Bibliographic citation to a source of one’s research is neither an optional choice, nor a favor, nor a professional courtesy, nor a currency for enriching allies and impoverishing competitors. It is a fundamental, non-negotiable obligation of intellectual integrity.
For purposes of defining and implementing this policy, The Berlin Journal of Philosophy defines the concept of plagiarism not motivationally, but rather behaviorally and gradatim. If two articles containing the same argument or conception appear in print within a year of each other in traditional print media or within a week online, and there is no evidence of prior collegial contact, either direct or mediated, between the authors, neither article is obligated to cite the other. If an article is published containing the same argument or conception as one published two years earlier, the later one is prima facie obligated to cite the earlier. If an article is published containing substantially the same paragraph or section as one published three years earlier, the later one is self-evidently obligated to cite the earlier.
Interspersed among these three examples, along a multi-dimensional scale, are an infinite number of other possible cases, each of which must be judged on its specifics. Only some justify the inference that failure to meet this obligation was deliberate. It is the failure itself, not its motive, that is held to account by this policy. All such cases require that the purported appropriation be compared with the original and that the case be made for a liable similarity between them. It is up to the paper’s reader to make the judgment, and to justify it convincingly.
Should an anonymous referee of The Berlin Journal of Philosophy conclude that a blind-submitted paper fails the intellectual obligation of bibliographic citation, it is his or her professional responsibility to (1) support that conclusion by finding and presenting the original source(s) that should have been cited; (2) compare the two texts and make the case that citation of the earlier text(s) in the later one is obligatory; and (3) bring this evidence to the attention of the Journal. At this point the referee’s responsibility ends. At no point will the presentation of such a case threaten or compromise the referee’s anonymity in any way. The case must stand or fall on its own merits.
Should The Berlin Journal of Philosophy agree with the referee’s judgment that this obligation has been violated, it shall notify the author(s) in writing of this as soon as possible, including presentation of the evidence justifying this judgment. It shall offer the author(s) thirty (30) calendar days to redress this violation. In some cases, this means inserting the missing citation(s). In others, it means submitting a written rebuttal of this charge to the Journal. The rebuttal shall be a maximum of 2500 words in length, typed, double-spaced, with margins of 3 cm and a font size of 12 point minimum.
Should the Journal conclude, despite the author(s)’s rebuttal, that plagiarism has occurred, it shall notify the offending author(s) of this ruling and of the appropriate penalties. These may include, but are not limited to: revision of the paper to include the missing citation(s); rejection of the paper; requirement of a written apology from the author(s); a published retraction or correction in the Journal; banning of the author(s) from submitting material to The Berlin Journal of Philosophy for a period of at least three years; and/or informing the offender's head of department, dean or other appropriate official.
The author(s) may appeal the ruling to the Journal in writing within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of notification from the Journal, observing the same format as the rebuttal. The Journal’s decision on this appeal shall be final and binding. Should it reject the author’s appeal, it will administer the appropriate penalties accordingly. All individuals involved in reaching a judgment about a suspected case of plagiarism shall consult the following sources to assist in their deliberations:
The Berlin Journal of Philosophy unconditionally protects the anonymity of its referees and prohibits any retaliatory behavior, including but not limited to intimidation, reprisal, or harassment, directed against them or any other individual who files a complaint alleging plagiarism or participates in an investigation of it. The Journal thanks the Association of Symbolic Logic for the inspiration behind this policy.