Plagiarism is using and representing someone else’s work and ideas in your own work without providing proper acknowledgement to the original source. The term holds an important place in academia as students have to avoid it in order to make their work authentic and credible
Plagiarism is considered an offense in academia because it damages academic integrity. Academic integrity means keeping in account the moral and ethical regulations of academics while dealing with the work related to it such as researching, writing, publishing, etc.
Maintaining the integrity of academic work is important because it protects the authenticity of educational personnel and encourages critical thinking and valuable original ideas.
Many aspects affect the integrity of academia such as cheating, fabricating documents, providing fake sources, unauthorized collaboration, etc. But in this article, we will only focus on the plagiarism factor and learn…
Why Plagiarism is Considered a Serious Offense in Academia?
As mentioned above, plagiarism is copying the work of others without providing proper consideration to them. Plagiarism is considered academic theft because you are stealing the work of others and using it on your own.
Plagiarism is considered an offense in academics because it demoralizes the original sources.
Think of it this way:
Imagine you develop software that is killing it in the market. It’s a good software that is helping people do their daily tasks. Now, someone copies its coding and creates a similar software without providing consideration to you. You will feel bad, of course. Chances are you might not even bother to create something again because it is going to be stolen anyway.
The same thing happens in academics. There are people who work hard to create new ideas and knowledge for the world. To protect their efforts and encourage them to keep doing the work, educational institutions discourage the theft of academic work, which is plagiarism.
Let’s discuss more of the elements that will make it clearer why plagiarism is considered an offense in academia.
Ethical Considerations of Plagiarism in Academia
Plagiarism is considered an ethical dishonesty in academic work.
Plagiarism is theft because instead of stealing the physical belongings of a person, you steal their intellectual property. It is a credential theft also, as you are receiving credit for the work you never did.
Using people’s work discourages them and disrespects the effort they put into shaping those ideas into reality.
Plagiarism endangers the originality factor of academic works. When there is no control over plagiarism, original work gets stolen and re-used again and again. This also stops the creation of new ideas and works in the academic field.
When you plagiarize, you ignore and disrespect the intellectuality of the original source, which is very immoral. Plagiarism threatens the integrity and value of academic work. It compromises fairness in academic work. It gives you the unfair credit and appreciation that the original source deserves primarily.
Well, naturally, there will be people who might not consider plagiarism as that big of a blunder because of the perception that it’s only an ethical crime. Not really. If things go out of hand, you might even face severe legal consequences if you are not careful enough regarding plagiarism.
Let’s talk about it.
Legal Consequences of Plagiarism in Academia
There are laws and there are ethics. Plagiarism lies somewhere between them. Plagiarism not only is considered a moral dishonesty but also a legal violation. The academic institution has defined legal rules and regulations that apply to the people who commit plagiarism.
The legal consequences of plagiarism vary from region to region but some of the common ones are as follows:
- The academic institution has placed copyright laws in place in order to penalize people who commit plagiarism.
- Authors of the original work have a right to bring a lawsuit against you if you copy their work without consideration.
- If the case is severe, you might even face a prison sentence.
- People who use writing as their main source of income such as journalists, copywriters, etc., are very serious about plagiarism. They have deep knowledge of how to stop people from copying their work and what to do if someone does. These people take the help of the law to punish the suspects.
- You can be fined up to $50,000 and possibly a prison sentence if your plagiarism case is severe.
Having a knowledge of why and how plagiarism is considered an academic offense will help you know the consequences you might have to face if you commit it. But how can you know if you are committing plagiarism or not? Let’s find out.
Prevention and Detection of Plagiarism in Academia
Providing authentic information sources is an important part of academics. But you have to be careful while borrowing the ideas and information of other people. Otherwise, you might commit plagiarism.
To keep yourself away from the consequences that plagiarism can make you face, you can take the following precautions:
- You can improve your citation-providing method. Referencing the already published work related to a topic is an essential part of academics. But to perform it the right way, you have to provide proper citations of the sources.
- You can take the help of paraphrasing and quotation techniques to make your work unique and plagiarism free. These techniques are all about borrowing ideas from the original source and then describing it in your own wording.
- You cannot determine if your content is plagiarism free manually. You will have to use an online plagiarism checker free to do so. These tools scan your content and check for plagiarism in your content. By using them, you can identify the plagiarized parts of your content. You can discard or replace them accordingly.
- After you have made essential changes in your content, proofread it by tallying it with the original source to see if they are different enough to avoid plagiarism.
Academic institutes also apply different protocols to detect and prevent plagiarism. For example:
- They use plagiarism checker software to detect plagiarized content.
- They check plagiarism manually by taking the help of professors to proofread the received content to detect plagiarism.
- They match the previously published papers with new ones to detect plagiarism.
That’s pretty much it. Plagiarism is a serious ethical and legal offense that should be avoided in order to maintain the integrity of academia. It undermines the credibility and authenticity of the work and discourages people who produce original intellectual ideas. Plagiarism should be avoided in order to promote creative thinking and working.
You can avoid committing plagiarism by changing the wording and structure of your academic work. Moreover; you can take the help of online plagiarism checker tools to see if your content is plagiarism free or not.