The Bright Side of Plagiarism

You know, people tend to think of plagiarism as a bad thing but I have a story for you that indicates that every cloud really does have a silver lining. It comes from my brother, Jeremy Gans, who is an associate professor at the University of Melbourne Law School. Just this morning he received a letter from a journal editor explaining that they had a submission which they had reviewed and thought highly of that, upon further examination, turned out to be a plagiarised version of one of Jeremy’s working papers on SSRN. Anyhow, they were writing to enquire if he would like to publish the paper – with his name substituted (you know, as a revise and resubmit requirement) – for that of the submitter. Apparently, he was happy to as the paper had not received as welcome a reception at another journal. Oh and by the way, this was the second time this had happened to Jeremy on that same paper but the first time the plagiarism was detected before review.

In this world where we extol the benefits of open innovation we all still apparently agree that plagiarism shouldn’t be allowed. But I think we need to qualify that statement. This story shows how the plagiarists can work for you and speed up the publication process. Yes, I know, it might not seem so great if the plagiarist isn’t caught but they eventually are. Then you get an instant publication without any fuss.

Strategically, the key is to write your papers such that they get picked up by plagiarists as likely candidates for extra submitting effort. You know, post a Word file on your web page to make the process easier.