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[ RESEARCH INTEGRITY ] September 19, 2023

My integrity journey

We’re back again with another blog on our series “Why Integrity Matters to Me,” where we explore Morressier team member’s perspectives and experiences with research integrity. Let’s hear from our Sales Director, Jake Kelleher, as he recounts a chapter from his college days– a brush with plagiarism, and a lesson learned.

The pressure to publish and the perils of plagiarism

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the unrelenting pressure to publish within academia and how this very pressure contributes to the integrity crisis that our academic community is facing. 

When competition intensifies, the stakes rise, and the pressure mounts, it drives people to begin taking shortcuts. Drawing from my experience at Morressier, I recognize that it's important to make sure that authors have the smoothest possible experience in the academic publishing process. By doing so, we can help prevent them from falling under pressure and resorting to questionable means to see their work in print.

When I first looked at the results of our company survey and saw that 38.8% of participants ranked the pressure to publish as a first and 23.6% ranked it second when it comes to challenges in scholarly publishing, I was shocked. I started thinking about my own journey with academic stress and pressure. 

Reflecting on my college days, I remember the challenge of juggling academic work, having a social life, and exploring my identity. Amidst these pressures, the idea of plagiarizing someone else's work is compelling to a 19-year-old college student eager to make up for lost time after a weekend of indulgence!

Luckily, I learned a valuable lesson in my sophomore year from a friend named Laura, who I had met during an English Literature class. After first meeting during group assignment sessions and study groups, I later noticed that Laura had been absent in class for a while. After reaching out to her, I learned that as the semester progressed, Laura found herself overwhelmed by the demands of her other courses. To cope, she resorted to copying assignments in an attempt to save time. 

But her plan fell through when she tried to pass off a specific passage as her own in front of our literature professor. Little did she know that our professor would immediately recognize the passage and catch her in the act. 

After taking a closer look, it became clear that my friend’s plagiarism took place across multiple assignments throughout the semester. She explained that she was absent due to academic probation. At the time, as a student, this incident sent a big message to me about the consequences of plagiarism and I stayed clear of those practices for the rest of my academic journey.

But now, on reflection, this experience also led me to another realization: those who commit academic misconduct are always not driven by malicious intent but sometimes just by overwhelming stress. 

Yet, if Laura had communicated her need for deadline extensions instead of resorting to plagiarism, maybe she wouldn't have found herself in such hot water. During my time at Morressier, traveling the world and speaking with different clients, I've come to understand that open and effective communication among academic stakeholders is crucial. When researchers, publishers, corporate partners, and tech companies engage in dialogue and collaboration, we create infrastructure that supports and caters to everyone’s needs. This collaborative approach helps safeguard researchers from temptation and predatory entities.



By fostering relationships and breaking down silos within the academic community, we can create workflows that align precisely with our collective needs. This way, we move towards a future where the pressure to publish is reduced and integrity promoted at every step of the research lifecycle.

guide to research integrity