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Scientists don't often turn the microscope on themselves, and when they do, the results sometimes prove disappointing.
"It's just too easy to cut and paste these days," says Harold Garner of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, an expert of scientific plagiarism.
In a report in the current journal Science, his team lists excuses offered by "potential" plagiarists, authors of studies in which the text was, on average, 86.2% similar to previously-published work. Last year, the same team reported in Nature that a sample of the federal government's PubMed database of studies suggests about 1 in 200 papers is plagiarized....
Ecclesiastes 2:21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.