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Plagiarism- An Academic Crime ?

The act of academic theft or copying someone else’s idea and words and not acknowledging it is called plagiarism. What is it and what are the effects of submitting plagiarized matter has been discussed in the blog below.

When you are describing a certain product or certain theory, most of the time you go searching for material on the net or other resources like magazines, newspapers, books, journals and so on. While you are looking for the materials for your research, there are times, when you have, without your intention, copied some of the material from those resources. The academic world considers this as a serious academic crime and calls it by the name Plagiarism’.

Plagiarism- an Academic Crime

Yes, plagiarism too is a crime and you can be even be expelled from your institution for copying someone else’s work and not acknowledging it. However, there are huge debates among the academicians, researchers and writers on where to draw the line between researching and plagiarizing. No matter what you say, you would have to use the idea or concept from some source. To ease this confusion, you need to know the conditions under which a work can be considered as plagiarized.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has said, that Plagiarism” means

  • Stealing and passing off words or ideas of somebody else as their own
  • Using someone else’s production and not giving credit to the source
  • Committing literary theft
  • Presenting an idea which is derived from an already existing source and original and new one.

U.S. Law’s Opinion on Plagiarism

Plagiarism is actually an act of academic fraud which involves stealing other person’s work and passing it as one’s own. Now the pertinent question that comes is- can words be actually stolen? How can one possibly copy ideas? Well, the U.S. law has said yes to it. Just like you have patents for original inventions, there are copyright laws which protect the intellectual property. Intellectual properties are actually the original writings that are expressed by their creators.

Almost all kinds of expressions fall under the copyright protection act if they have been recorded into some form of documents like books or computer files. Hence, when the same idea or the concept is replicated without acknowledging and awarding the required attributes mentioned under the copyright act, the content is plagiarized.

So, what kind of work would be considered as plagiarized? If you have done any of the following, you fall under plagiarism:

  • Changing somebody else’s work as yours
  • Not giving credit to the source you have copied the information from
  • Writing a quotation without giving the quotation marks
  • Not providing the correct information of a source of quotation
  • Change the words, however, copy the structure of sentence and not give credit to it
  • Copying a huge chunk of ideas or words so that the content comprises majority of your work, irrespective of whether you provide credit for it or not.

You can avoid plagiarism in your work by citing sources simply. If you acknowledge that the information you provide has been borrowed from a given source, the audience is well aware of what exactly you have researched, you are saved from the risks of being called a thief. After all, what new are you contributing if all you are doing is copy pasting someone else’s work by changing a few words here and there?

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