How to (Not?) Plagiarize: An Example of Plagiarism by Vipul Vekariya & Gautam R. Kulkarni

Plagiarism is a phenomenon that I sometimes observe among my students and I have to admit that students can be surprisingly creative when it comes to plagiarism. They typically come up with all kinds of tactics to minimize the risk of getting caught.

Prof. Dr. Vipul Vekariya & Prof. Dr. Gautam R. Kulkarni were not so creative. Vipul Vekariya and Gautam Kulkarni plagiarised the research article “Hybrid recommender systems: Survey and experiments” written originally by Robin Burke in 2002. That article is one of the most cited recommender-system papers (4,500 citations since 2002), so it was only a matter of time until the plagiarism by Vipul Vekariya and Gautam R. Kulkarni was discovered (not by me, but a long time ago).

The manuscript in question is identical to the original article except that Gautam Kulkarni and Vipul Vekariya replaced Robin Burke’s name with their own names. The image below shows the original (left) and the copy (right). Notably, the authors plagiarized the article 10 years after its original publication. At that time, the article was already one of the standard references in the recommender-system community.

IEEE has retracted the article…

They also seem to have plagiarized the manuscript “Hybrid Collaborative Filtering and Content-Based Filtering for Improved Recommender System” originally written by Kyung-Yong Jung, Dong-Hyun Park, Jung-Hyun Lee (Original; Plagiarized Publication).

The plagiarising apparently didn’t harm the careers of Professor Dr. Vipul Vekariya and Professor Dr. Gautam R. Kulkarni too much. Vipul Vekariya is the director of the Noble Group of Institutions and former Vice-Principal at the Computer Engineering and Information Technology Department at the Noble Group of Institutions, Junagadh, India. Professor Dr. Gautam R. Kulkarni is the head of the Annasaheb Dange College of Engineering & Technology in India.

Vipul Vekariya still lists the publications on his personal website.

Interestingly, Dr. Vipul Vekariya has not removed the “Notice of Violation of IEEE Publication Principles” from the articles on his Google Scholar profile.

Gautam R. Kulkarni must have been aware of the IEEE retraction and apparently manually edited his Google Scholar profile in which the retraction notice does not appear anymore.

What is your experience with plagiarism in the recommender-systems community? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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