Chambers Dictionary defines a plagiarist as a kind of thief –

“one who steals the thoughts or writings of others and gives them out as his [sic] own”.

 When this is also used for gain – in the University to gain credits for a module or modules – then an additional dimension of dishonesty is added.

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, Plagiarism is defined as "taking and using the thoughts, writings, and inventions of another person as one's own". This, or various similar definitions found in recognized publications / documents, are very broad and can be used to create awareness about Plagiarism but are not practical enough to apply in order to ascertain guilt or innocence in specific cases. In order to establish the violation of ethical norms, or academic or intellectual dishonesty resulting from Plagiarism and to take punitive actions in this regard, it is necessary that the variety of forms in which Plagiarism manifests itself are known. These include but are not limited to the following:
“Verbatim copying, near-verbatim copying, or purposely paraphrasing portions of another author's paper or unpublished report without citing the exact reference. Copying elements of another author's paper, such as equations or illustrations that are not common knowledge, or copying or purposely paraphrasing sentences without citing the source. Verbatim copying portions of another author's paper or from reports by citing but not clearly differentiating what text has been copied (e.g. not applying quotation marks correctly) and /or not citing the source correctly”. "The unacknowledged use of computer programs, mathematical / computer models / algorithms, computer software in all forms, macros, spreadsheets, web pages, databases, mathematical deviations and calculations, designs / models / displays of any sort, diagrams, graphs, tables, drawings, works of art of any sort, fine art pieces or artifacts, digital images, computer-aided design drawings, GIS files, photographs, maps, music / composition of any sort, posters, presentations and tracing."  "Self-plagiarism, that is, the verbatim or near-verbatim re-use of significant portions of one's own copyrighted work without citing the original source."

Explanation from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on the web describes and explains Plagiarism as "the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work. Unlike cases of forgery, in which the authenticity of the writing, document, or some other kind of object itself is in question, plagiarism is concerned with the issue of false attribution. Within academia, plagiarism by students, professors, or researchers is considered academic dishonesty or academic fraud and offenders are subject to academic censure. In journalism, plagiarism is considered a breach of journalistic ethics, and reporters caught plagiarizing typically face disciplinary measures ranging from suspension to termination. While plagiarism in scholarship and journalism has a centuries-old history, the development of the Internet, where articles appear as electronic text, has made the physical act of copying the work of others much easier. Plagiarism is different from copyright infringement. While both terms may apply to a particular act, they emphasize different aspects of the transgression. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of the copyright holder, which involves the loss of income and artistic control of the material when it is used without the copyright holder's consent.

On the other hand, plagiarism is concerned with the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation. In the academic world, plagiarism by students is a very serious academic offense which can result in punishments such as a failing grade on the particular assignment (typically at the high school level), or a failing grade for the course (typically at the college or university level). For cases of repeated plagiarism, or for cases where a student has committed a severe type of plagiarism (e.g. copying an entire article and submitting it as his / her own work), a student may be suspended or expelled, and any academic degrees or awards may be revoked. For professors and researchers, who are required to act as role models for their students, plagiarism is a very serious offence, and is punishable by sanctions ranging from suspension to termination, along with the loss of credibility and integrity. Charges of plagiarism against students, faculty members and staff are typically heard by internal disciplinary committees, which students and faculty members have agreed to be bound by." Wikipedia also describes Self-plagiarism as "the re-use of significant, identical, or nearly identical portions of one’s own work without acknowledging that one is doing so or without citing the original work. Typically, high public-interest texts are not a subject of self-plagiarism; however, the authors should not violate copyright where applicable. "Public-interest texts" include such material as social, professional, and cultural opinions usually published in newspapers and magazines."


Article about plagiarism in scientific publishing:
 Li, Y. Text-based plagiarism in scientific publishing: issues, developments and education. Science and Engineering Ethics, 2012, p. 1-14. DOI 10.1007/s11948-012-9367-6. Available at <> (open access).

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