37.14 Plagiarism

Research involves using other people’s ideas and research to develop new conclusions, or confirm existing conclusion. All sources used when writing research should be acknowledged, otherwise you are committing plagiarism. The Macquarie Dictionary defines plagiarism as

the appropriation or imitation of another’s ideas and manner of expressing them, as in art, literature, etc., to be passed off as one’s own.

The Macquarie Dictionary: https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/

USC describes plagiarism in a university context this way:

Definition 37.1 (Plagiarism) Plagiarism occurs when a student uses—without acknowledging—the work of other people. In a sense, plagiarism is a form of intellectual theft in which ideas, words, information or images are taken without attribution. Plagiarism can be deliberate or accidental:

  • Deliberate—for instance, if a student intentionally copies the work of others and pretends it is their own work.
  • Accidental—for instance, if a student has poor notetaking skills or doesn’t know how to reference correctly, and they inadvertently present someone else’s ideas and words as their own.
(USC webpages)

The USC webpage continues:

… one of the best ways to avoid plagiarism is to know what it looks like. An illustrative demonstration of the common types of plagiarism is outlined in the Turnitin website.

Plagiarism is a serious offence: theft of intellectual property. Do not plagiarise:

  • Do not take parts of sentences or complete sentences directly from papers.
  • Use quotes if necessary and cite work (sparingly).
  • Plagiarism does not just apply to words and text. It also applies to images, ideas, etc.

Plagiarism can destroy people’s careers and affect the reputation and status of the University. Those caught plagiarising will be penalised. Penalties can range from having to resubmit assignments and being marked down, to failing that assignment, failing the course, or (in very serious cases) expulsion from university.

Example 37.5 (Plagiarism) The Indian Journal of Dermatology published an article discussing plagiarism, in an attempt to discourage it (Shamim 2014). Unfortunately, the article was retracted because parts of the article were plagiarised:

This article is being retracted as the manuscript has been found to be copied from […] the dissertation entitled ‘Developing a comprehensive guideline for overcoming and preventing plagiarism at the international level based on expert opinion with the Delphi method’ by Dr. Mehdi Mokhtari.

Example 37.6 (Plagiarism) Many examples of plagiarism in academia are given in Shahabuddin (2009).


Shahabuddin S. Plagiarism in academic. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. ERIC; 2009;21(3):353–9.
Shamim T. Development of a guideline to approach plagiarism in indian scenario. Indian Journal of Dermatology. Medknow Publications & Media Pvt. Ltd.; 2014;59(5):473.