A new computerized scan of the biomedical research literature has turned up tens of thousands of articles in which entire passages appear to have been lifted from other papers. Based on the study, researchers estimate that there may be as many as 200,000 duplicates among some 17 million papers in leading research database Medline.
The finding has already led one publication to retract a paper for being too similar to a prior article by another author.
Researchers Mounir Errami and Harold "Skip" Garner of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas used a text-matching algorithm to compare seven million Medline abstracts against matching entries flagged by the database's software as being closely related.
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