Plagiarism

Definition:

Plagiarism is the practise of taking someone else’s work and presenting them as one’s own. It also includes copying the work of others or borrowing someone else’s original ideas and passing them off as your own work; using the original work of others without crediting the source(s) and presenting a piece of work as original and authentic that is actually derived or inspired by someone else work.

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud and stealing. Plagiarism is not only considered as an act of academic dishonesty and breach of professional ethics but also an illegal practise if it involves copyright infringement, breach of intellectual property rights and trademark. With the widespread use of internet and ease of access to limitless materials available on every conceivable topic, the issue of plagiarism has become even more serious.

Types of Plagiarism

There are  multiple practices which are considered as acts of plagiarism, here is a detailed discussion.

Verbatim

In literal terms, verbatim means copying the work of others word by word with little alterations. Verbatim refers to the usage of quotations (word for word) without clear acknowledgement of the source. In academic writing, quotations are often used; in fact in some cases it becomes absolutely necessary to quote the author in order to add clarity. However, it is important to use quotation marks or indentation and complete referencing of the source cited.  Quoted text should be clearly different from the work done by the author.

Example: Verbatim plagiarism occurs when a writer copies a sequence of seven or more words from another source, but fails to adequately identify the quoted passages and does not provide full in-text citation and bibliographic references. For instance:

Original Source Material

The printer constructs the object by depositing the first layer of material - such as molten plastic that hardens - and then another and another, gradually creating the desired shape. As the printer head moves back and forth, your 3-D vision becomes reality.

Source

Ehrenberg, R. 2013, THE 3-D PRINTING REVOLUTION: Dreams made real, one layer at a time, SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC, Hoboken, USA.

 

Plagiarised Version

The printer constructs the object by depositing the first layer of material - such as molten plastic that hardens - and then another and another, gradually creating the desired shape. As the printer head moves back and forth, your 3-D vision becomes reality.

Correct version

According to Ehrenberg (2013), “the printer constructs the object by depositing the first layer of material - such as molten plastic that hardens - and then another and another, gradually creating the desired shape. As the printer head moves back and forth, your 3-D vision becomes reality.”

Accidental Plagiarism

Accidental plagiarism occurs without the intention of the writer but is still not acceptable in academic writing. There are many reasons that may lead to accidental plagiarism such as –

  • When the writer forgets to identify and present source of information while preparing initial notes for the material
  • Failure to cite paraphrased material appropriately
  • Use of exact words of another person without quotation marks
  • Failure to put appropriate quotation marks while using quotes of other authors.

Apart from these, accidental or unintentional plagiarism can be the result of poor paraphrasing i.e. when the writer changes few words or phrases without changing the sentence structure changing sentence structure, but using vocabulary or jargons that are not part of one’s own vocabulary. Additionally, practices such as putting incomplete quotation marks or quoting paraphrased sentences; and citing poorly i.e. inaccurate or wrong citations fall under accidental plagiarism.

Paraphrasing

It is the practice of altering a few words, sentences or order of written material in such a manner that closely follows the overall structure of argument.  Paraphrasing plagiarism occurs when the writer summarizes a previously written material in his own words but fails to acknowledge the original source from where the idea for the material has been borrowed.

Paraphrasing falls under plagiarism if the writer does not acknowledge the source of information through proper citation and referencing. Furthermore, in order to effectively paraphrase, students are required to rephrase the  matter in their own words without changing the overall logical structure of the original material.

Original Source Material

The printer constructs the object by depositing the first layer of material--such as molten plastic that hardens--and then another and another, gradually creating the desired shape. As the printer head moves back and forth, your 3-D vision becomes reality.

Source

Ehrenberg, R. 2013, THE 3-D PRINTING REVOLUTION: Dreams made real, one layer at a time, SOCIETY FOR SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC, Hoboken, USA.

 

Plagiarised Version

The printer manufactures the object by depositing layers of plastic one over another, gradually taking the desired shape. As the printer head moves back and forth, 3-D vision becomes reality.

Correct Version

According to Ehrenberg (2013), 3-D printers constructs various objects by depositing layers of materials such as molten plastic one over another, as the material hardens we get the object of desired shape.

Explanation

Poor paraphrasing and lack of citations.

Explanation

Proper paraphrased and proper citations.

Intentional

Intentional plagiarism occurs when the writers or researchers are completely aware of the fact that they are passing off someone else’s work or ideas as their own. Intentional plagiarism occurs when the writer takes helps of various sources and copies few phrases or sentences to write the material.

Example of intentional plagiarisms includes consecutive words that are not quoted, a portion of paragraph from other sources without adequate citations, or presenting information from two or more sources but each fact’s source is not clearly mentioned.

Fabricating a source also comes under intentional plagiarism. Allowing someone else to write the paper or buying pre-written research or academic papers and presenting them as your own is the most blatant form of intentional plagiarism.

In addition, passing off someone else’s work taken from internet or any other source, copying the academic paper from online or electronic data base without giving credit to the author, cutting and pasting information from more than one sources and presenting them as one’s own work, and borrowing words or ideas of fellow researcher or student also comes under intentional plagiarism.

Auto Plagiarism

Auto plagiarism occurs when writer of the original material resubmits the work for some another purposes. Auto plagiarism can be defined as that type of plagiarism in which the author republishes his entire work or parts of his previous work. Although the original work is done by that of the same writer,  resubmission (partial or complete) of the exact same work is still unacceptable.. Auto plagiarism can be accidental or intentional. Many authors believe that auto or self plagiarism does not comes under the purview of plagiarism as they are not passing off someone else’s work as their own previous work. The debate over the possible use of auto plagiarism and the ethics of self plagiarism has become even more important as auto plagiarism can lead to publisher’s copyright infringements.

Auto or self plagiarism is a newer phenomenon and traditional definitions of plagiarism does not account for self plagiarism. While plagiarism is defined as an act of taking credit for the work or ideas of others, self plagiarism refers to the practice of reproducing one’s own work as new. Some of the common types of self plagiarisms are –

  • Republishing previously published paper without notifying the reader or publisher
  • Publishing a significant piece of study/research as smaller studies in order to increase the number of publications
  • Reusing parts of previously written materials

Inaccurate Citation

Inaccurate citation also constitutes plagiarism. Following instances comes under inaccurate citations practices –

  • Omission of author’s name in citations
  • Omission of page numbers in the in-text citations
  • Omission of publisher information in citations

Apart from omission of important information such as author’s name, publisher and page numbers in the citations, providing inaccurate information also constitute inaccurate citation. The purpose of citation is to give due credit to the original author and enabling the readers to identify what are the author’s own ideas and what ideas has been borrowed. 

Use of material written by professional agencies or other persons

Plagiarism also involves the use of materials written specifically for someone else even with the consent of parties or agencies who have written the material.

Why is Plagiarism a Sensitive Issue?

 In order to maintain intellectual honesty and academic integrity it is very important  to acknowledge the original source of any idea, expression  or other information used to form the basis of any kind of academic work. Passing off someone else’s work as your own is not only unacceptable but also reflects poor scholarship and lack of ethical values.

Consequences of Plagiarism

The consequences of plagiarism can be extremely serious; some of the implication of plagiarism can be –

  • Expulsion from the course or academic institution
  • Legal action against the defaulter
  • Destroy personal and professional reputation.

Plagiarism hinders the process of learning and inhibits the students’ ability of developing critical thinking and analytical skills. Therefore, to avoid such outcomes, academic institutions have established strict rules to prevent plagiarism. The consequence of plagiarism could seriously affect student’s academic career as records follow students wherever they go and no reputable institute would take a student who has been proved to be dishonest and unworthy.

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism

With the easy availability of various research and academic papers over the internet and other sources, students and researchers are tempted to fall into the plagiarism trap. It is advisable for students or researchers to refrain from plagiarising while writing a research or academic papers. In order to avoid plagiarism either intentional or accidental, following measures can be adopted 

Analysing the source of information

In order to, better understand the concepts and theories, students and researchers take help of various written materials available online, libraries archives and other sources. However, when writing, it is important to critically analyse the source of information and give due credit to the original author(s) whenever the writer borrows their works or ideas. By analysing the source of information, students can identify and give accurate references to the legitimate writers and also avoid possible plagiarisms.

Research citation

Citation is one of the best methods of avoiding plagiarism. There are many document formatting guidelines such as Harvard, MLA, APA, Oscola and many others which are discussed in detail in the later chapters of this paper. Citation is simple process and it usually involves the addition of author(s) and date of publication that is used by the student/researcher in his own work. Citations used in the preparation of written document must also be included in the reference list or bibliography given at the end of the document (research or academic documents). Accurate citations and references  not only help the students or researchers avoid the problem of plagiarism but also increase the validity and authenticity of the written documents.

Extensive research

Another method of avoiding plagiarism is to do extensive research. It helps the writer develop greater understanding of the topic and subsequently present own point of view in their own words.

Use your own language

Copy and pasting information from websites or other sources is considered as plagiarism. To avoid plagiarism, it is advisable to use one’s own language, also,  using proper quotations, citations and references wherever required in the written document while taking help from any existing material. While working on an assignment, it is important to keep track of one’s own ideas and ideas taken from other sources (with proper citations) to avoid confusion and possible plagiarism. 

Paraphrase wisely

Paraphrasing is one of the most common practices that tempts both students and researchers equally. While paraphrasing it is important to use proper and logical sentence structure. However, the overall idea of another author’s work should not be changed while paraphrasing and genuine authors must be given adequate credit for their work.   

Avoid using synonyms

One of the simplest methods students employ to write an academic paper is the use of synonyms to avoid plagiarism detection. However, use of synonyms not only degrades the quality of academic writing but also reflects poor understanding of the topic. In order to avoid this situation, students should try to present their ideas in their own words instead of using synonyms.

 

 

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