PlagiarismWhen undertaking a research project, researchers often find thatothers have developed similar ideas. There may be others whohave devised an investigative technique, who have described thenatural history of a disease or the structure of a compound, orexplained some processes in such an elegant way that theirdescription cannot be bettered and the researcher decides to useit verbatim.
PlagiarismIt is extremely important to remember, when writing apaper, to acknowledge all such sources clearly andcompletely. Attempting to use the ideas, words, or workdone earlier by another person, without giving them duecredit, is considered extremely unethical and istermed plagiarism.
Types of plagiarismDeliberate plagiarism occurs when The author does not give due credit to previous work done in the field but instead presents the previous work as his or her own idea. The author does not credit techniques used to conduct the research to the people who developed them. The opinions and ideas of others are passed off as the author’s.
Types of plagiarismVery often, poor time management or time constraints push a researcher toplagiarize large chunks of material from other authors, instead of spending time onbackground research and original writing.Accidental or unwitting plagiarism occurs when A careless mistake is made when writing down the references. The researcher does not feel the need to acknowledge the original author of a well-known fact, considering it “common scientific knowledge” (e.g., global warming is causing climate change). There is a cultural difference, for example, junior researchers from certain cultures may feel that it would not be correct to alter the words used by a senior researcher who is an authority in the field.
Types of plagiarismAccidental or unwitting plagiarism occurs when There are language problems: nonnative speakers of English may not be confident of their ability to paraphrase another authors words while still retaining the correct meaning. The article being paraphrased is a highly technical description, which the researcher feels incapable of writing in his or her own words. This is especially true for students or inexperienced researchers.
Self-plagiarism occurs whenA person has published some articles earlier and then combines themtogether to make one larger article or even a book without acknowledgingthe previous articles.The author creates salami publications in an attempt to publish differentaspects of the same study as different papers, even if the study would bebetter presented as one large paper.
Tips to avoid accidental plagiarismIn academic writing, it is important to remember that all references to previouswork done in the field must be correctly cited. All sources referred to for techniquesand background for the study must be comprehensively and correctly referenced. Always acknowledge the original source for any idea/method/concept/finding that you are describing. If you do not cite a source and the work is not your original work, the assumption is that you have plagiarized. If you feel that you would be unable to paraphrase another author’s work adequately, it is permissible to quote the author’s work verbatim. However, you have to enclose these sentences in quotation marks. Quotation marks are not required when you paraphrase or summarize another author, but you have to make sure that you have really rewritten the paragraph in your own words while retaining the original meaning. Just changing a few words here and there in the original paragraph is still considered as plagiarism.
Tips to avoid accidental plagiarismWhen taking notes, write down material from other studies in your own words.Make sure you add quotation marks to any text you have copied from the source,so that you can identify any material you’ve directly copied when referring toyour notes later on.Even if you are not confident that you can adequately paraphrase anotherauthor’s words, try your best. Ask a co-author or colleague to help you, or useprofessional editing services to polish the language.Even when assuming that the facts or technique you are referring to is“common scientific knowledge,” it is always better to give a reference to theoriginal author. Some readers of a broad based journal may not be experts inyour subject area and would welcome the information.
When is it paraphrasing and when is it plagiarism? When is it paraphrasing and when is it plagiarism?Original: Because the intracellular concentration of potassium ions is relatively high,potassium ions tend to diffuse out of the cell. This movement is driven by theconcentration gradient for potassium ions. [Passage from a textbook]Plagiarism: Because the intracellular concentration of potassium ions is high,potassium ions tend to diffuse out of the cell. This movement is triggered by theconcentration gradient for potassium ions.1Correct paraphrasing: A textbook of anatomy and physiology1 reports that theconcentration of potassium ions inside of the cell is relatively high and,consequently, some potassium tends to escape out of the cell.
Consequences of plagiarism Journal Speak If plagiarism is found, the journal will contact the authors institute and funding agencies. A determination of misconduct will lead the Nature journal to run a statement, bidirectionally linked online to and from the original paper, to note the plagiarism and to provide a reference to the plagiarised material. The paper containing the plagiarism will also beobviously marked on each page of the PDF. Depending on the extent of the plagiarism, the paper may also be formally retracted.– Nature2
Consequences of plagiarismResearchers found to plagiarize others works could lose tenure/funding and, moreimportantly, lose credibility in the academic community for his or her entire body of work. No one is spared if plagiarism is detected, as is evident from the story of the German defense minister who had to resign from his position and give up his doctorate after his doctoral dissertation was found to contain plagiarized passages.38
Consequences of plagiarismAnother comprehensive site on plagiarism, by Miguel Roig for the Office of ResearchIntegrity1, gives excellent examples of plagiarism in academia. A few of them arequoted below: A biochemist resigned from a prestigious clinic after he was accused of taking text from a National Academy of Sciences report and adding it to his book. A college president was forced to resign after allegations that he failed to attribute the source of material that was part of a college convocation speech. A psychologist had his doctoral degree rescinded after the university found out that portions of his doctoral dissertation had been plagiarized.
Consequences of plagiarismConclusionAttempting to pass off someone elses work, words, or ideas as your own is extremelyunethical. An accusation of plagiarism can, at best, leave the researcher with areputation for sloppy and careless work. At worst, such an accusation can taint theresearcher forever, with a reputation for indulging in scientific fraud. Careful attentionto detail when quoting, appropriate paraphrasing, and meticulous acknowledgementof sources will help researchers avoid accusations of plagiarism.
PlagiarismReferences1. Roig M (2006). Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing. Available at: http://facpub.stjohns.edu/~roigm/plagiarism/. Last accessed: December 28, 2011.2. Nature. Plagiarism and fabrication. Editorial policies: Publication ethics. Last accessed on October 19, 2011. Available from: http://www.nature.com/authors/policies/plagiarism.html3. Boston W. Germany: Plagiarism Claims Take Down Guttenberg. Time World. March 3, 2011.