Author education option in a plagiarism case

At the request of the Vice-President of the IEEE Publications and Services Products Board, the IPR Office has developed an author-education component to the plagiarism resolution process that requires authors to take a prepared learning module and pass an accompanying exam as a remedy to their Level 1 or Level 2 misconduct. The author-education option has been developed to address the increasing number of authors each year who have been banned from publishing due to plagiarism.
The following outline describes the author education option to the resolution process:
  • Upon completion of a resolution review where Level 1 or Level 2 plagiarism is found, the IPR Office staff (in conjunction with the publication volunteer and the PSPB Chair) will send a letter to the author that will include the decision on the case, and the option for taking the course.  The letter will include a link and login credentials. The author will be given 90 days to complete the course and pass the exam.
  • The course will include topics such as publishing ethics, the proper method of referencing any reused material, in-text citation of work, delineation of reused material.
  • After finishing the course, the author will be required to complete a brief online exam on the material from the course. Authors must pass the exam with a grade of 70 or better to avoid being placed on the PAL.
  • IPR Office staff will add the author’s name to a Watch List for the full term of the author ban.
  • Upon passing the exam, the IPR Office staff will inform the author of the revised corrective actions.
  • IPR Office staff will note the completion of the course in the case file for future reference. Repeat offenders will not be given the option to take the course, and will have their manuscripts rejected immediately and their names will then be placed on the PAL.

Publication volunteers who would like to recommend this option for authors involved with any open plagiarism cases can inform the IPR Office during the review of the case.

IEEE Prohibited Authors List (PAL)

The Prohibited Authors List (PAL) is an important tool in ensuring the high quality of IEEE’s publications. The PAL contains the names of authors who were found to have violated IEEE’s publishing conduct guidelines (usually because of significant plagiarism) and consequently have been banned from submitting new manuscripts to IEEE’s journals and conferences.  
PAL for Nominations or Appointments
Policy language has been added to the PSPB Operations Manual to codify the expanded use of the PAL, and to encourage volunteers from other organizational units to use the PAL when reviewing nominations or appointments of individuals to positions of leadership or decision-making roles within IEEE. These include EICs, associate editors, conference organizers, Society Conference VPs, and Society Pubs VPs. The policy is described in the report entitled "Appropriate Use of the Prohibited Author List" (PDF, 1 MB).
Volunteers who are interested in using the PAL are encouraged to send an email request to with:
  1. A brief description of his/her role within IEEE
  2. How the PAL will be used
Requests will be presented to the IEEE Vice President, IEEE Publication Services and Products for approval.
PAL Database
Since 2006, the IPR staff has circulated a spreadsheet each month to all PAL recipients and more recently has managed the PAL Database for IEEE volunteers to compare their list of author names against a database of prohibited author metadata. The PAL Database includes an automated tool that compares a spreadsheet of author names and email addresses against the database of prohibited authors and presents the results on screen (or in a downloadable file). The Database also allows volunteers to input an individual author’s name or email address for quick comparison against PAL metadata, or to browse the names alphabetically.
The PAL Database is available on the CrossCheck Portal site.  After registering through the Portal, volunteers can begin using the PAL Database immediately by logging in with their IEEE Web Account credentials. The PAL Database is always up to date with the most recent status of all prohibited authors. Volunteers who find a matching name are still advised to contact the IPR Office in order to confirm the identity of the author before taking any action.

Documents and forms

Getting Started

Checklist and Schedule (DOC, 33.5 KB): A list of necessary steps to be taken in any plagiarism case, as well as a recommended schedule for each step.  

Plagiarism Review Process Flowchart (PDF, 66 KB): A schematic representation of the process used to adjudicate plagiarism complaints.

PSPB Operations Manual (PDF, 1 MB): Publication policies of the IEEE as set by the Publications Services and Products Board and approved by the IEEE Board of Directors. Section 8.2.4 addresses the process for handling allegations of misconduct and includes the Plagiarism Guidelines.

Description of Plagiarism Levels (PDF, 32 KB): An excerpt from the PSPB Operations Manual that describes the five plagiarism levels and the corresponding corrective actions for each level.  

Reviewing and Concluding

Case Summary Form (DOC, 42 KB): This form is used to report all the necessary details of Levels 1 or 2 case requiring approval from the PSPB VP.

Notices of Violation of Publication Principles: A Notice must be posted on all offending papers in Xplore for cases of Levels 1 through 4 plagiarism. Posting a Notice is optional for Level 5 plagiarism.

Letter templates

These letter templates may be used as a basis for official letters that need to be sent to parties involved in plagiarism complaints. All templates are available as Microsoft Word doc files. If another format is needed, please contact the IEEE IPR Office.

Initial Communications

Notifying Authors of Complaint (DOC, 23 KB): Sent at the outset of the case to inform the accused authors of the complaint and to allow them an opportunity to respond. The authors' response will need to be included as part of the ad hoc committee's review.

Notifying Authors of Multiple Submission/Publication (DOC, 22 KB): Sent to authors if they have submitted a manuscript to more than one publication. This letter informs the authors of IEEE policy on multiple submission and publication and may serve as part of the corrective actions described in Section 8.2.4.F of the PSPB Operations Manual.

Dismissed Case-Informing Accused Author (DOC, 21.5 KB): Sent to accused authors if a case is found to have no merit.

Dismissed Case-Informing Complainant (DOC 21.5 KB): Sent to complainants if a case is found to have no merit.

Final Decision

Informing Accused Authors

Additional Letters

Notifying Third-Party Publisher of Final Decision (DOC, 22.5 KB): Sent to outside (non-IEEE) publishers in complaints that involve plagiarized IEEE material that appears in their publication. 

Appeal Decision (DOC, 21.5 KB): Sent to notify an author of an appeal decision.

Rejecting Paper Due to Banned Author (DOC, 22 KB): Sent to a group of authors to inform them that their paper has been rejected due to one of the authors being listed on the Prohibited Authors List.

Copyright or Trademark Infringement