Detected: plagiarism of my thesis work

Hi all!

I have just found that my thesis « inspired » one of microbiologists from Saudi Arabia which plagiarized the part of my work where I discuss mumps virus vaccines in his mini-review. Different kinds of plagiarism were detected, the whole publication was actually based on my discussion and investigation about safety and efficacy of mumps vaccines. The most prominent part of plagiarism:

My thesis (published in January 2020):

Plagiarist’s work (published in August 2020):

According to the price list of the Frontiers the cost of publication of this mini-review was about $1k.

What should I do with this? What do you think? Interesting, if any of you ever had this kind of experience?

Frontiers has a blog post/infographic on plagiarism and it seems like they are mostly concerned with verbatim copying of text. Indeed, it looks like the author did change the phrasing of your work a bit here (although he seems to have forgotten to cite, cite, cite your thesis). He may even have been told which parts he should rephrase by the plagiarism checker Frontiers uses! [reading that decreased my opinion of the incentives Frontiers has for research integrity a lot, if an article gets flagged for plagiarism, surely the author should be expected to correct this without a detailed report from the plagiarism checking software]

That said, if you google something like ‘research integrity paraphrasing plagiarism’, it’s clear that both paraphrasing too closely and/or not citing the sources you are paraphrasing is widely considered to be plagiarism by many universities and academic publishers.

If you care about this, you should write to the editors of that Frontiers journal and report this. The COPE has a flowchart on what process you should expect the editors to follow when investigating this. However, I don’t know how seriously the journal will take this, as the article has presumably already been given the green light by their iThenticate software. At most, I expect they may issue a correction that includes some citations to your thesis.

I am not aware of any of my work being plagiarised (yet!). I have reported one paper, where the entire text was copied directly from a book chapter (the original could easily be found by copying the paper abstract into google), for plagiarism. The article was published in a predatory looking journal from a Beall’s listed publisher - I never heard back and the journal still has an entry for the article on its site (although the pdf download link gives an error message)…

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