Plagiarism- A Dual Robbery

 

Plagiarism- A Dual Robbery

Plagiarism– “the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person”- Merriam-Webster.

I’ve always wondered what motivates people to take the low road of plagiarism.  Do they not have the ability to form their own ideas?  Do they not understand the topic and therefore prefer to use the understanding of someone else?  Are they just lazy?  Do they not understand the consequences to themselves and the people they are robbing?

I spoke to a colleague a few weeks past about plagiarism, and she brought up the subject of self-plagiarism.  This is a concept I’ve heard in passing but never actually thought about or researched.  Self-plagiarism occurs when authors “reuse their own previously disseminated content and pass it off as a “new” product without letting the reader know” (ORI).  According to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) doesn’t consider self-plagiarism as misconduct.  After all, how can you steal from yourself (ORI)?

The credibility and quality of scientists and researchers is often judged by the number of publications he/she has (Dorigo).  If you plagiarize another scientists work, you steal that credibility.  But, if you self-plagiarize, and build up your number of publications who does it hurt?  It hurts the reader, the person seeking to gain new insights (ORI).  It hurts you by stunting your growth.  It undermines colleagues in the field, they do put in the time and effort.  It is questionable if you have earned your credibility and achieved quality as a scientist if you copy your own work rather than cite and build upon it.

I believe plagiarism of others or self is harmful not only to the original author, but the person plagiarizing.  You cannot grow, learn, and become more by copying others.  You rob yourself of opportunity when you self-plagiarize by not challenging yourself to research and gain knowledge.  When you plagiarize others, you are taking away the the value of expanding knowledge with new information and insights.  Plagiarizing another’s work is a dual robbery of them and self.  Plagiarizing yourself is a dual robbery of self and your audience.

Cites:

Dorigo, T. (2015, March 31). Fighting Plagiarism In Scientific Papers. Retrieved from http://www.science20.com/a_quantum_diaries_survivor/fighting_plagiarism_in_scientific_papers-154460

ECFR — Code of Federal Regulations. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=0f3847d91381a6998a52d451d3a21311&mc=true&node=pt42.1.93&rgn=div5

Plagiarism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarism

Self Plagiarism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ori.hhs.gov/plagiarism-13

 

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