How to Get Away with Plagiarism

Henry E. Schaffer
Professor Emeritus of Genetics and Biomathematics
Coordinator of Special IT Projects & Faculty Collaboration/OIT
Interim Director Emeritus, LTS/DELTA
Senior Ethics Fellow, LANGURE

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What is it?

Extreme cases are easy to specify - borderline cases may be difficult
We're concerned with the academic definition
    and living up to Academic Standards ~ for your benefit

In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit when

How to Recognize Plagiarism Indiana University School of Education
Especially see the "flow chart" on that page.
Note: "work of others" covers more than "words"

Another excellent discussion Plagiarism and the Honor Code on recognizing and avoiding plagiarism - from the NC State Univ. History Dept.

Plagiarism vs. Copyright Violation - compare and contrast.
For copyright violation to occur - ownership matters, e.g. public domain; wording matters.

Most or all Federal Government documents are in the "public domain".

What is this? How does it affect copying from them? When does this matter?
Are there academic rules/regulations?
NCSU student code (higher ed institutions generally have similar codes)

8.2 A student shall be guilty of a violation of academic integrity if he or she:
8.3 The act of submitting work for evaluation or to meet a requirement is regarded as assurance that the work is the result of the student's own thought and study, produced without assistance, and stated in that student's own words, except as quotation marks, references, or footnotes acknowledge the use of other sources. Submission of work used previously must first be approved by the instructor.
Note last sentence in 8.3. Is it plagiarism? (cf Title of Sec. 8) ~ Academic Dishonesty

Does it happen?   On-line Paper Mills ~     YES!!!!

How about in the writing of professionals?

Title: Past imperfect : facts, fictions, fraud-- American history from Bancroft and Parkman to Ambrose, Bellesiles, Ellis, and Goodwin
Author: Hoffer, Peter Charles
PublicAffairs, c2004   DH Hill Call Number: E175 .H54 2004

Introduction : two-faced history
Ch. 1. The rise of consensus history
Ch. 2. Professions of history
Ch. 3. The new history and its promoters
Ch. 4. In the eye of the storm
Ch. 5. Falsification : the case of Michael Bellesiles
Ch. 6. Plagiarism : the cases of Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin
Ch. 7. Fabrication : the case of Joseph Ellis
Conclusion : the future of the past.

Ethical Considerations

What's the problem?
Is it stealing?
    Sometimes it is.
What is stolen?
    Define Intellectual Property" Also see a longer discussion
  Nothing directly lost ("intangible")
  Indirectly - sales, reputation

But in academic studies - lack of learning matters rather than theft

So how do we describe the "violation" in the academic studies context?

Should chance of detection be a consideration?

Ethically, no - practically, yes ~ What do you think?


How is it detected: above by authors noticing own work, or readers noticing

Also when specifically looking for it: Using Technology


















By the time this is done well enough, the effort is the same or greater as it would be to write an original paper.

Or, as my mother said, "Crime does not pay well."

Overviews & Resource Pages

Ultimate Guide to Copyright for Students

My short discussion in the context of Computer and Information Literacy or Fluency.

My resource page on plagiarism.

Plagiarism in Cyberspace: Learning the Rules of Recycling Content with a View Towards Nurturing Academic Trust in an Electronic World" by Deborah R. Gerhardt

Winning Hearts and Minds in War on Plagiarism

A seminar outline on "Ethics of Intellectual Property"

A cynical view of what is considered to be widespread plagiarism. A short book chapter The Appearance of Impropriety: How the Ethics Wars Have Undermined American Government, Business, and Society by Peter W. Morgan & Glenn H. Reynolds

Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Henry E. Schaffer
Comments and suggestions are welcome, and should go to
Last modified 1/10/2017
Disclaimer - Information is provided for your use. No endorsement is implied.