The Pernicious Effects of Compression Plagiarism on Scholarly Argumentation
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Despite an increased recognition that plagiarism in published research can take many forms, current typologies of plagiarism are far from complete. One under-recognized variety of plagiarism—designated here as compression plagiarism—consists of the distillation of a lengthy scholarly text into a short one, followed by the publication of the short one under a new name with inadequate credit to the original author. In typical cases, compression plagiarism is invisible to unsuspecting readers and immune to anti-plagiarism software. The persistence of uncorrected instances of plagiarism in all its forms—including compression plagiarism—in the body of published research literature has deleterious consequences for the reliability of scholarly communication. Not the least of these problems is that original authors are denied credit for their discoveries. When unsuspecting researchers read articles that are the products of plagiarism, they unwittingly engage the arguments of hidden original authors through the proxy of plagiarists. Furthermore, when these researchers later publish responses to the plagiarizing articles, not knowing they are engaging products of plagiarism, they create additional inefficiencies and redundancies in the body of published research. This article analyzes a suspected instance of compression plagiarism that appeared within the pages of this journal and considers the particular ways in which plagiarism of this variety weakens the quality of scholarly argumentation, with special attention paid to the field of philosophy.
KeywordsCompression plagiarism Authorship Research misconduct Retractions Argumentation Scholarly communication
This paper has been improved by comments from two anonymous reviewers for Argumentation, and to them I extend my thanks. I am grateful to Alkuin Schachenmayr, Pernille Harsting, Michelle Dougherty, Lawrence Masek, and Brian Besong for comments on earlier versions of this paper. I have also benefited from conversations with Bruce Gartner and Benedict Dougherty. The Galvin Family Foundation, which established the Sr. Ruth Caspar Chair in Philosophy at Ohio Dominican University, made work on this article possible.
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