Combating unethical publications with plagiarism detection services

Urol Oncol. Jan-Feb 2011;29(1):95-9. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2010.09.016.


About 3,000 new citations that are highly similar to citations in previously published manuscripts that appear each year in the biomedical literature (Medline) alone. This underscores the importance for the opportunity for editors and reviewers to have detection system to identify highly similar text in submitted manuscripts so that they can then review them for novelty. New software-based services, both commercial and free, provide this capability. The availability of such tools provides both a way to intercept suspect manuscripts and serve as a deterrent. Unfortunately, the capabilities of these services vary considerably, mainly as a consequence of the availability and completeness of the literature bases to which new queries are compared. Most of the commercial software has been designed for detection of plagiarism in high school and college papers; however, there is at least 1 fee-based service (CrossRef) and 1 free service (, which are designed to target the needs of the biomedical publication industry. Information on these various services, examples of the type of operability and output, and things that need to be considered by publishers, editors, and reviewers before selecting and using these services is provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Humans
  • Periodicals as Topic / ethics*
  • Plagiarism*
  • Publishing / ethics*
  • Scientific Misconduct / ethics*
  • Software