Think about how angry you would be if someone used the method you patiently created and published a paper based on it without mentioning you or the original paper you produced that details the method. Because the author didn’t credit you for using their ideas, that person is a thief. The same reasoning that defines plagiarism also applies to word choice, sentence structure, and figures and tables, a common component of many research papers.
Academics and researchers who must publish quickly can resort to plagiarism when someone constructs a paper—with or without supporting research—by looking up a few papers on a particular subject, copying entire paragraphs from those papers, and pasting them into a new document. They then submit this document to a journal unrelated to any of the journals that previously published the papers on which the new paper is based. This is an extreme example, but plagiarism occurs much more frequently on a smaller scale. For instance, in agricultural research, a researcher may experiment on rice almost the same as one conducted on wheat by another researcher.
And the rice researcher takes the pertinent piece from the publication on wheat and pastes it into the paper being prepared on rice rather than explaining the procedures in his or her own words. That is also plagiarism, which is becoming more and more difficult to do as practically all research publication is done digitally.
This short article then discusses various types of plagiarism and provides advice on preventing it in your work. Plagiarism is “borrowing” passages of text that have already been published elsewhere and incorporating them into your article without indicating that you have done so.
Types of plagiarism
Plagiarism is not limited to just taking someone else’s words; it also includes incorporating diagrams, photographs, or other content without giving proper credit. Not the act of borrowing itself is immoral, but rather borrowing without credit or acknowledgment. Science is, after all, largely constructed piece by piece by researchers who improve upon or forward the work of their peers, both past and present.
The types of plagiarism are as follows:
- Source (and self-plagiarism is such kind) (and self-plagiarism is one such category)
- The level of plagiarism (verbatim plagiarism means duplicating the original material exactly; dispersed or “mosaic” plagiarism refers to copying short passages of text sporadically throughout a research paper’s body)
- Kind of copied material (copying an image or any form of illustration, a table, an equation specifically developed by another researcher, etc.)
- Plagiarism can be committed with or without purpose (it is intentional when the offender does it intentionally or unintentional when the offender is uninformed of what constitutes plagiarism), among other factors.
The essential thing is to prevent plagiarism, not the specific kind used—different experts have classified it differently and into various categories.
A few strategies for avoiding plagiarism
1. Give yourself plenty of time to write and edit.
The most frequent explanation for why so many academics use plagiarism is that copying and pasting are quicker than creating original work. Writing takes time and is difficult. It’s important to remember that many journals constantly screen each new article for plagiarism, so if yours is rejected for that reason, you’ve wasted time. When taking notes, use your language wherever possible, and when writing your initial draft, resort to those notes rather than the source (after all, you can always turn later to the saved original for cross-checking).
2. Include the source and quote marks.
Making it obvious that the passage is not something you authored, a straight quotation may be the simplest approach to avoid plagiarism. And for this reason, in addition to including a citation, you have additionally enclosed it in quotation marks. For instance, “read complex literature, especially Ph.D. theses from UK institutions, as they are likely to be written in excellent academic English” (Anikina 2021). To avoid plagiarism, make sure the extract is rewritten word by word. Additionally, ensure the spelling, italics, and punctuation are kept from the original.
3. Cite the source and rewrite the original content in your own words.
Remember that paraphrasing someone else’s ideas while giving correct credit does not constitute plagiarism; nonetheless, you must present the concept on your terms. It will be tough to come up with new words and methods to construct sentences if you have the original in front of you while you write. It’s not easy to use your words. Therefore, you need to read widely—beyond technical publications and textbooks. Most importantly, be sure that the original’s meaning is not lost while paraphrasing.
4. Read broadly and well-written works on a variety of subjects.
By reading about various topics, make an effort to expand your vocabulary. Reading works by writers whose writing is renowned for its excellence will enable you to take in a range of sentence structures, and a wider vocabulary will make it simpler and more effective for you to paraphrase. Reading is a worthwhile investment that will pay off in the future, so your time spent reading is not squandered.
5. Keep precise records of the sources’ bibliographic information.
It’s easy to prevent plagiarism by citing sources, but you must have the right information on each one you use. Although it is now much simpler to trace original papers, it is also simpler to make mistakes when duplicating or transcribing. Always double-check all the references and sources.
6. Check for plagiarism in your text.
You could use plagiarism-checking programs if you aren’t sure how well you can compose or paraphrase sentences. These will enable you to ascertain whether your manuscript contains any passages that may be plagiarized and, if so, to take proper and timely action. For instance, the Scientific Editing Service from Edit age offers extra features like unlimited rounds of plagiarism checking for a whole year in addition to high-quality language and developmental editing.
The unethical practice of plagiarism might endanger your research career. Avoid the temptation to cut corners since doing your homework will pay you long-term.
Academic publishing plagiarism
When conducting the study, scholars frequently discover that others have created concepts similar to theirs. Others may have developed an investigative method, detailed the natural history of a disease or the structure of a substance, or defined certain processes in such a beautiful way that the researcher decides to adopt it verbatim since it cannot be improved.
When writing a paper, it is crucial to remember to properly and fully recognize every one of these sources. Plagiarism is attempting to take another person’s words, ideas, or completed work without giving them proper credit.
When someone plagiarizes unintentionally or accidentally,
The references are entered incorrectly due to carelessness:
- Since it is “common scientific knowledge,” the researcher does not need to credit the original creator of a well-known fact (e.g., global warming is causing climate change).
- There is a cultural difference; junior researchers from some cultures believe it is improper to change the terminology used by a senior researcher who is an expert on the topic.
- Language barriers exist, making it difficult for non-native English speakers to be sure that their interpretations of the words of another author will be accurate.
- The researcher cannot adequately express the article’s extremely technical explanation in his or her own words. Thus, it is being paraphrased. This is especially true for novice researchers or students.
Self-plagiarism takes place when
- Without mentioning the prior pieces, a person who has previously published certain articles compiles them into a single, larger essay or perhaps a book.
- Even though the study would be best represented as a single, lengthy document, the author uses salami publications to publish various sections of the same subject as separate pieces.
How to find plagiarized material:
The simplest technique to spot plagiarism is when a reviewer or journal editor discovers that a manuscript submission contains significant parts that are verbatim or just slightly modified from previously published works. If the reviewer notices something suspicious
- The submitted work’s writing style changes significantly across portions,
- Throughout the book, the level of English utilized varies dramatically, or
- The author of the review is familiar with the copied work.
Additionally, a lot of publications now employ plagiarism detection technologies. For instance, large publishers like Nature Publishing Group, Elsevier, and Wiley-Blackwell are among the over 250 publishers utilizing Crosscheck, driven by the software iThenticate. Journals immediately reject articles that have a positive plagiarism result from Crosscheck.
Guidelines for preventing inadvertent plagiarism
It’s crucial to remember that any references to earlier research on the subject must be properly credited in academic writing. All sources used to develop the study’s methods, and background must be completely and accurately cited.
- It is acceptable to cite an author’s work verbatim if you feel that you cannot appropriately summarize their work. But you have to put quotation marks around these phrases.
- When you paraphrase or summarize another author’s work, you do not need to use quotation marks, but you must ensure that you have kept the original sense of the passage and put it in your own words. Even minor word changes within the original paragraph are nonetheless regarded as plagiarism.
- When taking notes, be sure to rephrase information from previous research. To recognize any content, you have directly copied from the source when looking back at your notes later, make sure to enclose it in quotation marks.
- Try your best to paraphrase another author’s words, even if you’re not sure you can do it well. To improve the wording, enlist the aid of a co-author or colleague or employ professional editing services.
- Even if you believe the information or method you are citing is “common scientific knowledge,” it is always preferable to cite the original author. Some readers of a general publication might not be specialists in your field so the information would be appreciated.
Researchers who are found to have plagiarized others’ work risk losing their funding and tenure, but more crucially, they risk losing their academic reputation for their whole body of work. Nobody is exempt from consequences if plagiarism is discovered, as demonstrated by the case of the German defense minister who was forced to resign from his job and forfeit his Ph.D. after sections from his doctoral dissertation were discovered to be copied. 3
Excellent instances of plagiarism in academia may be found on Miguel Roig’s thorough website for the Office of Research Integrity1. Below are a handful of their quotes:
- After being accused of copying language from a National Academy of Sciences paper and including it in his book, a scientist resigned from a famous clinic.
- Accusations that a college president used unattributed quotes in a speech at the college conference led to his forced resignation.
- The doctorate was revoked when the university discovered that a psychologist had plagiarized some of his Ph.D. work.
It is immoral to try to pass off someone else’s words, work, or ideas as your own. A plagiarism charge might result in the researcher developing a reputation for doing reckless and shoddy work. At worst, such a charge might permanently damage the researcher’s credibility by giving them a bad name for engaging in scientific fraud. To prevent charges of plagiarism, researchers should pay close attention to every detail when quoting, use an acceptable paraphrase, and carefully consider their source attribution.