Preventing suspicion of plagiarism

Published on
March 23, 2005

The article 'Docent kan plagiaat aantonen' - 'Tutor able to detect plagiarism' (WB 7th volume, no. 03) stated that tutors at Wageningen Univesity had access to Ephorus, an aid able to detect a plagiarised text or idea (intellectual rights) of others. Some deliberately dishonest students will have been deeply shocked by this disclosure, but innocent students could also be confronted with unpleasant surprises. With so many digital sources available, plagiarism is not always done consciously. We are all aware of the painful borderline cases where authors are discredited even though they were unaware of any plagiarism. Copying one line or paragraph is easily done. Quoting work done by others requires considerable discipline when writing an article. Our experience in the Library is that not all students are aware of the rules in the fields of quoting and copyrights. With this in mind we are including a special module within the Information Literacy Course.
Five tips from this module for preventing (innocent) plagiarism:

  1. Use your own ideas
  2. Use the ideas of others only to give more authority to your own ideas
  3. Always include complete references in anything you write
  4. Use inverted commas around all quoted passages
  5. Never use notes when considering your own arguments. This will prevent you from becoming too dependent on other sources.

(source: Eduweb course Information Literacy)

(newsletter 3-2005)