Similarity Check Terms and Conditions for Crossref Members

The Similarity Check Service is a program being offered by Crossref to its members, on an optional basis. The Similarity Check Service is designed to aid Crossref member publishers in identifying circumstances in which works being considered for publication may have been previously published in whole or in part by (i) facilitating the creation of the Similarity Check Database, (ii) identifying appropriate providers of software tools that can compare the text of works being considered for publication to the text of other works, including those in the Similarity Check Database, and (iii) establishing general recommended terms of participation for Participating Publishers and the identified software provider.

All Crossref members in good standing who currently meet all Crossref member obligations shall be eligible to participate in Similarity Check as “Participating Publishers.”  Participating Publishers must make substantially all of their Publisher Content  (as further defined below) available for inclusion in the Similarity Check database. To meet the required level of participation, the Participating Publisher must deposit the content associated with at least 90% of that publisher’s deposited DOIs for full text journal articles, although 100% inclusion of Publisher’s full text content in machine readable form (journal articles, conference proceedings articles, books and books chapters and theses and dissertations) (“the Publisher Content”) is the agreed goal.  Components (defined as subparts of content that are generally not citable) and datasets will not be included, and will not be considered "Publisher Content" for purposes of determining the level of participation. This requirement will also apply to the content associated with the Participating Publisher DOI’s deposited monthly with Crossref on an ongoing basis.

In addition, all Participating Publishers will enter into an agreement directly with the plagiarism detection vendor (the “Vendor”) providing the software platform for the Similarity Check services.  A form agreement can be found here: Similarity Check Service Agreement


Each Similarity Check Participating Publisher, subject to Vendor’s compliance with the service level standards and reporting obligations contained in the Vendor’s agreement with Similarity Check and in the Vendor’s agreement with each Participating Publisher:

  1. Must make Publisher Content available in the Similarity Check database on an ongoing basis, within no more than 7 days of digital availability, by both registering DOIs for Publisher Content with Crossref within this period and enabling Vendor to index Publisher Content. (Failure of the Vendor to index content made available by a participant will not affect the right of the Participating Publisher to use the Similarity Check service.  The Participating Publisher is only responsible for making content available for indexing.  Failure to make content available for indexing could result in suspension of the Similarity Check Service for a Participating Publisher.)
  2. Must deposit with Crossref, along with DOIs for the Publisher Content, full, correct and current metadata including article title and all authors.
  3. Must make the full text of the Publisher Content available, as part of the Similarity Check Database, to other Participating Publishers in the context of the interface provided by the Vendor as part of the content checking process. Users of the Vendor’s service who are not Participating Publishers will only see snippets of text with a DOI link to the Participating Publisher’s site, where the Participating Publisher will have full discretion to determine whether and on what terms to user may be given access to the full text.
  4. May not submit works to be checked against the Similarity Check Database through the Vendor’s service until substantially all the journal articles included in the Publisher Content has been made available to the Vendor for inclusion in the Similarity Check database (i.e., >90% of the journal content associated with eligible Participating Publisher DOIs on deposit with Crossref).
  5. Must have full-text URLs (also known as "as-crawled URLs") on deposit at Crossref that point to the full-text PDF (preferable) or HTML content.
  6. Is responsible for verifying that their in-house and outside editorial staff and reviewers do not use their access to the Similarity Check Service as a “back-door” method for getting free full-text access to included content. The steps to be used to accomplish this should include (i) limiting access to the service to those employees and outside contractors who, in the Participating Publisher’s reasonable judgment, have a need to use the service; (ii) requiring each employee and contractor using the service to register using his or her real name and current job title; (iii) limiting submissions to the service for checking to those that pertain to a publication published by the Participating Publisher; (iv) taking reasonable steps to ensure that account information and passwords used to access the service are kept confidential and are not shared beyond the permitted users of the service; (v) submitting to an audit of users, to be conducted by the Vendor at the Vendor’s cost no more often than once per year, to determine if unauthorized users are being given or are getting access to the Vendor’s services through the Participating Publisher; and (vi) taking reasonable steps to monitor use and potential abuse of the service, based on usage reports to be provided by Vendor.
  7. Shall be entitled to the number of accounts with Vendor that are reasonably necessary for the Participating Publisher to make use of the Service, with no set limit on the number of accounts on a per-publisher basis.
  8. Shall establish a procedure within the Participating Publisher for help desk and support questions regarding the use of the Vendor’s software, and shall made arrangements for appropriate training for one or more persons including, where feasible, on-site training at the Vendor’s facilities, to facilitate efficient contact between the Participating Publisher and Vendor.  The established procedure shall include the designation of a single point of contact with the Participating Publisher unless otherwise agreed in the agreement between the Participating Publisher and Vendor.  Such individual agreements may also include additional support and service commitments on the part of the Vendor.
  9. Shall establish a procedure for informing authors that works submitted for publication may be checked through a plagiarism detection system and that, as part of this process, the submitted work will be copied for internal checking purposes and that a copy may be retained, although not further disseminated or integrated into the Similarity Check or other, Vendor supplied databases.

Similarity Check Monitoring and Verification

After an initial start up period of 3 months from the commencement of participation by a particular publisher, Crossref will have the ability to review the level of participation of Participating Publishers to confirm that they are meeting the obligations of the service. A Participating Publisher who meets those qualifications will have two status indicators available for use.  We expect that publishers will find it valuable to highlight their participation in Similarity Check to demonstrate that they are adding value to the editorial process and cooperating to help ensure that content published as original is properly identified.  Suitable logos will be developed that indicate Similarity Check participation, as follows:

"Similarity Check Depositor": May be displayed on a Participating Publisher's site and at other locations as set forth in the Similarity Check Trademark Guidelines to indicate that the publisher has satisfied the requirements for participating in Similarity Check.  This will, by implication, indicate that the publisher is being a "good citizen" in the fight against plagiarism.  However, the use of this status indicator does not carry any implication with respect to the plagiarism status of the Participating Publisher's works.

"Similarity Check Deposited": May be displayed on articles or other relevant content to indicate that the item has been deposited into the Similarity Check Database.  This can act as warning to those who might plagiarize the item.

These phrases and the associated logos will be factual indications that the publisher participates in the Similarity Check service and that a particular work is included in the database used by the Similarity Check service.  Their use does not give any indication or assurances about the content of the particular works with which they are associated, including about whether the particular work contains or does not contain plagiarized materials.

During the period that the initial plagiarism detection vendor, iParadigms, is the sole Vendor for the Similarity Check Service, use of the Similarity Check trademarks and/or logos, as described in these Terms and Conditions, will include the phrase “Powered by iThenticate.”

All use of “Similarity Check Depositor” and “Similarity Check Deposited” and their associated logos will be subject to the Similarity Check Trademark Guidelines available here: http://www.crossref.org/06members/49logos.html

Updated October 12, 2016.

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