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An unusual case of plagiarism has struck ArXiv, the popular open access repository of physics papers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, resulting in the withdrawal of 22 papers.

In light of the incident, Cornell physicist Paul Ginsparg, who developed the archive, says that he now intends to investigate measures to prevent such misdemeanours from recurring.

In the meantime, Ginsparg is also facing the challenge of potentially libellous material being posted on the server, after a paper made a strongly worded attack on Martin Rees, Britain's astronomer royal. ArXiv doesn't usually check papers before they are posted. But because postings on the site are deemed to be published, they are subject to libel law.

Link to Nature news story: Preprint server seeks way to halt plagiarists 
Link to Nature news story: Critical comments threaten to open libel floodgate for physics archive

Reference: Nature 426, 7 (2003)