing the source that is arguably plagiarism. As always, details matter. Let's say I am using a paper that makes the argument that matrix A is singular. If matrix A is represented in a way that makes it clear that row 3 is the sum of rows 0 and 1, then my failing to cite the paper is not plagiarism, since the singularity is obvious to any trained mathematician. If however the singularity follows from a difficult calculation of the determinant, then the singularity of the matrix is not obvious and I should cite this paper.

The criteria for student work and academic work should differ, because the notion of obviousness differs.

I would advise you to first look at the case. Was it really plagiarism? Was it an oversight / error? Or does it seem to an unbiased observer that the paraphrasing is indeed claiming someone else's intellectual work?

Second, is the sanction for this paraphrasing really that the person should be shunned for ever and ever? As far as I can tell, you do not want to publish your results with this author, you just want to have a discussion with the author. It might serve both of you well. If you are afraid to work with a rascal that indeed is in the habit of using other people's work for their own purposes, then you might want to be prudent, but apparently, your contribution is not publishable anyway so that you do not risk a lot.

Since there is an edit to the original question: Yes, it seems to me like pretty clear-cut plagiarism. You should be careful.

  • I am open to collaborate with that author. I am just in doubt of his moral level. Good points. So here is what I am going to do: 1) get some third parties to verify if it is actually plagarism. 2) don't be afraid.
    – dodo
    Jun 30, 2022 at 7:50
  • Then you should go and inquire about the author. Jun 30, 2022 at 8:17

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