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Chinese software detects academic plagiarists
Updated: 2009-03-17 20:03

BEIJING - Chinese academic journals have started using new anti-plagiarism software to cross-check papers after a series of plagiarism and academic fraud scandals.

The program, Academic Misconduct Literature Check (AMLC), was developed by the China Academic Journals Electronic Publishing House and Tsinghua Tongfang Knowledge Network Technology Group (TTKN).

It was offered to editors of natural science journals in December last year and to college professors on March 12, a TTKN spokesman said Tuesday.

Academic papers will be cross-checked with more than 60 million published articles collected on a database established by Tsinghua University in 1994, said the spokesman, who refused to be named.

The database contained articles from about 7,500 academic journals as well as dissertations, yearbooks and papers given at important seminars, and is regarded as the biggest of its kind.

More than 1,000 academic journals of natural sciences were using AMLC and about 72,000 papers had been checked with the program since December, he said. "We have received favorable feedback from editors."

About 200 universities had begun a trial use of the software as well, he said.

Technicians were still working on solutions to help editors of social sciences journals so the program was not yet open to them, he added.

Most academic publishers and professors screened for plagiarism by relying on peer reviewers with expertise.

"We hope this software will provide technical assistance to prevent plagiarism," the TTKN spokesman said.

"The program can only check papers written in Chinese and can not cross-check them with foreign articles because we do not have them in the database," the TTKN spokesman said.

The program was free, but a fee would be charged in the future, he said.

On Sunday, the elite Zhejiang University fired an associate professor who was caught copying a former doctoral supervisor's research results in eight of his theses and sending one paper to different journals for publication.

The scandal also involved Li Lianda, one of China's top experts on Traditional Chinese Medicine and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

The incident evoked public concern because the fraudulent theses were sent to international academic journals, such as the Phytotherapy Research in the United Kingdom.