What to do when general words are flagged by plagiarism detection software? — R Voice

What to do when general words are flagged by plagiarism detection software?

Kakoli Majumder
Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 329 admin

Plagiarism detection software is widely used by journals to weed out papers at the initial editorial screening stage before they are sent out for review. Most researchers conduct a plagiarism self-check before submission to ensure they clear the plagiarism check at the journal end. But sometimes, the plagiarism report shows a high percentage of similar content, due to no fault of the researcher's. Have you come across such a situation? What do you do when the similarity score is high due to the use of general words or words that you cannot avoid using in your paper? Any suggestions on how to work around this problem would I think be helpful not only to the author who shared this question, but to many others in this community.



  • Vivien Kretz
    Vivien Kretz Member Posts: 276 ✭✭✭

    Hi @Kakoli Majumder - this is such an important topic. I have definitely had this issue before and I think working on academic matters entails working in constant dread of plagiarism. I sometimes received a very high score by the plagiarism checker, but it ended up just fine once the paper got reviewed by my supervisor. I appreciate any other tips as I face that fear regularly as well.

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 329 admin

    @Vivien Kretz You're absolutely on point there - that feeling of dread once we see the plagiarism report - and the increased heart rate each time you revise and again upload your paper on the same software - it's not easy to deal with. Like your supervisor did, if the editor went through the paper, they would probably realize that it's not plagiarized - that the plagiarism checker has probably just detected common words that you can't avoid. But you can't really rest until you've revised and re-revised the paper again to reduce the similarity index - sometimes at the cost of flow, or worse, lack of clarity. What are your thoughts on this @Omololu FAGBADEBO @Gayatri Ramachandran @Gustavo Arluna @Suman Mundkur?

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 190 ✭✭✭

    @Kakoli Majumder , thanks for raising this important issue. The initial weeding process of manuscripts takes cognizance of general/common words. If they are flagged and that becomes the basis of high similarity, then take a look at the context of their usage. That is why each researcher should have his/her unique writing language. Use common/general words within the context of your work according to o your unique writing style and command of language.

    One thing at a time😍

  • Gayatri Ramachandran
    Gayatri Ramachandran Member Posts: 233 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for bringing up this again on this platform @Kakoli Majumder! I said "again" since I had mentioned this in a previous discussion here but since it was not the focus point in the query raised, perhaps it had gone unanswered. I concur fully well with @Vivien Kretz on that feeling of dread. Thanks to @Omololu FAGBADEBO for pointing out a very subtle and often unnoticed aspect as a unique writing style! His words made it dawn on me as to why my supervisor never faces this issue. Though I had sought his help in this matter, he wasn't quite sure about how he got it right :D.Being a very elderly, senior researcher belonging to that generation when plagiarism was un-heard of in academia, I could understand why he couldn't help me specifically with this issue. Now, when I connect Omolulu's words to my PI's style it all makes sense. Perfect sense! Thanks a bunch Omolulu for connecting that dot🤗. Will definitely keep this in mind, henceforth!

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 190 ✭✭✭
    edited September 7

    One thing at a time😍

  • Gustavo Arluna
    Gustavo Arluna Member Posts: 123 ✭✭✭

    Wow, such an important issue. I am just reading the comments as I wouldn't know what to do in such situation. 😮