Was Part of Your Proposal Plagiarized?


A scenario about a researcher who believes that her research grant proposal, after having been turned down, was plagiarized by another researcher.


You submit a proposal to a government funding agency. Your proposed project has three parts. The project receives a moderate score and is turned down for funding. Most of the reviewer's criticism of the proposal is directed towards two of the three parts.

Several years later you read a journal article that reports research, which includes as one aspect what seems to be the third part of the work you proposed to do. Using the grant award number cited in the article, you obtain the author's proposal and see that it is substantially the same as the third part of your rejected proposal.

  • Is there any ambiguity in the situation?
  • If your work was used, how serious is this misuse of the proposal?
  • What can/should you do now?

Caroline Whitbeck introduced methods and modules for discussing numerous issues in responsible conduct of research at a Sigma Xi Forum in 2000. Partial funding for the development of this material came from an NIH grant.

You can find the entire sequence on the OEC at Scenarios for Ethics Modules in the Responsible Conduct of Research. Some information in these historical modules may be out-of-date; for instance, there may be a new edition of the professional society's code that is referred to in an item. If you have suggestions for updates, please contact the OEC.

Caroline Whitbeck. . Was Part of Your Proposal Plagiarized?. Online Ethics Center. DOI:. https://onlineethics.org/cases/scenarios-ethics-modules-responsible-conduct-research/was-part-your-proposal-plagiarized.