In the vastness of today's academia, the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and the representation of them as one's own original work prevails regardless of institutional measures to curb this kind of plagiarism.

If there were to exist a global authority to monitor journals and other publications for plagiarised material, it may benifit the academic and scientific community greatly.

We can keep a watch on material being plagiarised or uncredited. Then, blacklist authors who repeatedly steal other's works. I am not sure how ethical it is to do so but it sounds just.

Does there already exist such a recognized global organization?

After I graduate, I seek to help academia by setting up an establishment that focuses solely on eliminating the plague of plagiarisation. Then, expanding it be a watchful protector for the entire academic world.

What is your advice for me? At this moment, this is simply an idea. Even if I do set up a thing like this, how can I hope for it to be one day recognized by people like you?

I'm unsure of the process (toil) involved in setting up such a huge authority. I would ofcourse need expert academicians and scholars. Programmers and scientists to find detection algorithms. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people to go through material looking for similarities.

Do you have any idea how such an organization would function? I'm just day dreaming here.

  • 2
    Related: RetractionWatch, Dissernet, maybe a number of other country-specific groups.
    – svavil
    May 15, 2017 at 16:05
  • 5
    Your authority would be prone to political influence and gaming, likely to be overly forgiving to researchers with a lot of clout and harsh towards those without, and of less use than the currently existing blogosphare (Gelman, Weber-Wulff, Retraction Watch, etc.). The best things in the world cannot be centralized :) May 15, 2017 at 16:08
  • 1
    This would simply amount to a duplication of peer review.
    – henning
    May 15, 2017 at 18:45
  • 2
    Who is going to give the organization 'authority'? What sort of authority do you imagine? Do we really need a bunch of self-important folks running around telling everyone what to do?
    – Jon Custer
    May 15, 2017 at 19:04
  • 1
    Where should this authority come from? in oder to have authority, you need the ability to enforce it. Due to the lack of any global body who could do that, there can not be a global organisation that has actual authority.
    – Polygnome
    May 15, 2017 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


I'll try to shed light on how a Russian group of this kind, Dissernet, works. They run full texts of the theses through their own homebrew plagiarism detection system and employ volunteers to examine possible cases of plagiarism and check the proper attribution of quotes. As their call for action describes, checking a single thesis requires:

  • obtaining a digital full-text version or OCR'ing a paper copy
  • running a plagiarism match
  • searching the Internet for possible sources of misappropriation
  • preparing a report on the results, filing it in the database and giving context to the results

Apart from that, running a society of volunteers requires:

  • running a server for reports and databases
  • paying for full-text theses access
  • paying for OCRs and paper copies
  • paying for commercial plagiarism detection software to complement your own software
  • paying for legal professionals, mailing expenses, logistics and running the office

In three years from 2013 to 2016, they have produced around 1300 reports, making a living on community donations. At any given moment of time, they had 10 to 20 volunteers active. This might give you an idea for the scope of effort in these kinds of projects.

  • 3
    And there is the VroniPlag wiki, an analogue (and precursor, IIRC) of Dissernet in Germany. Notice that both of these sites are grassroots and have no legal authority and very little formal structure; they derive their authority from the verifiability of their claims, and are organized in a maximally decentralized fashion. There is a lot to learn here about what works and what does not in science reform. May 15, 2017 at 17:29

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