We are proud that in the past decade, so many authors outside the U.S. have published in our Journals. These authors make an important contribution to cross-cultural research in psychology and related fields. All authors receive our best editorial support so that their research is comprehensively presented in standard English, ensuring that our wide audience of readers is able to understand and use their results.
In the recent past, however, we have encountered what we characterize as a serious cultural misunderstanding of international copyright law. Plagiarism, as defined by that law, has been caught multiple times by our reviewers. The consequences to the authors depend on the policies of their universities; however, in the U.S. and in many other countries, plagiarism is considered to be a very serious ethics violation, for which one could lose one’s job. Even authors in Western countries seem less aware of the copyright law and plagiarism than we thought, so we wish to clarify the law and how it will be applied by these Journals.
Most simply, plagiarism is defined as copying closely another person’s published or unpublished written work—either the sequence of ideas or the words themselves. U.S. Copyright law allows quotations of specific, limited length, using quotation marks and followed by a citation. As editors, we discourage quotations except where absolutely necessary, because it is best to synthesize ideas oneself; then, naturally, the organization and wording of the manuscript is original. Authors must sign a form to remind them that their manuscripts must be original and are not concurrently under submission elsewhere.
If there are difficulties with writing in English, we suggest that a manuscript be written in the authors’ native tongue, then translated working carefully with a professional or native English speaker. Frequently, authors can find a student from an English-speaking country who is studying at their university; these students are usually glad to be of help for some small recognition. On our part, the three editors have collectively 100 years of experience in helping authors improve their writing once an English translation has been submitted.
Difficulty with writing in a second language is not a sufficient excuse for plagiarism. In keeping with the philosophy of copyright protection, Ammons Scientific has now joined CrossCheck(1) Submitted manuscripts will be uploaded to compare the text to all published works of participating publishers. Identical text strings will be tagged and considered by editors; if plagiarism has occurred, our process for correction involves the author and his or her department Chair, reviewers, and authors of original material. While we will be lenient with cooperative authors, it is possible that offenders will be banned from publishing in these Journals for plagiarism, dual submission, and other ethical violations(2)
If you have any questions or comments, please write. We appreciate such input.
Perceptual and Motor Skills
(2)American Psychological Association (2001) Publication Manual. 5th Ed. Washington, D.C.: APA.