Summary: Challenges and Responses in Mathematical Research Publishing
Douglas N. Arnold
A case of plagiarism
The world of scholarly publishing is increasingly challenged by journals which do not uphold basic standards of
scholarly integrity. Although they typically claim to implement a peer review process, often the process is non-
existent or grossly insufficient. One outcome is that plagiarized material is published.
In 2009 the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), a professional organization that publishes
about 15 respected journals, encountered such a case when the authors of one its articles found their 175 word
abstract, verbatim, on the web page of another journal attached to a paper with a different title and different authors.
SIAM set out to investigate the situation. They first contacted the publisher of the other journal, Research India
Publications (RIP), and also its Editor-in-Chief. The publisher did not respond, while the EIC reported that he
himself was not able to contact the publisher! SIAM established that the whole paper published in IJSS, not just the
abstract, was plagiarized verbatim. However the plagiarized version was severely truncated, constituting just the
last five pages of the 25 page SIAM paper, perhaps because RIP imposes a per page charge of $20 on the authors.
Consequently, the paper published by RIP makes little sense. It begins abruptly without introduction, the abstract
mostly summarizes materials that had been removed from paper, and the reference list mostly refers to such
The situation did not end there. SIAM found that the plagiarizing authors had published or submitted at least half a
dozen papers which were copied from other people's work. It then managed to get an admission from the authors by
contacting their institutions with this evidence. Once the investigation was complete, SIAM wrote up the outcome