Plagiarism is Academic Dishonesty Essay
Plagiarism has been a hotly debated topic in the past decades, especially in the learning institutions. Many students are not fully aware of what plagiarism constitutes (Karabag, 2012). Different higher learning institutions have different definitions of what is plagiarism as well as what it constitutes. University of Oxford (2017) explains plagiarism as using other writers’ ideas or research work as yours without or with their consent and incorporating that work in your research without acknowledging the owner. It does not matter whether the work being used is unpublished, published, electronic, printed or manuscript. Plagiarism may occur unintentionally, recklessly or intentionally. Almost all higher learning institutions treat reckless or intentional plagiarism as a disciplinary offense. University of Southern California (2018) explores plagiarism from three main perspectives. First, submitting work that has been written by another author as your own irrespective whether the content is copied or paraphrased. Secondly, submitting work that has been edited by another person by alteration of the major writing style. Thirdly, inappropriate acknowledgment of the sources used in the research papers or essays. Having reviewed the plagiarism definitions as put forward by the two higher learning institutions, this paper defines plagiarism as using someone’s idea or academic work and submit it in the pretense that it is yours. In simple terms, plagiarism is academic dishonesty.Several studies both empirical and theoretical have strived to discuss plagiarism and how it has contributed to the academic dishonesty (Honig & Bedi, 2012). The studies have found that plagiarism is common in almost all academic disciplines such as social science studies, engineering studies, and medical studies (Karabag, 2012). The majority of plagiarism studies focus their research on students despite the fact that the frequency of plagiarized articles and research papers among the academic professionals have been increasing tremendously (Karabag, 2012). The study on plagiarism can be classified into two categories; plagiarism behavior exhibited by writers and how journal publishers deal with the plagiarism issue as studied by (Honig & Bedi, 2012). The study on the first group found that approximately one of the four paper submitted to academic management boards had some levels of plagiarism. Secondly, Karabag (2012) conducted a survey on journal editors to determine how journal publishers addressed the issue of plagiarism in journal articles. The author found that plagiarism was not limited to certain academic disciplines because it could be found in all academic fields.
Having reviewed that plagiarism can be perpetuated in different academic disciplines and by both students and academic professionals, it is important to explore different forms of plagiarism. The University of Oxford provides a range of ways through which plagiarism can be practiced. First, verbatim whereby the author quotes another author’s work without proper acknowledgment. To avoid this form of plagiarism, the writer should identify quotations either by indentation or use of quotation marks with the inclusion of full citation including the page number where the quote has to be derived (University of Oxford, 2017). In case the quotation exceeds forty words it is always recommended that the writer must indent the whole quotation and make sure it is in italic form. When the author uses direct quotes, he or she must make a clear distinction between his or her work and that of another author.
Secondly, plagiarism can be exhibited through copying directly from the internet or any other material and pasting into your own work without acknowledging the source and the owner of the material. The academic rule demands that in the event where the student or the researcher obtain information from the internet he or she should ensure it is well cited and referenced to avoid plagiarism issues. Besides, the learning institutions discourage students from using internet sources unless they belong to reputable organizations. Ideally, most of the internet materials do not undergo through the established process as it is the case with scholarly peer-reviewed articles (University of Oxford, 2017).
Thirdly, plagiarism can occur as result of paraphrasing another author work. Although professors and tutors advise their students to paraphrase to avoid plagiarism, certain paraphrasing techniques can result in plagiarism. For example, using another person’s work by changing a few words or altering the order of the words it amounts to plagiarism unless the writer acknowledges the author. To avoid this type of plagiarism, students and researchers are recommended to read and understand the work they are using as the sources and then write up in their own words.
Fourth, other common forms of plagiarism comprise of collusion, inaccurate citation, lack of assistance acknowledgment and auto-plagiarism. Collusion involves unauthorized collaboration, especially among the students. The inaccurate citation entails the failure to cite accurately according to the subject discipline. Failure to acknowledge the assistance that the writer has received from the third parties such as laboratory technicians and fellow students is treated as plagiarism. Finally, auto-plagiarism involves submitting the work that a writer or a student had submitted before without clear directives requiring the student to do so. Also, the submission of similar work by two different students amounts into auto-plagiarism.
“Do plagiarism cases qualify as a crime?” This question has been asked over and over with some learning institutions treating plagiarism as a serious offense that is worth suspension or expulsion from the university. Under the provisions of the intellectual property, plagiarism has been defined as taking other authors materials and publishing them as yours (US Legal Inc., 2016). Based on this legal definition, plagiarism is not a criminal offense that can cause a person to be charged by either state or federal court. However, when individual uses published work as his or hers, it amounts to the civil offense whereby the offended party can sue the offender for the remedy. Therefore, plagiarism is not a criminal act because the offenders can only be accused of a misdemeanor (US Legal Inc., 2016).
Now, the above discussion as exhibited that plagiarism is not a crime. However, just like any other unacceptable act, plagiarism has a range of consequences to the offender. First, plagiarism destroys the student reputation. Ideally, in most of the cases plagiarism caused the student to be expelled or suspended (University of Oxford, 2017). These steps may be accompanied by barring the student from joining another college or even getting admitted in the college from high school. The higher learning institutions take plagiarism as a serious offense, and they even suspend students for the first plagiarism offense.
Secondly, plagiarism allegations can ruin ones academic reputation. For example, when an individual is barred from publishing any work because of the plagiarism offenses it is a clear indication that his or her academic reputation has been destroyed. Thirdly, plagiarism has legal repercussion, especially when one uses the published material without acknowledging the owner. The offended has the right to sue the offender under the civil offense for remedy. Finally, the plagiarism my force the offender to incur monetary costs whereby the offended can be granted financial compensation in the court of law (US Legal Inc., 2016).Plagiarism entails the violation of the academic integrity. It calls for the academic community to acknowledge that it owes the owners of the materials it uses as sources. The use of another person’s work depicts a student or the researcher as the poor scholar who was unable meet the learning process requirements (University of Oxford, 2017). Therefore, it is essential for the learners to avoid the plagiarism cases at all cost. The avoidance of plagiarism helps the leaner to develop his or her own views without necessarily having to paraphrase other scholars’ work that might be difficult to understand. The purpose of learning is to become an original and independent thinker rather than the paraphraser. However, the issue of plagiarism does not mean the student should not use other writers work. In fact, almost all academic essays are based on discussions of already either published or unpublished work. These essays are plagiarism free only if the student can acknowledge the owner of the source through proper citation and referencing.
Plagiarism has been a serious issues in schools, colleges, and universities. Every day the cases of plagiarism are increasing despite the measures taken by the higher learning institutions to curb it. As noted in the discussion, plagiarism cases are not only common among the students but also among the academic professionals. Plagiarism consequences are very severe and if one is caught may face effects such as suspension and expulsion from college. This research paper does not discourage the use of other authors’ materials but recommends that if they are used, they must be well cited and referenced to acknowledge the owner.