Overview of ACM Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism

Updated April 6, 2017

ACM is dedicated to serving the computing and information technology community by fostering the open exchange of research and promoting the highest professional and ethical standards in publishing this content for distribution world-wide. ACM aims to serve readers' and authors' interests by publishing high-quality original works, including papers, audio and video presentations, web postings, technical reports, conferences, books, etc.

Maintaining the integrity of these works, defending authors' rights against plagiarism*, providing a stable means of linking to them, promoting the dissemination of these works to the widest possible readership in contemporary media, and preserving access to them indefinitely despite changes in technology are among our most fundamental principles.

ACM provides access to the Crossref iThenticate® Similarity checker or other approved tools for use during the submission process. http://www.ithenticate.com/products/faqs, http://www.ithenticate.com/training. The software works by comparing the submitted work against all scholarly content uploaded and indexed by publishers participating in the Crossref Similarity Check Service or by comparing multiple works uploaded by the user of the software.

For ACM Conferences:

  • Steering/program committee designates 1 or 2 individuals to be responsible for using software for conference submissions and should send an email to Director of Publications with the names and email addresses of the individuals who will use the software.
  • Those names and email addresses will be registered in the system to receive automatic email with a link to login and change the password.
  • Once they login to the system, start uploading submissions, and using the software.

Definition and Context of Plagiarism

Respecting intellectual property rights is foundational to ACM's Codes of Ethics. Plagiarism, in terms of ACM publications, also extends to the misrepresentation of one’s data, computer codes or other literal or creative expression as one's own, and is a clear violation of such ethical principles. Plagiarism manifests itself in a variety of forms, including:

  • Verbatim copying, near-verbatim copying, or intentionally paraphrasing portions of another author's paper;
  • Copying elements of another author's paper, such as equations or illustrations that are not common knowledge, or copying or purposely paraphrasing sentences without citing the source; and
  • Verbatim copying of portions of another author's paper with citing but not clearly differentiating what text has been copied (e.g., not applying quotation marks correctly) and/or not citing the source correctly.

These acts of copying without proper attribution may result in a range of penalties.

Plagiarism can also represent copyright infringement, which is a violation of U.S. Copyright law, punishable with penalties and monetary damages assessed.

Authors’ Responsibility

  • All authors and co-authors are individually and collectively responsible for the content of papers published by ACM. Hence, it is the responsibility of each author to ensure that papers submitted to ACM attain the highest ethical standards with respect to plagiarism.
  • Self-plagiarism is a related issue, which is also covered in the full ACM Policy and Procedures on Plagiarism. See also Policy on Author Representations.

Procedures for Reporting and Investigating Plagiarism Claims

  • Notifying ACM of Alleged Plagiarism - To inform ACM of alleged plagiarism, send email to the ACM Director of Publications. The following minimum information is required for ACM to initiate a plagiarism investigation:
    • The names and contacts of the person(s) making the claim and their relationship to the allegation (e.g., author of plagiarized work, reviewer or editor of plagiarizing work).
    • A citation to the original paper(s) (paper title, author, publication title, date of publication).
    • A citation to the alleged plagiarizing paper.
    • Indication of specific pages, sections, paragraphs in each work alleged as evidence of the plagiarism.

    ACM encourages the submission of the following additional information to aid in its investigation:

    • Copies of all papers involved in the alleged plagiarism.
    • Additional information regarding how to obtain involved papers that are unpublished (e.g., a technical report, an online posting).
    • Any other information that would help ACM efficiently resolve the claim.
  • Investigating the Claim

    *Note: ACM can only process plagiarism claims involving material published under ACM Copyright or the ACM Publishing License Agreements.

    • Upon receipt of an allegation of plagiarism, the Director of Publications will inform the appropriate ACM volunteers and Senior Headquarters Staff. The Director will then coordinate the investigation.
    • Investigation may include:
      • Manual and/or automated tests of content similarity;
      • Soliciting comments to the claim from the Editor-in-Chief (if a journal) or Program Chair (if a conference proceedings) and referees of either or both papers;
      • Forming an ad hoc committee of experts in the field to review the claim.
    • All aspects of an investigation are treated with the utmost regard for confidentiality. However, in order to ensure timely and effective resolution, details of a claim will be circulated to individuals on a need-to-know basis.
  • Results of the Investigation and Interpreting the Report - Once a decision has been reached, it will be communicated to all parties immediately by the ACM Director of Publications. If plagiarism has been found, all parties will be informed of the penalties and the actions that will be taken. Guidance for interpreting the resulting reports is available at http://www.ithenticate.com/training/dv-walkthrough.
  • Penalties for Plagiarism - When plagiarism has been found to have occurred, ACM will take the actions determined by the type of plagiarism. Unless determined otherwise during the investigation, all authors are deemed to be individually and collectively responsible for the content of a plagiarizing paper. The types of penalties and actions are detailed in Plagiarism Policy, Part 6.

Third-Party Claims against ACM

Should a claim arise against ACM (i.e., that a paper published by ACM has plagiarized non-ACM copyrighted work) the ACM Director of Publications and ACM's Publications Board Ethics and Plagiarism Committee will fully cooperate with the third party during the investigative phase and will inform the full Publications Board of the conclusions and the actions taken.

ACM's Publications Board Ethics and Plagiarism Committee

The ACM Publications Board’s Ethics & Plagiarism Committee places the investigation of each claim of plagiarism at the highest priority for resolution and action. The basics are outlined here, and specific details of all aspects of reporting and investigating claims, and penalties for plagiarism are found here.

ACM Policies on Authorship

Anyone listed as Author on an ACM paper must meet certain criteria, including making substantial intellectual contributions to some components of the original work and drafting and/or revising the paper. Read the entire set of criteria in the Policy on Authorship.

Authors submitting papers for peer-review to ACM publications will represent that the paper submitted is original; that the work submitted is not currently under review at any other publication venue; that they have the rights and intent to publish the work in the venue to which it is submitted; and that any prior publications on which this work is based are documented appropriately. Read more about this policy in the Author Representation Policy.

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