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Monday, March 30, 2009

On Plagiarism...


I strongly against Plagiarism. Plagiarism is THEFT. In this blog, I challenge you to read "EACH and EVERY" post of mine. Spot any plagiarism WORK? No right?

Yes, I admit I "copied" in 2/3 of my blog. BUT most of them I practiced either "HARVARD REFERENCING" or "Declaring the Source I extracted from" I'd also ACKNOWLEDGE / Gave credit to ALL THE WORK which was NOT DONE BY ME. Of the 140+ posts, only 43 were "MY ORIGINAL WORK".

For your reading pleasure:

What is Plagiarism?

Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work, or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means

1. to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
2. to use (another's production) without crediting the source
3. to commit literary theft
4. to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.

But can words and ideas really be stolen?

According to U.S. law, the answer is yes. The expression of original ideas is considered intellectual property, and is protected by copyright laws, just like original inventions. Almost all forms of expression fall under copyright protection as long as they are recorded in some way (such as a book or a computer file).
All of the following are considered plagiarism:

* turning in someone else's work as your own
* copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
* failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
* giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
* changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
* copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism.



Here's a letter from THE STAR. Regarding Plagiarism:

Monday March 30, 2009
Let it be known that plagiarism is theft

I BELIEVE most academicians share the same apprehension and hope that were expressed in “Plagiarism among students worrying” (The Star, March 27).

The best way to instil good ethics in academic exercises, particularly in plagiarism, is to conduct a lecture on the issue as early as possible such as during the orientation of first year undergraduates besides stating the issues in handbooks.

The definition of plagiarism - how to avoid using quotations, citations and acknowledgements - should be explained clearly. A simple definition could be “Taking other people’s work and ideas without acknowledgment”.

Plagiarism in a broader perspective is not just cut and paste either from the Internet, printed resources or among fellow course mates, but also stealing people’s idea; and that is quite difficult to detect in an academic assessment.

Although there are software tools that can assist academics to check similarities of students’ work from online resources, such tools are not intelligent enough to detect similarities where ideas are concerned.

Once we have explained the issue to students at the early stage, we must enforce and penalise them accordingly, as a deterrent to others, In fact plagiarism is as bad as stealing.

Academicians who are the supervisors play the main role. They should encourage their students to submit their works early. This will enable supervisors to detect plagiarism much earlier and warn the students at the early research stage.

Unfortunately some academicians do not take the matter seriously in their own research or academic exercise let alone enforce it on their students. For example, they give talks or lectures using presentation slides without indicating the sources of materials derived from other people’s work.

Academicians should practice what they preach to be role models to their students.

Besides, with the emergence of the Internet, plagiarism in its simple definition should be explained as early as possible to pupils at primary schools. It was a surprise when my Year Five child did her portfolio on computer history within five minutes.

She said the teacher asked them to do a web search and print the material to be submitted as part of the portfolio on the use of computers in education.


George Town.

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