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:

  • Luca Gatani, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Università degli Studi di Palermo
  • Giuseppe Lo Re, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Università degli Studi di Palermo

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.

  • Salvatore Gaglio, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Università degli Studi di Palermo (5)
  • Edoardo Ardizzone, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Università degli Studi di Palermo (4)
  • Marco La Cascia, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Università degli Studi di Palermo (4)
  • Marco Ortolani, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Università degli Studi di Palermo (4)
  • Alfonso Urso, Istituto di Calcolo e Reti ad Alte Prestazioni, CNR, Palermo (1)
  • Luigi Noto, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Università degli Studi di Palermo (1)
  • Alessandra De Paola, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Informatica, Università degli Studi di Palermo (1)

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 Papers

Below 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.
  1. An Adaptive Routing Mechanism for Efficient Resource Discovery in Unstructured P2P Networks. Proc. International Conference on Computational Science and Its Applications (ICCSA 2005), Part III. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3482, p. 39. Springer. Marked-up version
  2. Reinforcement Learning for P2P Searching. Proc. 7th International Workshop on Computer Architecture for Machine Perception (CAMP'05), pp. 303-308. Marked-up version ACM notice IEEE Xplore notice IEEE CSDL notice
  3. An Adaptive Routing Protocol for Ad Hoc Peer-to-Peer Networks. Proc. 6th IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless Mobile and Multimedia Networks (WoWMoM'05). Marked-up version ACM notice IEEE Xplore notice IEEE CSDL notice
  4. An adaptive routing mechanism for P2P resource discovery. Proc. 5th IEEE International Symposium on Cluster Computing and the Grid (CCGrid'05), Volume 1. Marked-up version ACM notice IEEE Xplore notice IEEE CSDL notice
  5. Efficient Query Routing in Peer-to-Peer Networks. Proc. 3rd IEEE International Conference on Information Technology: Research and Education (ITRE'05), June 27-30, 2005, Hsinchu, Taiwan, pp. 393-397. IEEE Xplore notice
  6. An Efficient Adaptive Strategy for Searching in Peer-to-Peer Networks. Multiagent and Grid Systems 1 (3): 209-224, 2005. IOS Press, Amsterdam. IOS Press/MGS notice
  7. Enhanced P2P Services Providing Multimedia Content. Proc. Eighth IEEE International Symposium on Multimedia (ISM 2006), pp.637-646. IEEE Xplore notice IEEE CSDL notice
  8. An Adaptive Routing Mechanism for P2P Resource Discovery. Journal of Grid Computing, Volume 6, Number 4, December 2008. SpringerLink notice
  9. Distributed Multimedia Digital Libraries on Peer-to-Peer Networks. Proc. 14th International Conference Image Analysis and Processing Workshops (ICIAPW 2007), pp.77-82. IEEE Xplore notice IEEE CSDL notice
  10. ...and two more... See letter from Prof. Chella for full list.


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

March 06, 2006:
Notification of plagiarism to ICCSA 2005 Volume Editors and Conference Co-Chairs
March 10, 2006:
Reply from ICCSA 2005 chair, Prof. Marina Gavrilova
March 11, 2006:
ICCSA forwards the plagiarism message to Springer's LNCS publishing office
June 27, 2006:
Notification of plagiarism to ACM
June 27, 2006:
ACM director of publications, Prof. Mark Mandelbaum, starts investigation
June 28, 2006:
ICCSA sends Springer contact information to ACM
September 27, 2006:
Prof. Vincent Shen of IW2C2 (International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee) notifies Giuseppe Lo Re of plagiarism investigation and asks for explanation
September/October 2006:
Lo Re sends a first "explanation" about the plagiarism to Prof. Shen
November 2, 2006:
More plagiarizing papers found by IW3C2; Prof. Shen not convinced by explanation
November 10, 2006:
Another statement from Lo Re to Prof. Shen
November 10, 2006:
Apology/explanation letter to us from Lo Re
November 11, 2006:
IW3C2 not satisfied with Lo Re's response; Prof. Shen convinced of merit in plagiarism complaint
November 14, 2006:
Our response
November 15, 2006:
More egregious plagiarism
November 16, 2006:
Advice from Prof. Shen about next steps
November 25, 2006:
Discussion with ACM about plagiarism notices in ACM Portal
November 25, 2006:
Plagiarizing papers in ACM Portal
November 25, 2006:
ACM places plagiarism notices on plagiarizing papers appearing in ACM Portal
October 30, 2007:
This page created; letters to authorities at IEEE, IOS Press, Università degli Studi di Palermo, and CNR, Italy
November 10, 2007:
Reply from Prof. Unland, Editor-in-Chief of Multiagent and Grid Systems; comment on violation of copyright
November 15, 2007:
IEEE receives complaint and forwards to Computer Society for investigation
November 21, 2007:
Decision by Prof. Unland and IOS Press to remove offending paper from Multiagent and Grid Systems digital library
November 24, 2007:
Letter from Domenico Sacca', director of the Institute for High Performance Computing and Networking of the Italian National Research Council, about Alfonso Urso's role and Salvatore Gaglio's affiliation (corrected above)
November 28, 2007:
Letter from Alfonso Urso
December 4, 2007:
Letter from Antonio Chella, Director of the Department where the offending papers originated, with conclusions of internal investigation, acknowledgment of plagiarism, and remediation steps to be taken
December 4, 2007:
Letter of acknowledgment and apology from Giuseppe Lo Re
December 4, 2007:
Letter of acknowledgment and apology from Salvatore Gaglio
January 6, 2008:
Final remarks from Domenico Sacca'
February 13, 2008:
Follow-up from Prof. Chella
July 31, 2009:
Final report from international ad-hoc committee appointed by University of Palermo.
August 14, 2009:
Our response
October/November 2009:
IEEE VP Prof. Rokne completes IEEE investigation; offending papers replaced with Notice of Violation of Publication Principles in IEEE Xplore

About Plagiarism

Last updated Aug 2010

© Le-Shin Wu and Ruj Akavipat
   Computer Science Department
   Indiana University
   {rakavipa, lewu} at cs dot indiana dot edu

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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.