Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism occurs when someone presents the work of others (data, text, or theories) as if it were his/her own without proper acknowledgment. There are different degrees of plagiarism. The severity is dependent on various factors: extent of copied material, originality of copied material, position/context/type of material and referencing/attribution of the material used. Every case is different and therefore decisions will vary per case.

Examples of possible plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbatim copying of another’s work and submitting it as one’s own.
  • Verbatim copying of significant portions of text from a single source.
  • Mixing verbatim copied material from multiple sources (“patchwork copying”). This could range from 1 or 2 paragraphs to significant portions consisting of several paragraphs.
  • Changing key words and phrases but retaining the essential content of the source as a framework.
  • Rephrasing of the text’s original wording and/or structure and submitting it as one’s own.
  • Mixing slightly rephrased material from multiple sources and presenting what has been published already as new.
  • The work is cited, but the cited portions are not clearly identified. This can be combined with copied parts of text without citation. 

Note: For review papers the above is not directly applicable. Review papers are expected to give a summary of existing literature. Authors should use their own words with exception of properly quoted and/or cited texts and the work should include a new interpretation.

As part of SAOJ’s commitment to the protection and enhancement of the peer review process, all manuscripts deemed potentially suitable for publication will undergo a plagiarism detection process using plagiarism detection software. When a similarity report is indicative of a potential offence, the report and manuscript will be examined by the Editor-in-Chief to determine whether or not material has been plagiarised and, if so, the extent of the plagiarism.

If plagiarism is suspected, the COPE guidelines on plagiarism will be followed.  [http://publicationethics.org/files/Suspected%20plagiarism%20in%20a%20submitted%20manuscript%20%281%29.pdf ]

Duplicate submission/publication refers to the practice of submitting the same study to two journals or publishing more or less the same study in two journals. These submissions/publications can be nearly simultaneous or years later. Redundant publication (also described as ‘salami publishing’) refers to the situation that one study is split into several parts and submitted to two or more journals. Or the findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper cross-referencing, permission or justification. “Self-plagiarism” is considered a form of redundant publication. It concerns recycling or borrowing content from previous work without citation. This practice is widespread and might be unintentional. Transparency by the author on the use of previously published work usually provides the necessary information to make an assessment on whether it is deliberate or unintentional.

If redundant or duplicate publication is suspected, the COPE guidelines on redundant or duplicate publication will be followed. [http://publicationethics.org/files/redundant%20publication%20A_0.pdf ]