Text Recycling Research Project: update was published in the March, 2021 issue of the Committee on Publication Ethics Digest. Read it here.
Cary Moskovitz published “Standardizing terminology for text recycling in research writing” in Learned Publishing.
While increasing awareness of text recycling has led to the proliferation of policies, journal editorials, and scholarly articles addressing the practice, these documents tend to employ inconsistent terminology—using different terms to name the same key ideas and, even more problematic, using the same terms with different meanings. This paper first clarifies the problems with current terminology, showing how key terms are used inconsistently across publisher policies for authors, guidelines for editors, and textbooks on research ethics. It then offers a new taxonomy of text‐recycling practices with terms designed to align with the acceptability of these practices in common research writing and publishing contexts. You can read the article here: FULL-TEXT.
Ian Anson and Cary Moskovitz have published “Text recycling in STEM: A text-analytic study of recent NSF-sponsored research reports” in Accountability in Research.
Over the past decade, text recycling has become an increasingly debated practice in research ethics, especially in science and technology fields. Little is known, however, about researchers’ actual text recycling practices. We report here on a computational analysis of text recycling in published research articles in STEM disciplines. According to our analysis, STEM research groups frequently recycle some material from their previously published articles. On average, papers in our corpus contained about three recycled sentences per article, though a minority of research teams (around 15%) recycled substantially more content. These findings were generally consistent across STEM disciplines. We also find evidence that researchers superficially alter recycled prose much more often than recycling it verbatim.
Read it here: FULL-TEXT
Chris Anson, Susanne Hall, Michael A. Pemberton & Cary Moskovitz. Reuse in STEM Research Writing: Rhetorical and Practical Considerations and Challenges. AILA Review, Vol. 33, 2020, pp. 120–135. issn 1461-0213. doi.org/10.1075/aila.00033.ans LINK FULL TEXT
Text recycling involves the verbatim reuse of text from one’s own existing documents in a newly-created text— such as the duplication of a paragraph or section from a published article in a new article. Although plagiarism is widely eschewed across academia and the publishing industry, the ethics of text recycling are not agreed upon and are currently being vigorously debated. In this article, we first describe and illustrate text recycling in the context of academic writing. We then explain and document several themes that emerged from interviews with publishers of peer-reviewed academic journals. These themes demonstrate the vexed and unsettle nature of text recycling as a discursive phenomenon in academic writing and publishing. In doing so, we focus on the complex relationships between personal (role-based) and social (norm-based) aspects of scientific publication, complicating conventional models of the writing process that have inadequately accounted for authorial decisions about accuracy, efficiency, self-representation, adherence to existing or imagined rules and norms, perceptions of ownership and copyright, and fears of impropriety.
Talk at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) yields news coverage for TRRP in Environmental Factor magazine.
The TRRP made news in the environmental science magazine Environmental Factor, a publication of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Read the piece, “No clear guidelines on self-plagiarism in science, Moskovitz says” here.
Cary Moskovitz & Susanne Hall. Text Recycling in STEM Research: An Exploratory Investigation of Expert and Novice Beliefs and Attitudes. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, March, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047281620915434 LINK FULL-TEXT
When writing journal articles, STEM researchers produce a number of other genres such as grant proposals and conference posters, and their articles routinely build directly on their own prior work. As a result, STEM authors often reuse material from their completed documents in producing new documents. While this practice, known as text recycling (or self-plagiarism), is a debated issue in publishing and research ethics, little is known about researchers’ beliefs about what constitutes appropriate practice. This article presents results of an exploratory, survey-based study on beliefs and attitudes toward text recycling among STEM “experts” (faculty researchers) and “novices” (graduate students and postdocs). While expert and novice researchers are fairly consistent in distinguishing between text recycling and plagiarism, there is considerable disagreement about appropriate text recycling practice.
In February, members of the TRRP gave two presentations at the 2020 annual meeting of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics in Atlanta, GA. Cary Moskovitz presented “The Text Recycling Research Project: The Challenges and Our Approach” as part of the Responsible Conduct Of Research-Research Integrity Consortium pre-conference workshop. Chris Anson, Ian Anson and Michael Pemberton joined Cary to present a panel session, “Findings from the Text Recycling Research Project.”
Cary Moskovitz and Susanne Hall presented “Text Recycling in Scientific Research Writing” at the American Medical Writers Association Medical Writing & Communication Conference in San Diego, CA on Nov 7, 2019.
New publication out today. Text recycling: Views of North American journal editors from an interview-based study.
Michael A. Pemberton, Susanne Hall, Cary Moskovitz & Chris Anson. Text Recycling: Views of North American Journal Editors from an Interview-Based Study. Learned Publishing, 2019. DOI: 10.1002/leap.1259
Results from an interview-based study of 21 journal editors from a broad range of academic disciplines. Our findings show that editors’ beliefs and practices are quite individualized, rather than being tied to disciplinary or other structural parameters.
Three members of the TRRP will share our first findings on STEM researchers actual recycling practices in a talk titled “Text Recycling in STEM Disciplines: Results from a Text Analytic Study” at the 8th International Conference on Writing Analytics, 5-6 September 2019, Winterthur, Switzerland. Here is the abstract:
Text recycling (TR), sometimes called “self-plagiarism”, is the reuse of text verbatim from one’s own existing documents in a newly- created text. In a (US) federally-funded grant, we have been studying TR patterns using several methodologies. In one strand of this research, we have created a tool in R to analyze large corpora of published articles to determine the extent of TR occurrence. In this presentation, we briefly describe the goals of the project and the analytic system we have developed. We then share the results of an analysis of 400 published papers associated with eight disciplines. Results show the frequency of TR across disciplines in articles generated from the same grants. These results demonstrate that substantial variation exists in text recycling practices across disciplines and individual authors. We conclude by speculating about the causes of these patterns, especially as they have evolved over time.