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Plagiarism, copyright and intellectual property

A definition of plagiarism from the Office of Research Integrity:

Plagiarism includes both the theft or misappropriation of intellectual property and the substantial unattributed textual copying of another's work. It does not include authorship or credit disputes. The theft or misappropriation of intellectual property includes the unauthorized use of ideas or unique methods obtained by a privileged communication, such as a grant or manuscript review.

Author conduct and copyright

All authors are required to agree to our licence to publish when submitting their work. By submitting to the Royal Society, and agreeing to this licence, the submitting author agrees on behalf of all authors that:

  • the work is original, has not previously been published and is not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere; and
  • the author has obtained permission to use any material which has been sourced from third parties (eg illustrations, photographs, charts or maps), and the terms granted agree with our requirements (whether open access or not).

Authors of non open-access papers retain the copyright, but grant the Royal Society the exclusive right to edit, adapt, translate, publish, reproduce, distribute and display the article in printed, electronic or any other medium and format.

Authors opting for open access publication publish their work under a CC-BY licence, which allows redistribution and reuse, with attribution to the authors.

Referee conduct and intellectual property

Authors are entitled to expect that referees or other individuals privy to the work an author submits to a journal will not steal their research ideas or plagiarise their work.

We require all referees to treat submitted material in confidence until it has been published.

Any allegations of theft or plagiarism must be substantiated and will be treated seriously.

Even if referee identities are revealed, we will discourage authors from contacting referees directly if misconduct is suspected.