This page is totally original, we certainly did not just lift it from Wikipedia.

Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work,[1][2] but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries.[3][4][5][6] The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement, while in the previous centuries authors and artists were encouraged to "copy the masters as closely as possible" and avoid "unnecessary invention."[7][8][9][10][11][12]

The 18th century new morals have been institutionalized and enforced prominently in the sectors of academia and journalism, where plagiarism is now considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics, subject to sanctions like expulsion and other severe career damage. Not so in the arts, which not only have resisted in their long-established tradition of copying as a fundamental practice of the creative process,[12][13][14] but with the boom of the modernist and postmodern movements in the 20th century, this practice has been heightened as the central and representative artistic device.[12][15][16] Plagiarism remains tolerated by 21st century artists.[13][14]

Plagiarism is not a crime per se but is disapproved more on the grounds of moral offence,[7][17] and cases of plagiarism can involve liability for copyright infringement.

Etymology and historyEdit

Twentieth-century dictionaries define plagiarism as "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication," of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work,[1][2] but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries.[3][4][5][6] There is no rigorous and precise distinction between imitation, stylistic plagiarism, copy, replica and forgery.[3][4][5][6]

In the 1st century, the use of the Latin word plagiarius (literally kidnapper), to denote someone stealing someone else's work, was pioneered by Roman poet Martial, who complained that another poet had "kidnapped his verses." This use of the word was introduced into English in 1601 by dramatist Ben Jonson, to describe as a plagiary someone guilty of literary theft.[7][18]

The derived form plagiarism was introduced into English around 1620.[19] The Latin plagiārius, "kidnapper", and plagium, "kidnapping", has the root plaga ("snare", "net"), based on the Indo-European root *-plak, "to weave" (seen for instance in Greek plekein, Bulgarian "плета" pleta, Latin plectere, all meaning "to weave").

The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal, emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement.[7][11][12] Romantic aesthetic and ideology, still retains a significant strength in the 20th century, and encourages attaks against all that violates its values of genius, originality and individuality.[20] From the Romantic perspective, artistic techniques like parody are considered parasitic.[20] For centuries before, not only literature was considered "publica materies," a common property from which anybody could borrow at will, but the encouragement for authors and artists was actually to "copy the masters as closely as possible," for which the closer the copy the finer was considered the work.[7][8][13][21][22] This was the same in literature, music, painting and sculpture. In some cases, for a writer to invent their own plots was reproached as presumptuous.[7] This stood at the time of Shakespeare too, when it was common to appreciate more the similarity with an admired classical work, and the ideal was to avoid "unnecessary invention."[7][9][10]

The modern ideals for originality and against plagiarism appeared in the 18th century, in the context of the economic and political history of the book trade, which will be exemplary and influential for the subsequent broader introduction of capitalism.[23] Originality, that traditionally had been deemed as impossible, was turned into an obligation by the emerging ideology of individualism.[10][13] In 1755 the word made it into Johnson's influential A Dictionary of the English Language, where he was cited in the entry for copier ("One that imitates; a plagiary; an imitator. Without invention a painter is but a copier, and a poet but a plagiary of others."), and in its own entry denoting both A thief in literature ("one who steals the thoughts or writings of another") and The crime of literary theft.[7][24]

Later in the 18th century, the Romantic movement completed the transformation of the previous ideas about literature, developing the Romantic myth of artistic inspiration, which believes in the "individualised, inimitable act of literary creation", in the ideology of the "creation from nothingness" of a text which is an "autonomous object produced by an individual genious."[5][12][22][25][26][27][28] Plagiarism has often been used as a derogatory term for parodies.[29][30]

Despite the 18th century new morals, and their current enforcement in the ethical codes of academia and journalism, the arts, by contrast, not only have resisted in their long-established tradition of copying as a fundamental practice of the creative process,[12][13][14][31] but with the boom of the modernist and postmodern movements, this practice has been accelerated, spread, increased, dramatically amplified to an unprecedented degree, to the point that has been heightened as the central and representative artistic device of these movements.[15][16][12] Plagiarism remains tolerated by 21st century artists.[13][14] An early rebuttal to Romantic aesthetic in this respect, came from Russian formalism.[20]

Legal aspectsEdit

Though plagiarism in some contexts is considered theft or stealing, it does not exist in a legal sense. "Plagiarism" is not mentioned in any current statute, either criminal or civil.[14][17] Some cases may be treated as unfair competition or a violation of the doctrine of moral rights.[17] The increased availability of intellectual property due to a rise in technology has furthered the debate as to whether copyright offences are criminal.Template:Citation needed In short, people are asked to use the guideline, "...if you did not write it yourself, you must give credit."[32]Template:Verify credibility

Plagiarism is not the same as copyright infringement. While both terms may apply to a particular act, they are different concepts. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of a copyright holder, when material restricted by copyright is used without consent. On the other hand, the moral concept of plagiarism is concerned with the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation that is achieved through false claims of authorship. Plagiarism is not illegal towards the author, but towards the reader, patron or teacher. Even when copyright has expired, false claims of authorship may still constitute plagiarism.

In academia and journalismEdit

Within academia, plagiarism by students, professors, or researchers is considered academic dishonesty or academic fraud, and offenders are subject to academic censure, up to and including expulsion. In journalism, plagiarism is considered a breach of journalistic ethics, and reporters caught plagiarizing typically face disciplinary measures ranging from suspension to termination of employment. Some individuals caught plagiarizing in academic or journalistic contexts claim that they plagiarized unintentionally, by failing to include quotations or give the appropriate citation. 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.

For professors and researchers, plagiarism is punished by sanctions ranging from suspension to termination, along with the loss of credibility and perceived integrity.[33][34] Charges of plagiarism against students and professors are typically heard by internal disciplinary committees, which students and professors have agreed to be bound by.[35]


Plagiarism is defined in multiple ways in higher education institutions and universities. To name a few: Stanford sees plagiarism as “use, without giving reasonable and appropriate credit to or acknowledging the author or source, of another person's original work, whether such work is made up of code, formulas, ideas, language, research, strategies, writing or other form”; [36] Yale views plagiarism as “the use of another’s work, words, or ideas without attribution” which included “using a source’s language without quoting, using information from a source without attribution, and paraphrasing a source in a form that stays too close to the original”; [37] Princeton perceives plagiarism as the deliberate use of “someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source”; [38] Oxford characterizes plagiarism as the use of “a writer's ideas or phraseology without giving due credit”; [39] and Brown explains plagiarism to be “appropriating another person's ideas or words (spoken or written) without attributing those word or ideas to their true source”. [40] As well-known institutions, they reflect a common academic definition of plagiarism. Lack of citation, giving credit, or attribution is considered to be plagiarism. In academics, committing plagiarism comes down to citing sources.


Since journalism's main currency is public trust, a reporter's failure to honestly acknowledge their sources undercuts a newspaper or television news show's integrity and undermines its credibility. Journalists accused of plagiarism are often suspended from their reporting tasks while the charges are being investigated by the news organization.[41]

The ease with which electronic text can be reproduced from online sources has lured a number of reporters into acts of plagiarism: Journalists have been caught "copying-and-pasting" articles and text from a number of websites.Template:Citation needed

Sanctions for student plagiarismEdit

Template:Undue In the academic world, plagiarism by students is a very serious offense that can result in punishments such as a failing grade on the particular assignment (typically at the high school level) or for the course (typically at the college or university level).Template:Citation needed For cases of repeated plagiarism, or for cases in which a student commits severe plagiarism (e.g., submitting a copied piece of writing as original work), a student may be suspended or expelled.[42] In many universities, academic degrees or awards may be revoked as a penalty for plagiarism.Template:Citation needed A plagiarism tariff has been devised for UK higher education institutions in an attempt to encourage some standardization.[43]

There are many reasons for why students would resort to plagiarism intentionally or unintentionally. Students can feel rushed as though there is too much work to do in too little time; time management may seem to difficult or overwhelming at the time.[44] Students may claim that they are unknowing what they must do to correctly cite others. [44] Students can also feel deeply “pressured to get good grades”. [44] Some could feel that because other students do plagiarism so often and successfully that they could do it as well. [44] Students may also claim that “somebody else said it so much better” than they could or would.[44] Students could believe that plagiarism has no damaging effects to them or others. [44] Lastly, cultural traditions may have supported honoring the original text through direct copying. [44]

With the accessibility of new technology (the Internet) students can plagiarize by copying and pasting information from other sourcesTemplate:Citation needed. This is often easily detected by teachers for several reasons.[45] First, students' choices of sources are frequently unoriginal; instructors may receive the same passage copied from a popular source from several students. Second, it is often easy to tell whether a student used his or her own "voice".[45] Third, students may choose sources which are inappropriate, inaccurate, or off-topic.[45] Fourth, lecturers may insist that submitted work is first submitted to an online plagiarism detector.Template:Citation needed.

There has been increasing recognition that some plagiarism occurs because students are unaware of acceptable writing practices or may even have developed writing practices considered unacceptable in higher education as part of their prior education.[46] This has led to a call for a greater emphasis on helping students learn about plagiarism as part of a holistic approach suggested by MacDonald and Carroll (2006).[46] As a consequence, consideration has now been given to the best ways to help students learn about plagiarism with suggestions by Carroll (2006) that students should be allowed to experiment and the Joint Information Systems Committee (a body advising higher education in the UK) that students should be able to develop their understanding of plagiarism through making mistakes, which means that they may need to produce some unacceptable writing and receive feedback on it before understanding that it is unacceptable.[46] When considering how best to help students learn about plagiarism, "recognition of individual learner differences" is important.[46] A large amount of the research which has taken place into plagiarism and learner differences has taken place in the context of students studying overseas.[46] However, while it might be useful to understand the range of reasons suggested in this research, Carroll (2008), writing in a UK context, suggests that the variety of understandings of plagiarism are likely as varied amongst domestic students.[46]

There is little academic research into the frequency of plagiarism in high schools. Much of the research investigated plagiarism at the post-secondary level.[47] Of the forms of cheating, (including plagiarism, inventing data, and cheating during an exam) students admit to plagiarism more than any other.Template:Citation needed A Duke University in 2005 found that 58% of high school students have plagiarized at least once as found in a study size of 18,000 participants.[48][49] However, this figure decreases considerably when students are asked about the frequency of "serious" plagiarism (such as copying most of an assignment or purchasing a complete paper from a website). Recent use of plagiarism detection software (see below) gives a more accurate picture of this activity's prevalence.


Self-plagiarism (also known as "recycling fraud"[50]) is the reuse 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. Articles of this nature are often referred to as duplicate or multiple publication. In addition to the ethical issue, this can be illegal if copyright of the prior work has been transferred to another entity. Typically, self-plagiarism is only considered to be a serious ethical issue in settings where a publication is asserted to consist of new material, such as in academic publishing or educational assignments.[51] It does not apply (except in the legal sense) to public-interest texts, such as social, professional, and cultural opinions usually published in newspapers and magazines.

In academic fields, self-plagiarism occurs when an author reuses portions of his own published and copyrighted work in subsequent publications, but without attributing the previous publication.[52] Identifying self-plagiarism is often difficult because limited reuse of material is both legally accepted (as fair use) and ethically accepted.[53]

It is common for university researchers to rephrase and republish their own work, tailoring it for different academic journals and newspaper articles, to disseminate their work to the widest possible interested public. However, it must be borne in mind that these researchers also obey limits: If half an article is the same as a previous one, it will usually be rejected. One of the functions of the process of peer review in academic writing is to prevent this type of "recycling".

The concept of self-plagiarismEdit

The concept of "self-plagiarism" has been challenged as self-contradictory or an oxymoron.[54]

For example, Stephanie J. Bird[55] argues that self-plagiarism is a misnomer, since by definition plagiarism concerns the use of others' material.

However, the phrase is used to refer to specific forms of potentially unethical publication. Bird identifies the ethical issues sometimes called "self-plagiarism" as those of "dual or redundant publication." She also notes that in an educational context, "self-plagiarism" may refer to the case of a student who resubmits "the same essay for credit in two different courses." As David B. Resnik clarifies, "Self-plagiarism involves dishonesty but not intellectual theft."[56]

According to Patrick M. Scanlon[57]

"Self-plagiarism" is a term with some specialized currency. Most prominently, it is used in discussions of research and publishing integrity in biomedicine, where heavy publish-or-perish demands have led to a rash of duplicate and "salami-slicing" publication, the reporting of a single study's results in "least publishable units" within multiple articles (Blancett, Flanagin, & Young, 1995; Jefferson, 1998; Kassirer & Angell, 1995; Lowe, 2003; McCarthy, 1993; Schein & Paladugu, 2001; Wheeler, 1989). Roig (2002) offers a useful classification system including four types of self-plagiarism: duplicate publication of an article in more than one journal; partitioning of one study into multiple publications, often called salami-slicing; text recycling; and copyright infringement.

Self-plagiarism and codes of ethicsEdit

Some academic journals have codes of ethics which specifically refer to self-plagiarism. For example, the Journal of International Business Studies.[58]

Some professional organizations like the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) have created policies that deal specifically with self-plagiarism.[59]

Other organizations do not make specific reference to self-plagiarism:

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has published a code of ethics which describes plagiarism as "deliberate appropriation of the works of others represented as one's own." It does not make any reference to self-plagiarism. It does say that when a thesis or dissertation is published "in whole or in part", the author is "not ordinarily under an ethical obligation to acknowledge its origins."[60]

The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) has published a code of ethics which says its members are committed to: "Ensure that others receive credit for their work and contributions," but it does not make any reference to self-plagiarism.[61]

Factors that justify reuseEdit

Pamela Samuelson in 1994 identified several factors which excuse reuse of one's previously published work without the culpability of self-plagiarism.[53] She relates each of these factors specifically to the ethical issue of self-plagiarism, as distinct from the legal issue of fair use of copyright, which she deals with separately. Among other factors which may excuse reuse of previously published material Samuelson lists the following:

  1. The previous work needs to be restated in order to lay the groundwork for a new contribution in the second work.
  2. Portions of the previous work must be repeated in order to deal with new evidence or arguments.
  3. The audience for each work is so different that publishing the same work in different places was necessary to get the message out.
  4. The author thinks they said it so well the first time that it makes no sense to say it differently a second time.

Samuelson states she has relied on the "different audience" rationale when attempting to bridge interdisciplinary communities. She refers to writing for different legal and technical communities, saying: "there are often paragraphs or sequences of paragraphs that can be bodily lifted from one article to the other. And, in truth, I lift them." She refers to her own practice of converting "a technical article into a law review article with relatively few changes—adding footnotes and one substantive section" for a different audience.[53]

Samuelson describes misrepresentation as the basis of self-plagiarism. She seems less concerned about reuse of descriptive materials than ideas and analytical content.[53] She also states "Although it seems not to have been raised in any of the self-plagiarism cases, copyrights law's fair use defense would likely provide a shield against many potential publisher claims of copyright infringement against authors who reused portions of their previous works."[53]

Walden University, New England College of Business, and possibly other Universities are currently developing and promoting policies which support the use of students in citing their own previous work. The previously written work must be clearly indicated within a separate paragraph (entirely indented 1/2 of an inch per APA format), using an in-text citation and accompanying reference. The following is an APA example of how this may be accomplished to allow students to improve upon their previously written work and avoid self-plagiarism:

In-text citation appearing at the end of the paragraph before the period: (Smith, 2012).

Reference: Smith, R. (2012). Challenges in global compliance. Unpublished paper, Name Of Student's College, City (where college is located), State.

Organizational publicationsEdit

Plagiarism is presumably not an issue when organizations issue collective unsigned works since they do not assign credit for originality to particular people. For example, the American Historical Association's "Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct" (2005) regarding textbooks and reference books states that, since textbooks and encyclopedias are summaries of other scholars' work, they are not bound by the same exacting standards of attribution as original research and may be allowed a greater "extent of dependence" on other works.[62] However, even such a book does not make use of words, phrases, or paragraphs from another text or follow too closely the other text's arrangement and organization, and the authors of such texts are also expected to "acknowledge the sources of recent or distinctive findings and interpretations, those not yet a part of the common understanding of the profession."[62]

Within an organization, in its own working documents, standards are looser but not non-existent. If someone helped with a report, they may expect to be credited. If a paragraph comes from a law report, a citation is expected to be written down. Technical manuals routinely copy facts from other manuals without attribution, because they assume a common spirit of scientific endeavor (as evidenced, for example, in free and open source software projects) in which scientists freely share their work.

The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications Third Edition (2003) by Microsoft does not even mention plagiarism, nor does Science and Technical Writing: A Manual of Style, Second Edition (2000) by Philip Rubens. The line between permissible literary and impermissible source code plagiarism, though, is apparently quite fine. As with any technical field, computer programming makes use of what others have contributed to the general knowledge.

In the artsEdit

File:Marcel Duchamp Mona Lisa LHOOQ.jpg

Plagiarism and the history of artEdit

Through all of the history of literature and of the arts in general, works of art are for a large part repetitions of the tradition; to the entire history of artistic creativity belong plagiarism, literary theft, appropriation, incorporation, retelling, rewriting, recapitulation, revision, reprise, thematic variation, ironic retake, parody, imitation, stylistic theft, pastiches, collages, and deliberate assemblages.[3][12][13][14][63][64] There is no rigorous and precise distinction between practices like imitation, stylistic plagiarism, copy, replica and forgery.[3][4][5][6] These appropriation procedures are the main axis of a literate culture, in which the tradition of the canonic past is being constantly rewritten.[64]

These appropriation procedures, vital to the whole history of art, have gained more and more importance since the beginning of the 20th century, with the boom of the modernist and postmodern movements; in modernist and postmodernist art, appropriation has been heightened as the central and representative device.[12][15][16]

Praisings of artistic plagiarismEdit

Template:Example farm A famous passage of Laurence Sterne's 1767 Tristram Shandy, condemns plagiarism by resorting to plagiarism.[65][66] Oliver Goldsmith commented:[67]

Sterne's Writings, in which it is clearly shewn, that he, whose manner and style were so long thought original, was, in fact, the most unhesitating plagiarist who ever cribbed from his predecessors in order to garnish his own pages. It must be owned, at the same time, that Sterne selects the materials/ of his mosaic work with so much art, places them so well, and polishes them so highly, that in most cases we are disposed to pardon the want of originality, in consideration of the exquisite talent with which the borrowed materials are wrought up into the new form.

On December 6, 2006, Thomas Pynchon joined a campaign by many other major authors to clear Ian McEwan of plagiarism charges by sending a typed letter to his British publisher, which was published in the Daily Telegraph[68]

Playwright Wilson Mizner said "If you copy from one author, it's plagiarism. If you copy from two, it's research."[69]

American author Jonathan Lethem delivered a passionate defense of the use of plagiarism in art in his 2007 essay "The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism" in Harper's Magazine. He wrote: "The kernel, the soul—let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances—is plagiarism" and "Don't pirate my editions; do plunder my visions. The name of the game is Give All. You, reader, are welcome to my stories. They were never mine in the first place, but I gave them to you."[70]

In other contextsEdit

Plagiarism on the InternetEdit

Content scraping is copying and pasting from websites[71] and blogs.[72]

Free online tools are becoming available to help identify plagiarism,[73][74] and there is a range of approaches that attempt to limit online copying, such as disabling right clicking and placing warning banners regarding copyrights on web pages. Instances of plagiarism that involve copyright violation may be addressed by the rightful content owners sending a DMCA removal notice to the offending site-owner, or to the ISP that is hosting the offending site.

Detecting plagiarism even by detection tools can still be difficult, as plagiarism is often held to not only be the mere copying of text, but also the presentation of another's ideas as one's own, regardless of the specific words or constructs used to express that idea. However, many so-called plagiarism detection services can only detect blatant word-for-word copies of text.

As a practical issueEdit

In addition to legal and ethical concerns, plagiarism is frequently also a practical issue, in that it is frequently useful to consult the sources used by an author, and plagiarism makes this more difficult. There are a number of reasons why this is useful:

  • An author may commit an error in how they interpret or use a source, and consulting the original source allows these errors to be detected.
  • Authors generally only supply the portions of prior works that are directly relevant to the work at hand. Other portions of their sources are likely to be relevant to later extensions and generalizations of their work.
  • As modern automated indexing methods become prevalent, references between works provide valuable information about their authoritativeness and how closely works are related; this helps to locate relevant works.

See alsoEdit

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    use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work
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    the wrongful appropriation or purloining and publication as one's own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas… of another
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