Guidelines for Handling Complaints on Plagiarism

This is a guideline for handling complaints on plagiarism pertinent to IEEE CSS publications (i.e., Trans. AC, Trans. CST, CSM, and other CSS sponsored conference proceedings, i.e., CDC and MSC). 

1. A complaint/appeal may be brought to the attention of

  a) Editors-in-Chief (EiCs),

  b)  Conference Publication Chairs,

  c)  IEEE officials (e.g., Anthony Vengraitis (IPR specialist)),

  d)  VP Publication Activities,

  e)  Or through any other pertinent channels.

2.  Once a complaint is received, this should be brought to an attention of VP Publication Activities.  While IEEE operations manual states that this be handled by pertinent editors or publication chairs (for conferences), it is more logical to maintain VP PA as a unique channel through which all remaining procedures be handled. 

 3.  VP PA then contacts pertinent parties (plaintiff, offending authors) if necessary, and form an ad hoc committee (the committee, hereafter).  This committee consists usually from 3-5 experts.  The role of the committee is to determine the level of plagiarism (if applicable) and also the level of corrective actions according to the PSPB (Publication Services and Products Board) operations manual (ops manual, hereafter):  (Section 8.2.4: Allegation of Misconduct)

4. VP PA can chair the ad hoc committee, or he/she can also assign someone to chair the committee.  In either case, VP PA by default becomes a member of the committee.  This helps to keep track of various cases, and maintain a consistent policy. 

5. In contacting the offending authors, the attached template letter may be useful.  Sometimes, it is difficult to contact all of the authors, but we should try our best to notify all of them.  It is also important to maintain an objective attitude until it was determined to be a plagiarism by the committee.  Hence it is better to say "alleged plagiarism" rather than just "plagiarism".  It is also important not to reveal the identity of the plaintiff and the committee members.  The authors are given approx. 1 month period to respond to such claims.  The replies are to be brought to the attention of the committee.

6. The committee makes necessary investigations, and determines the level of plagiarism and corrective actions.  The chair then submits a report, obtains the approval of the committee, and contact the authors, as well as the relevant editors and the IEEE IPR office (see below), as to the disposition of the case.

7. The corrective actions enforced range from 5 year ban from all IEEE publications to apology to the plagiarized authors and publication editor.  They also include a statement in the IEEE Xplore that the pertinent paper is a plagiarism.  See Section 8.2.4.D of the ops manual. 

8.  If the level of plagiarism falls into the category of 1 and 2 of Section 8.2.4.D of the ops manual, the corrective actions should be approved by the PSPB committee/chair.  The pertinent contact is Anthony Vengraitis (IPR Specialist, IEEE Intellectual Property Rights Office; 

9. Some cases can be delicate, and VP PA is expected to use his expertise and wisdom to handle delicate cases.  When the case enters into a legal level (e.g., defendant hires an attorney), VP should immediately consult the IEEE and request their assistance in legal matters.

10.  APPEAL:  If the pertinent party disagrees with the decision of the committee, they can make an appeal either to the President of CSS or to the chair of the PSPB committee.  If the appeal is made to the CSS President he/she can further investigate the matter, either in the Executive Committee of CSS or by forming an independent committee.  VP PA should provide all necessary information upon request by him.