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Vol. 90. Num. 1.01 January 2019
Pages 1-58
Vol. 90. Num. 1.01 January 2019
Pages 1-58
Editorial
DOI: 10.1016/j.anpede.2018.10.005
Open Access
Plagiarism and ethics in scientific publications
Plagio y ética en las publicaciones científicas
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Gonzalo Solís Sáncheza,
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gsoliseditor@gmail.com

Corresponding author.
, Alfredo Cano Garcinuñob, Montserrat Antón Gameroc, Laia Alsina Manrique de Larad, Corsino Rey Galána
a Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
b Hospital Río Hortega, Valladolid, Spain
c Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba, Spain
d Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain
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Table 1. Spanish articles plagiarized in magazines published in English.
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The “publish or perish” phrase coined in American universities in the second half of the XX century has become a classic. This need to publish, which has since spread to the entire Western scientific community, stems from a meritocracy system that is based on an exclusively quantitative assessment of scientific publications.

Bibliometric indices (the number of published articles, authored international publications, author impact factor, H-index…) are currently the standard used to measure the qualifications of scientists when it comes to job applications, grant proposals or professional promotions, whereas the quality of the publications is not similarly assessed for consideration. The San Francisco Declaration On Research Assessment (DORA)1 and the Leiden manifesto2 are two initiatives that call for a change in the assessment of publications, focusing on their quality rather than their mere number.

The emergence and exponential development of information and communication technologies in the past 30 years have been decisive factors in this article churning madness. The substantial increase in scientific publications and journals, which ran parallel to the development of these technologies, has fostered an obsession in a subset of professionals with enlarging their résumés by increasing the quantity of listed works, in many cases disregarding their quality or the ethical problems inherent in their accumulation. The so-called “predatory journals”,3 scientific journals that publish articles in exchange for a fee from the authors and which do not apply the minimum quality filters, could be but the tip of the iceberg in this form of fraud, often promoting the publication of duplicates and in many cases even plagiarised articles.

Spanish paediatrics is not immune to this rat race and, regrettably, we have detected some cases of publication fraud in the form of blatant plagiarism of articles by other authors. Recently, it was discovered that a Spanish author had published in various international online journals exact copies translated to English of articles by Spanish paediatricians previously published in Spanish in domestic journals. The original articles that were plagiarised had been published in recent years in Vox Paediatrica, Acta Pediátrica Española, Revista Pediatría de Atención Primaria and Anales de Pediatría (Table 1).

Table 1.

Spanish articles plagiarized in magazines published in English.

Original article  Journal where plagiarised version was published 
Espín Jaime B, Rodríguez Martínez A, Salazar Quero JC, Rubio Murillo M, Pizarro Martin A. Fórmulas parcialmente hidrolizadas: ¿tienen algún papel en la prevención de la dermatitis atópica? Vox Paediatr 2013;20:24-30  International Journal of Allergy Medications 
González Jiménez D, Larrea Tamargo E, Díaz Martín JJ, Molinos Norniella C, Pérez Solís D, Menéndez Arias C, Jiménez Triviño S, Bousoño García C. Eficacia y seguridad de una pauta rush de inducción de tolerancia oral en pacientes con alergia a proteínas de leche de vaca: evolución clínica e inmunológica. An Pediatr (Barc) 2013;79:346-351.  International Journal of Allergy Medications 
Jiménez Martín AP, Torres Borrego J, Cañete Estrada R. Estudio de los niveles de IgE especifica y de IgG4 respecto a la adquisición de tolerancia en pacientes alergicos al huevo. Vox Paediatr 2014;21:16-21  International Journal of Allergy Medications 
García Iglesias F, Sánchez García AM, García Lara GM, Mastocitoma solitario. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria 2014;16:35-37  Annals of Clinical Case Reports 
Martínez Suárez V. El pediatra y la salud mental del niño. Vox Paediatr 2015;22: 5-6.  EC Paediatrics 
Melón Pardo M, Camacho Lovillo MS, Moruno Tirado A. Enfermedad de Kawasaki refractaria. Diagnóstico y consideraciones terapéuticas. Vox Paediatr 2015;22:28-31.  Peertechz Journal of Pediatric Therapy 
Martínez González M, Rodríguez Catalán J, Mastro Martínez I, Del Rio Camacho G. Reacción inesperada tras la administración de metilprednisolona. Acta Pediatr Esp 2015;73:e247-e251.  Peertechz Journal of Pediatric Therapy 
Gómez Ávila J, Andrés Martín A, Pérez Pérez G, Sánchez Gómez S, Navarro Merino M. Cuerpo extraño traqueal. Importancia del diagnóstico precoz. Vox Paediatr 2017;24:50-53.  Peertechz Journal of Pediatric Therapy 

It is obvious that plagiarism is an illegal act that must be prosecuted by the law and that is categorically outside the bounds of scientific ethics. Plagiarisers often shield themselves with multiple excuses that cannot be accepted.4 Plagiarism is a scientific crime and should be punished as such.5

Ethics in research and publication is a priority for the editorial committees of serious scientific journals, so our Editorial Committee cannot but denounce any detected cases of fraud or misconduct. The tools that are currently available allow us to screen for plagiarism, but unfortunately they are not infallible and in some cases only the assistance of our collaborators can help us identify them.

On account of the cases of plagiarism that have been detected, this issue of Anales includes an interesting special article on the subject that is sure to bring to the forefront a real problem that is quite prevalent at present and that we face as editors, authors and reviewers.6

References
[1]
Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). Putting science into the assessment of research. Available from: http://www.ascb.org/dora/ [accessed 19.09.18].
[2]
D. Hicks, P. Wouters, L. Waltman, S. de Rijcke, I. Rafols
Bibliometrics: the Leiden Manifesto for research metrics
Nature, 520 (2015), pp. 429-431 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/520429a
[3]
J. Clark, R. Smith
Firm action needed on predatory journals
[4]
S. Wiwanitkit, V. Wiwanitkit
Responses of authors accused of plagiarism by journal editors
Sci Eng Ethics, 23 (2017), pp. 309-311 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11948-016-9752-7
[5]
W. Bülow, G. Helgesson
Criminalization of scientific misconduct
Bülow, W. & Helgesson, G. Med Health Care and Philos, (2018), http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11019-018-9865-7
[6]
M.F. Abad García
El plagio y las revistas depredadoras comoamenaza a la integridad científica
An Pediatr (Barc), 90 (2019),
e1-57.e8
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Please cite this article as: Solís Sánchez G, Cano Garcinuño A, Antón Gamero M, Alsina Manrique de Lara L, Rey Galán C. Plagio y ética en las publicaciones científicas. An Pediatr (Barc). 2019;90:1–2.

Copyright © 2018. Asociación Española de Pediatría
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