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ASE Conference, Reading 2004 Dr Chris Willmott Dept of Biochemistry,  University of Leicester [email_address] Tackling Pla...
What is plagiarism?  University of Leicester regulations “ Plagiarism is to take the work of another person and use it as ...
What is plagiarism?  Alternative definition: Plagiarism is the appropriation of five* or more consecutive words from a sou...
What is plagiarism?  “ Plagiarism… a continuum ranging from sloppy paraphrasing to verbatim transcription with no creditin...
<ul><li>Copying an article from the web </li></ul><ul><li>Copying a paper locally (e.g. from older student) </li></ul><ul>...
Why do students plagiarise?  <ul><li>Often it is  not  due to laziness or an  a priori  intention to cheat </li></ul><ul><...
Why do students plagiarise?  <ul><li>Some plagiarism is, of course, deliberate – even if the student didn’t initially inte...
Pre-written Coursework Sites  © Nick Newman, Sunday Times
Pre-written Coursework Sites  www.courseworkbank.co.uk (formerly essaybank.co.uk)
Pre-written Coursework Sites  www.courseworkbank.co.uk (formerly essaybank.co.uk) www.freestudentstuff.co.uk
Pre-written Coursework Sites  www.courseworkbank.co.uk (formerly essaybank.co.uk) www.freestudentstuff.co.uk www.coursewor...
Essay writing services  www.writingdirect.co.uk “ Writing direct does not condone plagiarism: our work is for research or ...
Essay writing services  www.elizabethhall.com
What is the role of biology educators in tackling plagiarism?  Recognising and reporting plagiarised work -  is  that our ...
“ Why should I do the exam board's job for them? If their flawed system can be circumvented by some media-savvy student, I...
“ I have no intention of checking the material on the internet to see if one of my students has plagiarised it. Either it ...
“ Often lost in the discussion of plagiarism is the interest of the students who don’t cheat.  They do legitimate research...
What is the role of biology educators in tackling plagiarism?  <ul><li>Recognising and reporting plagiarised work  IS  our...
<ul><li>Inappropriate or inconsistent “voice” </li></ul><ul><li>Signs of electronic origins, including: </li></ul><ul><ul>...
Clues that work is plagiarised <ul><li>Signs of electronic origins, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Stray’ text = “smok...
Clues that work is plagiarised <ul><li>Signs of electronic origins, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Stray’ text = “smok...
Confirming suspected e-plagiarism <ul><li>Specialist detection software is available,  e.g. www.turnitin.com  </li></ul><u...
“ If worry, overload and poor understanding are the wellsprings of much (or most?) plagiarism, it is very unlikely that it...
Example: <ul><li>An essay submitted in November 2003 contained the sentences: </li></ul><ul><li>“ The other mode regulates...
Google search
Control of gene expression
Apology A journal club article by R.W.C. Wong and S.Y. Chan entitled `Epidermal growth factor receptor: a transcription fa...
Wong and Chan (TIBS, November 2001) If the scenario is extrapolated to nuclear EGFR signalling, then EGFR-dependent transc...
In addition, anti-EGFR antibodies have been conjugated to a reporter gene to use EGFR transport to the nucleus as a means ...
Strategies for preventing plagiarism <ul><li>Explain clearly nature of assignment </li></ul><ul><li>Specify particular boo...
Strategies for preventing plagiarism <ul><li>Carry out some meta-learning activity, e.g. - how did you go about finding yo...
Strategies for preventing plagiarism <ul><li>Educate students about good note-taking skills </li></ul><ul><li>Model good p...
“ A reference to ‘the internet’, or a generic internet search engine is insufficient.  Many candidates would have profited...
“ It is essential that a bibliography is supplied and enough detail provided such that the relevant source can be accessed...
Strategies for preventing plagiarism <ul><li>Educate students about good note-taking skills </li></ul><ul><li>Model good p...
Useful resources  Chester (2001)  Why do students plagiarise?   www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=plagiarism_why  Harris (2002...
With thanks to  Tim Harrison, Dept of Biochemistry,  University of Leicester Paul Billiet,   Ecole Active Bilingue J.M.,  ...
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Tackling Plagiarism in Biology

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Slides from a presentation "Tackling Plagiarism in Biology" given at a meeting of the Association for Science Education conference at Reading University in January 2004. The talk was given on behalf of the Institute of Biology (now the Society of Biology).

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Transcript of "Tackling Plagiarism in Biology"

  1. 1. ASE Conference, Reading 2004 Dr Chris Willmott Dept of Biochemistry, University of Leicester [email_address] Tackling Plagiarism in Biology Institute of Biology
  2. 2. What is plagiarism? University of Leicester regulations “ Plagiarism is to take the work of another person and use it as if it were one’s own in such a way as to mislead the reader.”
  3. 3. What is plagiarism? Alternative definition: Plagiarism is the appropriation of five* or more consecutive words from a source document without use of quotation marks * Miguel Roig (1999), Psychological Reports 84 :973-982 suggests five, others suggest seven (e.g. American Bar Association) or three (e.g. Kings College, Ontario) Limitations, especially as it overlooks the unattributed use of visual images
  4. 4. What is plagiarism? “ Plagiarism… a continuum ranging from sloppy paraphrasing to verbatim transcription with no crediting of sources.” Peter Larkham (2003), Exploring and dealing with plagiarism, www.escalate.ac.uk/exchange/plagiarism [after Hawley (1984)]
  5. 5. <ul><li>Copying an article from the web </li></ul><ul><li>Copying a paper locally (e.g. from older student) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cut and shut” from two or more sources, often with little effort to conceal the joins </li></ul><ul><li>Using a quote that extends beyond the “quote” </li></ul><ul><li>Downloading a pre-cooked paper (often free) </li></ul><ul><li>Ordering a specially prepared essay (for a fee) </li></ul><ul><li>Faking a citation </li></ul><ul><li>Related to, but distinct from, “collusion” = allowing own work to be copied and/or team-authoring </li></ul>What is plagiarism? See also Robert Harris (2002), www.virtualsalt.com/antiplag.htm
  6. 6. Why do students plagiarise? <ul><li>Often it is not due to laziness or an a priori intention to cheat </li></ul><ul><li>Not understanding the rules </li></ul><ul><li>Not enough time (poor time-keeping, overchoice) </li></ul><ul><li>Insufficient subject knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Accidentally (poor study skills) </li></ul><ul><li>Misunderstandings regarding “teamwork” </li></ul>See also Gill Chester (2001), www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=plagiarism_why
  7. 7. Why do students plagiarise? <ul><li>Some plagiarism is, of course, deliberate – even if the student didn’t initially intend to cheat </li></ul><ul><li>“ I thought I’d get away with it” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You don’t care if I understand this, so why should I be bothered” </li></ul><ul><li>Pressure (often external) to succeed </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural expectations, respect for elders </li></ul>See also Gill Chester (2001), www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=plagiarism_why
  8. 8. Pre-written Coursework Sites © Nick Newman, Sunday Times
  9. 9. Pre-written Coursework Sites www.courseworkbank.co.uk (formerly essaybank.co.uk)
  10. 10. Pre-written Coursework Sites www.courseworkbank.co.uk (formerly essaybank.co.uk) www.freestudentstuff.co.uk
  11. 11. Pre-written Coursework Sites www.courseworkbank.co.uk (formerly essaybank.co.uk) www.freestudentstuff.co.uk www.coursework.info (requires fee) www.studentcentral.co.uk www.essays-r-us.co.uk (no biology at moment)
  12. 12. Essay writing services www.writingdirect.co.uk “ Writing direct does not condone plagiarism: our work is for research or draft purposes only”
  13. 13. Essay writing services www.elizabethhall.com
  14. 14. What is the role of biology educators in tackling plagiarism? Recognising and reporting plagiarised work - is that our responsibility? Not universally agreed that it is role of secondary teachers to enforce this e.g. Contributions to Biotutor discussion list (see www.biology4all.com)
  15. 15. “ Why should I do the exam board's job for them? If their flawed system can be circumvented by some media-savvy student, I certainly don't condone it but it is up to them to detect it. They already expect us to mark this work without pay - was unpaid exam marking, for a firm which does not employ you, mentioned in your contract because it certainly doesn't appear in mine? Coursework, at all levels, should go, the sooner the better.” G.G. (May 14 th 2002) Our job to confront plagiarism?
  16. 16. “ I have no intention of checking the material on the internet to see if one of my students has plagiarised it. Either it becomes compulsory to do these under class conditions or we scrap the whole sorry mess. The exam boards are high-handed and downright arrogant when it comes to things like this. How dare they send us lists of websites and suggest that we have any responsibility to police the daft system they have inflicted on us!” A.T. (Feb 5 th 2003) Our job to confront plagiarism?
  17. 17. “ Often lost in the discussion of plagiarism is the interest of the students who don’t cheat. They do legitimate research and write their own papers. They work harder (and learn more) than the plagiarists, yet their grades may suffer when their papers are judged and graded against papers that are superior but stolen material.” Julie Ryan, Student Plagiarism in an Online World, Prism Magazine (Dec 98), www.asee.org/prism What is the role of biology educators in tackling plagiarism?
  18. 18. What is the role of biology educators in tackling plagiarism? <ul><li>Recognising and reporting plagiarised work IS our responsibility: </li></ul><ul><li>It is a requirement of the school’s agreement with the examination board(s) </li></ul><ul><li>In a spirit of fairness to the non-plagiarisers </li></ul><ul><li>Educationally, someone who has simply copied chunks of material will not derive the same benefits as a student who has processed the same sources </li></ul><ul><li>Must make students aware of the penalties </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Inappropriate or inconsistent “voice” </li></ul><ul><li>Signs of electronic origins, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unnecessary changes in font or formatting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>American spellings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion of K-12 education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>References from obscure and/or mainly overseas publications </li></ul></ul>Clues that work is plagiarised
  20. 20. Clues that work is plagiarised <ul><li>Signs of electronic origins, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Stray’ text = “smoking guns” (Harris) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Example 1: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ This kind of text with superscript reference 2 that bears no relation to citation list in the submitted work” </li></ul></ul>“ Readers tend not to cheat and cheaters tend not to read” Jim Evans (Warwick University)
  21. 21. Clues that work is plagiarised <ul><li>Signs of electronic origins, including: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Stray’ text = “smoking guns” (Harris) </li></ul></ul>Example 2: Representative publications Maguire B.A. and Zimmermann R.A. (2001), The Ribosome in Focus Cell 104, 813-816 “ In particular we are using this approach to…” “ Readers tend not to cheat and cheaters tend not to read” Jim Evans (Warwick University)
  22. 22. Confirming suspected e-plagiarism <ul><li>Specialist detection software is available, e.g. www.turnitin.com </li></ul><ul><li>Since most students are likely to have found their source material using a standard search engine, these are generally all you need </li></ul><ul><li>Simply taking a string of five or six suitably selected words and putting them in Google inside quote marks will do the job </li></ul>
  23. 23. “ If worry, overload and poor understanding are the wellsprings of much (or most?) plagiarism, it is very unlikely that it will also be carefully concealed. … If you are plagiarising in order to shortcut work pressures, it would be self-defeating to then spend extensive amounts of time covering your tracks.” Derek Cox, www.escalate.ac.uk/exchange/plagiarism Confirming suspected e-plagiarism
  24. 24. Example: <ul><li>An essay submitted in November 2003 contained the sentences: </li></ul><ul><li>“ The other mode regulates operons that produce gene products necessary for the synthesis of small biomolecules such as amino acids. Expression from the latter class of operons is attenuated by sequences within the transcribed RNA”. </li></ul><ul><li>Checked highlighted section at www.google.co.uk </li></ul>
  25. 25. Google search
  26. 26. Control of gene expression
  27. 27. Apology A journal club article by R.W.C. Wong and S.Y. Chan entitled `Epidermal growth factor receptor: a transcription factor?', published in the November 2001 issues of TiBS ( Trends Biochem. Sci. 26, 645–646), TiG ( Trends Genet . 17, 625–626) and TEM ( Trends Endocrinol. Metab. 12, 431), contains large tracts of text that have been copied from a previously published Nature Cell Biology News and Views article by Mark Waugh and Justin Hsuan [ Nat. Cell Biol . (2001) 3 E209–E211]. The authors, TiBS , TiG , TEM and Elsevier Science regret that this has happened and apologize unreservedly to Justin Hsuan and Mark Waugh, to the readers, editorial team and publishers of Nature Cell Biology , and to our own readers. Trends in Biochemical Science 27:64 (Feb 2002)
  28. 28. Wong and Chan (TIBS, November 2001) If the scenario is extrapolated to nuclear EGFR signalling, then EGFR-dependent transcriptional activation might only become apparent in some tissues as a consequence of deregulated EGFR production. If so, it might be possible to exploit the nuclear localization and putative transcriptional role of EGFR for therapeutic purposes. Waugh and Hsuan (Nature Cell Biology, September 2001) If a similar scenario is extrapolated to nuclear EGFR signalling then EGFR-dependent transcriptional activation might only become apparent in some tissues as a consequence of deregulated EGFR production. If so, it might be possible to exploit the nuclear localization and putative transcriptional role of EGFR for therapeutic purposes.
  29. 29. In addition, anti-EGFR antibodies have been conjugated to a reporter gene to use EGFR transport to the nucleus as a means of introducing and transcribing exogenous DNA in the nucleus. Given the newly proposed role of EGFR as a transcription factor, such radiopharmaceutical…. Indeed, there is already at least one successful effort to use nuclear EGFR as a means of introducing Auger-electron-emitting In-radiolabelled EGF to the nucleus. In addition, anti-EGFR antibodies have been conjugated to a reporter gene to use EGFR transport to the nucleus as a means of introducing and transcribing exogenous DNA in the nucleus. Given the newly proposed role of EGFR as a transcription factor, such radiopharmaceutical ….
  30. 30. Strategies for preventing plagiarism <ul><li>Explain clearly nature of assignment </li></ul><ul><li>Specify particular books or websites that must be used as some of the source materials </li></ul><ul><li>Require the submission of a rough draft </li></ul><ul><li>Require an oral presentation on same topic </li></ul>See also Robert Harris (2002), www.virtualsalt.com/antiplag.htm
  31. 31. Strategies for preventing plagiarism <ul><li>Carry out some meta-learning activity, e.g. - how did you go about finding your sources? - which source was the most useful & why? - what was the biggest difficulty you faced in writing this essay? - what is the most important thing you have learned by doing this exercise? </li></ul>See also Robert Harris (2002), www.virtualsalt.com/antiplag.htm
  32. 32. Strategies for preventing plagiarism <ul><li>Educate students about good note-taking skills </li></ul><ul><li>Model good practice ourselves, e.g. in our handouts and lesson notes </li></ul><ul><li>Educate about appropriate referencing </li></ul>See also Robert Harris (2002), www.virtualsalt.com/antiplag.htm
  33. 33. “ A reference to ‘the internet’, or a generic internet search engine is insufficient. Many candidates would have profited from clear guidance in maintaining full and accurate references to their sources, which would have allowed greater evaluation and discrimination of those sources. A combination of poor referencing and close paraphrasing of sections of material obtained from internet sources brought a few weaker candidates perilously close to plagiarism.” Examiners report on AS Science for Public Understanding (AQA) Appropriate referencing
  34. 34. “ It is essential that a bibliography is supplied and enough detail provided such that the relevant source can be accessed if required. There were altogether too many references to ‘our textbook’ and ‘website’. “ 2002 Examiners’ report on AQA Biology/Human Biology Spec A Appropriate referencing
  35. 35. Strategies for preventing plagiarism <ul><li>Educate students about good note-taking skills </li></ul><ul><li>Model good practice ourselves, e.g. in our handouts and lesson notes </li></ul><ul><li>Educate about appropriate referencing </li></ul><ul><li>Educate about boundaries of acceptable practice </li></ul><ul><li>Stress that writing exercises are not just about the final product but about the skills developed along the way </li></ul>See also Robert Harris (2002), www.virtualsalt.com/antiplag.htm
  36. 36. Useful resources Chester (2001) Why do students plagiarise? www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=plagiarism_why Harris (2002) Anti-plagiarism strategies for research papers www.virtualsalt.com/antiplag.htm IBO (2003) Academic Honesty: guidance for schools web3.ibo.org/ibis/documents/general/specific_interest/ malpractice/g0malprsup09031e.pdf Willmott (2003) Pre-submission essay checklist www.le.ac.uk/by/teach/biochemweb/tutorials/essaychecklist Willmott and Harrison (2003) An exercise to teach bioscience students about plagiarism JBE 37 :139-140 mirrored at: www.le.ac.uk/teaching/teaching/pdf/willmott.pdf
  37. 37. With thanks to Tim Harrison, Dept of Biochemistry, University of Leicester Paul Billiet, Ecole Active Bilingue J.M., Paris Institute of Biology
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