Sixearch: Social Web search via adaptive peers
We regret to report several egregious episodes of plagiarism of which we are victims. Our work has been blatantly plagiarized in at least six seven 11 papers published by the following individuals:
The papers have several coauthors. We report below (in parenthesis) the number of plagiarizing papers authored by each coauthor, to the best of our knowledge.
We cannot determine individual levels of responsibility in papers with multiple authors. At least one individual, involved in all of the offending papers, is dishonest and unscrupulous, while others may have simply been careless, acting in good faith.
The fact remains that these individuals stole our ideas wholesale from papers on 6S that they found on our homepages. The papers below published by Gatani, Lo Re et al. are entirely about the very same ideas, algorithms, and identical evaluation as ours. Some of the offending papers contain no original contribution at all beyond what has been plagiarized from our work. Other papers are largely based on our work, which the plagiarizers claim as their own. Many sentences, paragraphs, and figures are copied verbatim from our papers, without quotes or acknowledgments. These papers even plagiarize each other!
These incidents are very upsetting. They cause tangible, quantifiable damage to the careers of honest, hard-working researchers (two of the victims are graduate students). Citations that should go to our original contributions are going instead to perpetrators of plagiarism. Such dishonest conduct must be publicly acknowledged.
A first account by Giuseppe Lo Re was neither credible nor relevant. The problem was not just a missing reference, as he alleged, nor could it be attributed to oversight, as he claimed. Another coauthor defended himself claiming a minor role in only one of the plagiarizing papers, and pleading carelessness.
Eventually, after almost two years of pressure from us leading to investigations by ACM and IEEE and this website, the authorities at the University of Palermo conducted an investigation in response to our request. This led to an alleged admission of responsibility by Luca Gatani, his resignation from his postdoc, apologies from coauthors and their supervisors, and a pledge to withdraw all plagiarizing papers. Prof. Antonio Chella, Director of the Department of Computer Engineering at the University of Palermo, wrote among other things:
The Department Chair will firmly ensure that all of the offending papers will be removed from the curricula of all of the authors and all possible actions will be taken in order to have them removed from all of the digital libraries where they have been published. These papers cannot be used for any purposes as grant requests, position calls and so on. [...] The Department Chair will urge the Dean of the Faculty and the Rector of the University of Palermo to appoint an international ad hoc committee also composed by the President of IEEE and the President of ACM or their delegates, in order to preserve the scientific reputation of the University of Palermo. [...] Let me express my regret for the professional damages that have been caused by the plagiarism episodes and my hope to bring this entire matter to a satisfactory closure for all the parties involved.We appreciate these words and steps.
Offending PapersBelow are (most of) the plagiarizing papers of which we are aware. Where possible, we provide marked-up versions in which plagiarized sections (paragraphs, figures, equations) are highlighted as follows: same or almost identical ideas as our 6S research papers, or verbatim reproduction.
In March 2006 we discovered a paper published in the Proc. of the International Conference on Computational Science and Its Applications (ICCSA 2005) by Gatani et al., which plagiarized our WWW2004 poster paper and a technical report that was posted on our homepage while under review (and later appeared in Proc. WTAS 2005). We reported our complaint to the ICCSA 2005 conference committee, publisher, and organization along with the evidence we found. They forwarded the information to Springer, which published the proceedings containing the offending paper, but unfortunately Springer took no action at the time.
In June 2006 contacted the ACM, who published the proceedings of WWW2004. In the following several months, more papers published by the same authors were identified as also plagiarizing our WTAS paper as well as other papers of ours on 6S. After a long term investigation, discussion, and explanation among related parties, IW3C2 (the International WWW Conference Committee) and ACM were convinced that our plagiarism complaint had merit. ACM placed a plagiarism notice on each plagiarizing paper included in the ACM Portal. We appreciate the support of both the ACM and the IW3C2 in investigating this incident.
In October 2007 we filed a complain with the IEEE and the editor-in-chief and publisher of Multiagent and Grid Systems, asking them to remove the offending papers from their digital libraries and mark them as episodes of plagiarism. The latter conducted its investigation quickly, confirmed the plagiarism, and removed the offending paper from the MGS journals, adding a notice of copyright violation. The IEEE was slow to respond.
We also notified the Dean and supervisors of the plagiarizers at the University of Palermo in October 2007. This led first to a departmental investigation (see above), and Gatani's admission of responsibility and resignation. The department also contacted some publishers, including Springer, which removed one offending paper (but not others) from their digital library.
Subsequently the Dean at the University of Palermo appointed an international ad-hoc committee, including Prof. Jon Rokne, Vice President of the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board. After the committee's report, Prof. Rokne conducted an investigation on behalf of IEEE, confirmed the plagiarism. As a result, In October 2009 the offending papers in the IEEE digital library were removed from IEEE Xplore and replaced by notices of violation of IEEE Publication Principles. Later, the offending papers were also removed and replaces with notices of plagiarism in the IEEE Computer Society Digital Library. We appreciate these steps.
Timeline and relevant communications
Last updated Aug 2010
|This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under award N. IIS-0133124 and IIS-0348940. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.|