The world of Renaissance and Early Modern philosophy and scholarship has been shaken by the "Martin Stone" case. (Ever since Leiter reported about it on his blog, the case is familiar to most in philosophy, so I won't review the details here.) Before his fall from grace, Martin Stone was a widely admired and highly respected professor at Leuven University. Some of the details of the case are still clouded in mystery and secrecy (because as far I know Leuven's internal report has never been released), but for a good overview start, see here: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=410670 Leuven "considers all publications of Martin Stone with a K.U. Leuven affiliation as problematic", Professor Marynen said (Marynen is vice-president for research at Leuven). Note the scope of the quantifyer here. (For those that wish to learn more details, this is a useful blog: http://www.phil-hum-ren.uni-muenchen.de/W4RF/YaBB.pl?num=1268295805/8)
Now, maybe it's because I collaborated on some projects with Martin (i..e, hosting workshops), have sent students to Martin, and at one point wished to be colleagues with him at Leuven, but here I do not want to analyze the motives and aims of Martin. Nor, do I wish to explore today if a disgraced scholar should ever be rehabilitated. Rather, I want to call attention to the rather lukewarm, if not indifferent, reaction of the editors and journals/presses that have published his work. A quick search on Amazon shows that a lot of books that contain chapters with Martin's work are still available. (I know of one Cambridge Companion that will expunge his chapter in a forthcoming second edition.) Moreover, while some journals have started withdrawing Martin's work (see the second link above), others appear to hope the whole issue will blow over, or are rather slow-moving.
Anyway, what does not seem to have happened is a general discussion about referee-ing. It is well known that one can play the referee-process in various ways that increases chances for favorable review. (Not to mention that in the discipline there are a number of echo-chambers, where folk cite each other, but never critical outsiders--if I were to pick on a few powerful such groups, think of Bayesians and analytic metaphysicians.) But given human nature, these things are to be expected and it is probably efficient in various ways. Nevertheless, the Martin Stone case suggests that the referee process is broken in rather serious fashion. Stone published in leading specialist journals and also with leading presses. It means that lots of people missed a considerable amount of plagiarism. What is even more striking is that this happened in a small-ish sub-field where folk pride themselves on learning, their languages, and scholarship.
Now, I have to admit that in refereeing (unlike grading) I have never bothered to consider the possibility of plagiariams. (After a piece got published -- without me as referee -- I have called attention to a case of lack of generosity to somebody else.) In my refereeing, I have regularly called attention to overlooked sources and references. Lack of mutual citation is especially endemic in Adam Smith scholarship, which is fractured over several disciplines (economics, history, philosophy, etc), very large, etc. In most such cases, laziness and a kind of intellectual narrow-ness of spirit were at play. (I once pointed out to a reader of my dissertation that his book on the same subject, which cited me rather generously, could also cite another book as a neglected predecessor to his views; the reader responded by saying [something to the effect] that he need not cite the book because it did not play a role in his intellectual development.)
So, what's the point? If Stone got away with plagiarism, it is not impossible others are, too. Have any presses/journals started thinking about procedures/processes that will catch these earlier in the system? There is now a lot of plagiarism-software on the market, maybe some of this needs to be adapted for or sold to presses? Anyway, peer-review is not working, and we need to have an open and honest conversation about this.