Plagiarism

From The Embassy of Good Science

Plagiarism

What is this about?

Plagiarism is a form of research misconduct. It is defined, by the European Code of Conduct, as “using other people’s work and ideas without giving proper credit to the original source, thus violating the rights of the original author(s) to their intellectual outputs.”. [1]

  1. European Science Foundation, All European Academies. The European code of conduct for research integrity. Revised edition: European Science Foundation; 2011.

Why is this important?

Plagiarism denies authors the credit for their work, but it also gives the perpetrator unfair advantage over peers in terms of publications, researcher evaluations and career progression. It particularly violates the principle of honesty which is integral to research integrity.[1] Plagiarism is often described as a type of research misconduct which should be prevented and sanctioned in research integrity codes of conduct, statements and declarations. The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity states that “Researchers should report to the appropriate authorities any suspected research misconduct, including fabrication, falsification or plagiarism, and other irresponsible research practices that undermine the trustworthiness of research”. [2] Clearly, plagiarism involves deception. However, some have argued, in terms of ‘scientific integrity’, it might be less serious than fabrication and falsification and even some of the less frequently sanctioned ‘questionable research practices’. [3] [4]

  1. European Science Foundation, All European Academies. The European code of conduct for research integrity. Revised edition: European Science Foundation; 2011.
  2. 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity. Singapore statement on research integrity. Available at: https://wcrif.org/guidance/singapore-statement. Accessed March 2019
  3. Shaw D. The quest for clarity in research integrity: A conceptual schema. Science and engineering ethics. 2018:1-9.
  4. Grieneisen ML, Zhang M (2012) A Comprehensive Survey of Retracted Articles from the Scholarly Literature. PLoS ONE 7(10): e44118. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0044118

For whom is this important?

What are the best practices?

Detection

Educators are increasingly checking student essays and theses using plagiarism check software.

Publishers can also use similar software to undertake similarity checks on submitted manuscripts against published work and archived submissions. Springer has dedicated a page on the prevention of plagiarism.

There are, however, currently no known initiatives for funders to check plagiarism in funding applications.

Other information

Virtues & Values
Good Practices & Misconduct