[Pl-seminar] Fwd: ACM Policy on Plagiarism

Mitchell Wand wand at ccs.neu.edu
Sun May 28 21:15:42 EDT 2006

>From David Wise at Indiana:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: dswise at cs.indiana.edu < dswise at cs.indiana.edu>
Date: May 26, 2006 1:47 PM
Subject: ACM Policy on Plagiarism
To: soi-faculty-l at listserv.indiana.edu

One of the presentations to ACM Council last Friday is
of general interest to any faculty member in our field.
Apocryphal reports say that your response will quickly
change from denial to shock, maybe to appreciation,
as you read this tale.  So read on...

Apparently plagiarism of technical papers has exploded
in the past few years, perhaps due to the growth of our field
in cultures where "involuntary sharing" is more tolerable or,
perhaps, because there are so many outlets that it has become
difficult for referees to know them all.
In any event, the number of such events is way up.

The news here is that ACM has taken a strong stand against
this trend.  A new plagiarism policy is available at
   Also see pp. 23--24 of new June CACM.
It deals both with plagiarism of others' work and also of
self-plagiarism---which is reuse of your own work without citation.
(ACM copyright policy does allow you to reuse your work
copyrighted by ACM.  It even encourages it when you are
elevating a conference paper to a journal paper, but that
is just copyright license.  The plagiarism policy still comes
into effect if you neglect to cite yourself for that reuse.)

So far, the stories say, you are yawning.
Now comes the punch.  Papers that violate this policy will, after
due process, be permanantly flagged in the ACM Digital Library.
The text of the paper will be withdrawn and the metadata page
will contain a bright yellow announcement, with pointers
from the plagiarizing work to the plagiarized work.
For an example, see
or   http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1046290.1046343

Now these DOI's are permanent and this metadata will be there
forever.  If you are co-author on a paper (written by, say,
your student) then your list of papers in the ACM Portal
will forever include such a cover page and its flag.
   {I call it the "Scarlet P".]
Your responsibility as co-author does not end just because
your co-author did all the plagiarizing.  You signed it.

At this point, the stories say, you are now awake.

ACM is taking steps to notify you as author affirmatively
that your name newly appears on a paper,
so that third-party misuse of your good name will be filtered.
So if you receive a notification of this sort unexpectedly,
do pay attention.

I see this a good use of our new technology.  The digital library
allows ACM effective post-publication logging of such mistakes.
And it redirects the citation from the plagiarizing work
to its sincerest flattered source.

Thus more quality for ACM's imprimatur.
So cite to ACM, review for ACM, and submit to ACM!
David S. Wise +1(812)855-4866;  fax: +1(812)855-4829   dswise at cs.indiana.edu
Computer Science Dept., Indiana University, Bloomington, IN  47405-7104, USA

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