Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 543–554 | Cite as

Duplicate publication and ‘paper inflation’ in the fractals literature

  • Ronald N. Kostoff
  • Dustin Johnson
  • J. Antonio Del Rio
  • Louis A. Bloomfield
  • Michael F. Shlesinger
  • Guido Malpohl
  • Hector D. Cortes


The similarity of documents in a large database of published Fractals articles was examined for redundancy. Three different text matching techniques were used on published Abstracts to identify redundancy candidates, and predictions were verified by reading full text versions of the redundancy candidate articles. A small fraction of the total articles in the database was judged to be redundant. This was viewed as a lower limit, because it excluded cases where the concepts remained the same, but the text was altered substantially.

Far more pervasive than redundant publications were publications that did not violate the letter of redundancy but rather violated the spirit of redundancy. There appeared to be widespread publication maximization strategies. Studies that resulted in one comprehensive paper decades ago now result in multiple papers that focus on one major problem, but are differentiated by parameter ranges, or other stratifying variables. This ‘paper inflation’ is due in large part to the increasing use of metrics (publications, patents, citations, etc) to evaluate research performance, and the researchers’ motivation to maximize the metrics.


Text Mining Redundant Publications Text Matching Paper Inflation Document Plagiarism Concept Matching Fractals Greedy String Tiling CopyFind Data Compression 


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Copyright information

© Opragen Publications 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald N. Kostoff
    • 4
  • Dustin Johnson
    • 4
  • J. Antonio Del Rio
    • 1
  • Louis A. Bloomfield
    • 2
  • Michael F. Shlesinger
    • 4
  • Guido Malpohl
    • 3
  • Hector D. Cortes
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación en Energía UNAMTemixco, MorMéxico
  2. 2.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.University of KarlsruheKarlsruheGermany
  4. 4.Office of Naval ResearchArlingtonUSA

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