There are several ideas going around in my head regarding the reasons for the growing plagiarism in academic publications and that someone is willing to get into this game for money:
- There is great pressure to publish.
- Capitalism is pervading everything.
- In general, professors are not well paid.
- Some publishing activities are not remunerated, as academic editor or peer review.
And trying to clarify this issue in blogs and online discussions, I have been able to make a list of the types of plagiarism that currently exist, that could be seen as the worst practices for pirate-authors:
- Plagiarism: kidnapping or appropriation of others thoughts and ideas without acknowledging its source.
- Self-plagiarism or recycling fraud: reuse of your own texts without attributing previous publication.
- Ghost writing: write books, articles or other texts that are credited to another person, generally for money.
- Honorary authorship: include authors in a publication without adding value or contributing, inflating its credentials.
- Duplicate publication: use your own publications more than once, changing the title and abstract.
- Salami slicing: creating several short publications out of material that could have, perhaps more validly, been published as a single article in a journal or review.
- Remix or mosaic plagiarism: mixing several publications to obtain more publishable units.
- Image and data manipulation: modify data and results to obtain another document for publication.
It is amusing and dangerous at the same time the combination of some of the above activities, such as ghost writing and plagiarism, it would be that you pay for an article to be written but that in turn is plagiarized, so at the end, apart from wasting your money, you may run many risks, as the reputational one.
I am not sure before, but now with open access and the Internet is becoming easier to detect plagiarism of any of the existing types. Recently in Spain a professor has been condemned for plagiarizing a chapter of a student. In line with those worst practices above, the article could have been coauthored with the student – that is, the professor adds his name and the student the content, or that he did not even remember that it was not his? But I guess believing to be very smart is worse than plagiarism.