In the fifth grade my teacher took us on a field trip to the local library. The reasoning for the trip was to help us prepare for the papers to come in middle school and beyond. The librarian showed us how to do proper research using databases, how to create a bibliography, and ended the presentation discussing plagiarism. The presentation went from fun and informative to downright scary. The librarian discussed the ramifications of plagiarism in such a way that you would not wish it upon your worst enemy.
Plagiarism has since been a constant phenomenon in my life. In high school it was a surefire way to fail an exam – or worse, a class. At the university level plagiarism is grounds for expulsion. While plagiarism is somewhat expected in academia, it is important to recognize its prevalence in the workplace.
Plagiarism is not limited to individuals; companies have been known to commit the act as well. A recent example of this involves OMICS, an Indian publishing company. OMICS is known as a predatory publisher – accepting and publishing incomplete work and findings in exchange for a publication fee. Journalist Tom Spears recently submitted an entirely fabricated paper to OMICS as an experiment to test their reviewing process. OMICS not only approved Spear’s work, but also commented that the paper adds “useful insights in philosophy” (which makes sense considering Spears mostly plagiarized Aristotle). This example shows that even reliable sources can be affected by plagiarism and poor ethics.