Reidar Conradi, IDI, NTNU (Ed.): Some rules and literature on
plagiarism (20. Aug. 2008)
Basic definition, alternative 1.
"Plagiarism is 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[.]
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, ..."
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism, lines 4-7, read 15. July 2008].
Basic definition, alternative 2.
"To plagiarize is to borrow someone else's words or ideas
without mentioning his/her name and/or without using quotation marks"
[Univ.Ottawa 2007, p.1].
This note will give advice on technical aspects of correct
citations of published work by others, not the ideologic or ethical
aspects of "stealing" ideas from others; see [Univ.Melbourne 2005].
It is a paradox, that proper citing serves as a blessing for the
original writer, since scoring high on official citation indexes
ISI published by Thompson Group) is taken as an "objective" and
machine-computable measure of your scientific clout. On the other
hand, for the careless writer in dire need of a citable reference,
it can imply harsh countermeasures.
This is because any assumed attempt of plagiarism may be held against you --
"Unintentional plagiarism is still plagiarism"
[Adams 2006, slide 4]!
For instance, you may have
"read" or "heard" a sentence from somebody else and forgotten
most about it. Some time later, you happen to reuse verbatim such a
sentence, without citation or without sufficient details.
This even applies for quoting yourself!!
Plagiarism can therefore ruin your academic career -- either as a
student or a researcher -- even if your "crime" was a mere formality.
That is, you did not 100% obey, or have not even learned about, the
following three rules [Adams 2006, slides 7-16]
[Univ.Ottawa 2007, pp.2-4] [Sindre 2008, slides 2-3]:
Hint 1: Use anti-plagiarism tools to inspect your writings for
unintentional plagiarism. Such diagnostics tools are
instrumented web-search engines, e.g.
- If citing more than 3-4 consecutive words verbatim
from somebody else's work:
use embedding quotation marks (") and perhaps
Italics font to explicitly mark the quoted phrase in our text,
e.g. "this is clearly a quote" [Olsen 1999, pp.4-5].
Note, that a detailed page
reference [pp.4-5] is also needed, beyond the normal literature
reference being just [Olsen 1999].
If you want to add a word or to delete some parts in a quoted text,
use ""-parentheses, e.g. as in "We can expect a lot
from him [(Caesar)] after he [...] conquered Gallia" [Brutus
44BC, p. 999].
However, pure factual statements, like "President John F. Kennedy was shot
dead on Friday, November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas" need
no citations, whether
taken from an existing source or written entirely by yourself.
- If the quotation includes more than 40 words or 4 lines,
make a block quote:
use no quotation marks, possibly apply Italics font, insert
double spacing, indent 5 spaces from both margins,
and put a blank line before and after:
This is a long quote,
i.e. more than 40 words.
- An alternative to the first rule is paraphrasing,
where you personally rewrite and thus summarize ("paraphrase")
the original text, in order to avoid a verbatim quotation.
For instance, we can paraphrase "Many girls model themselves after
their mother" into "Many girls use their mothers as models"
(both sentences taken from [Walters 1997, p.2]).
However, this may end up in trivial substitution of core
terms or mechanical sentence transformations.
http://www.plagiarism.com (via http://www.plagiarism.org),
(the first three are open source software), and
http://www.ephorus.no (the two latter are
commercial, and ephorus claims to be market leader in Europe
and used by Univ. in Oslo).
Hint 2: Be especially aware, when you are a marginal
co-author of a paper, but where you still can be "drawn
into the mud". This may be caused by careless writing by principal co-authors,
which often are close colleagues, see
the [Vancouver Convention 2000, in general] on guidelines for co-authorships.
So trust nobody, not even yourself, when it comes to plagiarism!
A digression independent of plagiarism:
Citation formats and guidelines for referencing scientific
literature and other public information is for long standardized, see
e.g. [Allen 2000]. However, it is often illegal to read, reproduce (copy)
and sometimes to cite confidential or copyrighted material, such as
books first printed less than 100 years ago, patents,
descriptions of commerciable innovations, and similar.
Inversely, there are the Open Source Code and the more general
Creative Commons initiatives, where
all Intellectual Property from the
participants is made known and exploitable by everybody from the start.
Short reference list
NB: To ease readability, we have added full first names, not only initials.
We have also switched the sequence of first and last names,
i.e. Reidar Conradi instead of just Conradi, R..
- [Allen 2000] Timothy Thorpe Allen:
"Citing References in Scientific Research Papers", email@example.com,
Keene State College, Keene, NH, USA, last revised in 2000
(4 pages -- .html). Many, many such guidelines exist.
- [Adams 2006] Jennifer Adams:
"APA Citation Style & Avoiding Plagiarism",
APA (American Psychology Association), Jennifer.Adams@acadiau.ca,
Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada,
2006 (25 slides -- .ppt).
- [Sindre 2008] Guttorm Sindre:
"Anti-plagiarism: comments and policies", IDI, NTNU,
from PhD course TDT8108 IT-emner, 10 July 2008 (3 slides -- .ppt).
- [Univ.Melbourne 2005] Turnitin Administrator:
"Academic Honesty and Plagiarism -- Practical Advice to Students",
Information Services, Office of the Provost, University of
17 February 2005, Turnitin-info@ unimelb.edu.au
(4 pages -- .html).
Contains many useful hints on how to avoid plagiarism.
- [Univ.Ottawa 2007] the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of
"Beware of plagiarism*! it's easy it's tempting ... but it can be
very costly**!" (here * means definition and ** means reprisals),
University of Ottawa, Canada,
http://www.uOttawa.ca/plagiarism.pdf, August 2007 (4 pages -- .pdf).
Contains also many useful web-links on plagiarism and related themes.
- [Vancouver Convention 2000]
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors
(ICMJE) = the Vancouver group:
(Wikipedia, last read 15. July 2008:
On more precise guidelines for co-authorships of scientific papers, by
specifying each co-author's role and contribution).
Under revision per 2008, with last official version being
"Uniform Requirements for
Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals" NEJM 1997, 335:
309-315, updated 2000.
- [Walters 1997] F. Scott Walters:
"Some Guidelines on Academic Summary Writing and Paraphrasing",
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, firstname.lastname@example.org,
initiated in 1997 (4 pages -- .html).
This file: http://www.idi.ntnu.no/grupper/su/publ/ese/plagiarism.html.
Last modified: Thu Sep 24 14:28:11 MEST 2009