Exploring Nobel laureates’ practice of text borrowing

Yu-Chih Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Plagiarism is not an issue observed only among students; rather, it also occurs in the publications of researchers in academic journals. The current study explored how Nobel laureates, with the highest possible academic status in the world, engage in text borrowing. A list of 91 laureates in physics, chemistry, physiology and medicine, and economics from 2006 to 2015 were identified and their publications were collected and analysed using Turnitin software. The findings of the current study revealed that Nobel laureates’ journal publications outperform those of their counterparts in terms of text borrowing, even though there are still incidences of extensive text borrowing and the lack of appropriate citations observed in their publications. Most of the text borrowing in question consists of self-plagiarism and methods section text, in agreement of earlier research findings. In addition, papers by authors whose affiliated institutions are located in English-speaking countries exhibit fewer incidences of text borrowing than papers by authors whose affiliated institutions are located in non-English-speaking countries, whereas the number of authors does not play a significant role in text borrowing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
StateE-pub ahead of print - 22 Dec 2020


  • academic misconduct
  • paraphrasing
  • Plagiarism
  • self-plagiarism


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