Plagiarism in a nutshell is the copying or stealing of another authors work or ideas. However it’s not as simple as say, just copying the odd page or few lines from someone else. In fact plagiarism covers many issues. There is currently no defined UK law on plagiarism itself unless it somehow infringes a copyright law which is a different issue.
Plagarism can affect anyone who works in any sort of media that can be copied. This includes journalists, authors, photographers, students, and anyone who makes videos.
Back in the old days before the internet, plagarism was limited to copying written work, such as school essays, or journalism articles and it was quite hard to detect without a very keen eye. If you remember being at school and one of your (not so clever) friends copying your English project, well these days that would be classed as plagarism and could get you both in a whole lot of trouble with the headteacher.
These days thanks to the internet it’s a little bit easier to find out if your work has been copied or stolen. There are various online plagiarism checkers such as Scribbr which can check for comparisons online to others. These tools come in very useful for students and coursework. They even offer writing tips, such as how to use an apa citation.
Adding the odd few sentences of someone else’s work to your own isn’t always deemed wrong. However if you are going to this then it’s important that you quote the work and add its source to your own work to avoid any trouble.
Types of Plagarism
Plagarism falls into many different types. Each one amounts to the same thing and that is taking someone else’s work (including your own) and passing it off as yours and your new ideas.
1) Complete plagarism – This is the worst and most obvious type. It involves taking someone else’s complete works (e.g essay, coursework) and passing it off as your own. For example – a student copying a friends work or an article from a magazine. This can also include having someone else write your work for you, such as students being paid to write essays and coursework for another.
2) Direct plagarism – This is very similar to complete plagarism but involves copying sections of someone else’s work, (without including quotation marks or sources)rather than the whole thing and passing it off as your own.
3) Self Plagarism – This type involves reusing parts of your own work and publishing it as new . This is more likely to occur in journalism rather than schools or with students.
4) Source based plagarism – This involves a publisher referencing incorrect sources of where they got there information. For example listing a totally different website as a source instead of the one you actually looked at for the information. This is usually done to increase the traffic to the mentioned website and this diverting traffic away from the actual source of information.
5) Paraphrasing Plagarism – This one involves taking phrases from someone else’s works and changing synonyms to make it look like their own. The meaning and the language of the stolen phrase remains the same. This type of plagarism is one of the most difficult to detect.
6) Data Fabrication – If an author makes up research findings of important accurate data in their work then this is classed as fabrication and can have a severe impact if used as actual facts.
7) Inaccurate Authorship – As the name states – it’s when an author does not get the proper credit for their work. It also involves others getting credit without contributions.
Penalties for plagarism depend on the type and whether it was purposely done or accidental and of course in what setting it occurred. Students can face tough penalties when it comes to copied homework, coursework or exams including having to write the whole thing again or being thrown off their chosen course. Penalties for journalists and bloggers also occur. Google will pick up on duplicate online content and this can cause your page rank and metrics to drop significantly which is bad news if you own a website.
Therefore you should always try to avoid copying anyone else’s work. However if you really need to copy then it’s important to include quotation marks and to accurately include the source where the work came from.