Plagiarism is the act of utilising another author's work, be it in the form of a book, article, website, etc., or their ideas, without proper acknowledgment of the source, whether through verbatim replication or paraphrasing. Prior to undergoing peer review, manuscripts submitted online are subjected to scrutiny for potential plagiarism using similarity detection software. Instances of suspected or alleged plagiarism are treated with utmost seriousness and are evaluated on an individual basis.
In the context of submitted manuscripts:
- Suspected plagiarism within a submitted manuscript may be brought to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief through either the similarity report generated by the plagiarism detection scan or by a reviewer of the manuscript.
- When a similarity report suggests a potential offense, the Editor-in-Chief examines both the report and the manuscript to ascertain whether material has been plagiarised, and if so, the extent of the plagiarism.
- If plagiarism is confirmed, the corresponding author is notified by the Editor-in-Chief, resulting in the rejection of the manuscript on these grounds.
- In cases of minor plagiarism where the Editor-in-Chief determines no intentional wrongdoing by the author/s, no further action is taken. However, for extensive or admitted plagiarism, the author/s' institution/s and funding bodies are notified, with the submitted and plagiarised material forwarded to them. Authors are informed by the Editor-in-Chief about the impending communication with their institution/s, and they are subsequently prohibited from future submissions to Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk.
- The reviewer reporting the suspected plagiarism is apprised of the investigation's outcome.
Regarding published articles:
- Upon receipt of a report on suspected plagiarism, the editorial office acknowledges the report and retrieves all pertinent documentation/evidence. The Editor-in-Chief examines this material to determine whether the article has been plagiarised and, if so, the extent of the plagiarism.
- If plagiarism is confirmed, the corresponding author is informed by the Editor-in-Chief and subjected to questioning.
- For extensive plagiarism or admissions thereof, the article is retracted, and a statement is issued in place of the article.
- The author/s' institution/s and funding bodies are informed of the offense, and both the submitted and plagiarised material are provided to them. Authors are notified by the Editor-in-Chief about the impending communication with their institution/s, and a future submission ban to Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk is imposed.
- The reader reporting the suspected plagiarism is apprised of the investigation's outcome.