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Plagiarism - 5 facts you did not know

Aug 21, 2013 - Posted to  Writing in General
Throughout your academic career you will be asked to write a myriad of different papers on varying subjects. The one thing that you can be certain about is that you will not be the first person writing about the subject you have been assigned. In the academic community, it is alright, in fact at times welcomed, to use the ideas, quotes, thoughts, research and conclusions of another entity. There are times when using the work of another will lend credence to your argument, or aid in proving your case. When you do so, however, there are standards in place to give recognition to the originating author. It is a way to let the reader of your work know that the original through, or idea, did not come from you.
There are several ways that you can cite an originating author in any work. When the professor assigns a paper to you, they will either specify the format, or in most cases, colleges will have a standard policy in place about the excepted modes for citing references. For most it will either be in a APA, or Harvard format. It is a way of formatting the information for the reader so that they not only know where the information came from, but so they can go back and find it themselves if need be.

What are 5 facts about plagiarism which are not commonly known?

Many efforts are made to catch those who plagiarize. It is a form of cheating, no less serious than any other. In an age where information is readily available, stopping it is becoming more problematic. In fact, according to studies done, it is not an uncommon practice not only by students worldwide, but by the academic community as well. With whole programs such as copyscape revolving around preserving the integrity of another's work, getting away with it is becoming more difficult for those who attempt.

1.Cheating on a test is considered plagiarism

Not many students realize that plagiarism is about cheating using the work of another. That means that when you cheat off of someone else's paper, you are committing plagiarism as much as if you were using someone else's words. It is a practice that seems to be rampant in high schools across the nation.
According to the Josephson Institute, in a survey of both public and private high school students, "59% of students admitted cheating on a test during the last year. 34% self-reported doing it more than two times", and "One out of three high school students admitted that they used the internet to plagiarize an assignment".

2. Paraphrasing is cheating

In an age where "spinning" articles, or taking words on paper that someone else has written and rearranging them seems common practice, it is no less illegal than if you quote directly without citing. Just because you change around a couple of words and it can pass a software package like copyscape does not mean that it is not cheating. The problem is that it is an accepted practice in many colleges and academic settings.
"35% of undergraduates admit to 'paraphrasing/copying few sentences from Internet source without footnoting it'"

3. Many famous works have been proven to contain materials which were copied from other sources

The bible and other biblical works have been proven to contain information that was taken from another source, or writing without any credit being given. As far back as ancient times it was common practice to take the thoughts and ideas of others and use it as your own. The potential for being discovered was much less real.

4. Plagiarism has become something that you pay for

There are many famous people, and respected academia professionals who pay freelancers to write their articles. Although agreed upon by the person writing it, and the person paying for it, when they put their name on the work as if it was their own, it is still considered plagiarism. It is a sorry state of affairs when people we highly respect are using the words of others and passing them off as their own, but it happens all the time.

5. Just because a thought, or idea, is known by everyone, or common knowledge, does not mean that the author no longer has rights to it

A great example of this is the many court cases involving songs from decades ago which have been used in commercials, or by other individuals without being paid for, or quoted. No matter how famous a quote, or idea is, even if it is common knowledge, it still belongs to the person who came up with it. There is no time limit on how long you have to give credit to the person who first came up with an idea, thought or concept.

Conclusion

As information becomes so available on the internet and through other sources, the line between what we get from other sources and what is actually our original thought continues to blur. Many academic individuals who set the bar and standards for ethics are setting a bad example for future generations by making it acceptable by changing technicalities to make something that is cheating seem less so.
Whether plagiarism will increase, or decrease over the next decade because of the many ways to obtain information, will remain to be seen. If you want to make sure not only that you do not get in trouble, and that you maintain your own academic integrity, if you use something that is not yours, always give credit to the original source. By using someone else's ideas it does not take away from your own intelligence or creativity, it only gives them the due credit they deserve. In the end, you wouldn't want them taking your words as their own, would you?
By Kevin Demlon. Kevin is a reliable academic writer. Any article he shares is a good source of writing tips and guidelines.
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