What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a theft of assets of an individual by using his/her ideas, information and material without giving him/her the due credit. It is a serious academic offense that does not only undermines a person’s intelligence but also an unjust behaviour to the person whose ideas were used because he/she was not acclaimed for the work.

Plagiarism has got of a lot of attention in academic institutions especially, in the current times. The consequences of committing plagiarism have become quite severe. To use someone else’s work and just substituting words here and there is not deemed an appropriate practice in a majority of academic institutions.

The Office of Research Integrity of the Department of Health and Human Services considers plagiarism to include both the “theft or misappropriation of intellectual property and the substantial un attributed textual copying of another’s work”.

To change verbs here and there and manipulate the sentence structure in paragraphs so as to hoodwink a reader regarding the contributions of the original author is called substantial unattributed textual copying.

The statistics of plagiarism explicitly divulge that a majority of school students i.e. 54% have admitted to commit plagiarism. Similarly, according to the Education Week, at least 74% students have accepted that they have cheated at least once during their academic years in schools, colleges and universities. It was also shockingly discovered that approximately 66% of students hailing from renowned universities have admitted that they have copied information from the internet for their academic and research papers.

Forms of Self- Plagiarism

For Students: This means taking a term or research paper in class and minutely substituting words here and there and then passing it off as their own work to the instructor.

For Professionals: This means using text or publication without crediting the author or citing proper sources.

Student Sources of Plagiarized Text

Usually, a student plagiarizes from:

  • Random paragraphs from school journals or library books and
  • Copying from research papers, files or documents stacked in the fraternity.

Law of Plagiarism

It is commonly believed that plagiarism is an academic crime and not a legal issue, this is a false notion. While colleges do have the right to penalize (for plagiarism) a student, expel him/her if the act is serious and they even reserve the right not to grant the degree to the guilty student. It is important to note that plagiarism could be a legal issue and can be taken to the court depending on the nature of the act. More than academic institutions, it is mostly publications, authors who drag the cases to the courts.

Consequences of Plagiarism

The penalty for plagiarism depends on the nature of the mistake and the number of times it committed. It can extend from getting an F grade on an assignment, getting a very bad grade, not being encouraged to enter a higher standard, suspension or even expulsion from a specific institute.

As far as plagiarism in journalism is concerned, it is a serious crime not only for the person who commits plagiarism but also for the channel or newspaper that shows the plagiarized material. It reduces the scope and credibility of that particular channel or newspapers and the consequences can be quite severe and extreme such as being expelled from the job.

Plagiarism is also taken very acutely on a legal basis. People who violate the copyright infringement laws would be held accountable and may be asked to reimburse the author, whose work is plagiarized and if he fails to do so, he/she may be sent to a prison.

Therefore, considering the severe consequences of plagiarism, it is better to rephrase the text properly which is taken from the internet/journals/books along with proper citations and sources.