Finders, Keepers: Plagiarism in the Work of a Scientist

Finders, Keepers: Plagiarism in the Work of a Scientist

That’s when the door slams shut, the blindfold is tied…

and the capture is complete.

In an criminal context, this is a kidnapping.

In science and academics, it’s plagiarism.

The root word of plagiarism is the Greek word, “plagium.”

Definition: “The capturing of a man.”


Plagiarism is the use of another individual’s information and claiming it as one’s own, which affects the credibility of the information involved in the essay or published work. In the work of a scientist, this proves to be especially relevant. The purpose of a study from a scientist’s perspective is to publish relevant information on a topic in attempt to prove or disprove previous theories published by scientists of the past.

According to Federal U.S. Law, the act of plagiarism is act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own considered intellectual property, and can appear in many different forms.

Publications of a scientist require original work to be published in adequate time; if not, the supposedly up-to-date work can become a great problem if the facts do not match the reality. A scientist’s work is based heavily in theory, and because of this, the misrepresentation of data can create conclusions that are inaccurate and may be harmful to those affected.

When plagiarized work is attributed to a source that is not original, the truth and credibility associated with the study is blurred and cannot be accepted when the facts appear. The theories that had been previously considered true become compromised, especially in breakthrough studies, due the inconsistency of data.


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