Internet plagiarism

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What is plagiarism?'

Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work, or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense: According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to “plagiarize” means... READ MORE

Education tips on plagiarism prevention

The most important steps in preventing plagiarism are those taken to address its causes. The strategies in this section are intended as guidelines to help you: 1) become aware of the reasons plagiarism occurs; 2) identify the different forms of plagiarism; 3) integrate plagiarism prevention techniques into your courses... READ MORE

Types of plagiarism Anyone who has written or graded a paper knows that plagiarism is not always a black and white issue. The boundary between plagiarism and research is often unclear. Learning to recognize the various forms of plagiarism, especially the more ambiguous ones, is an important step towards... READ MORE

Plagiarism FAQ

Plagiarism in the information age is not always a cut and dry issue. Read on to find answers for frequently asked questions about plagiarism and its consequences. What is plagiarism? Simply put, plagiarism is the use of another's original words or ideas as though they were your own... READ MORE

How do I cite sources?

This depends on what type of work you are writing, how you are using the borrowed material, and the expectations of your instructor. First, you have to think about how you want to identify your sources. If your sources are very important to your ideas, you should mention ... READ MORE

What is citation?

A "citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including: information about the author, the title of the work, the name and location of the company that published your copy of the... READ MORE

Facts About Plagiarism

Here are some recent findings regarding plagiarism:

A study by The Center for Academic Integrity found that almost 80% of college students admit to cheating at least once.

According to a survey by the Psychological Record 36% of undergraduates have admitted to plagiarizing written material.

A poll conducted by US News and World Reports found that 90% of students believe that cheaters are either never caught or have never been appropriately disciplined. RESOURCES


previous article: Preventing plagiarism... next article: Printable handouts

Plagiarism and the internet

Plagiarism has never been easier than it is today. Before the internet, cheating was labor-intensive and obvious. Potential plagiarists had to find appropriate works from a limited pool of resources, usually a nearby library, and copy them by hand. Since these resources were almost always professionally written, the risk of detection was very high.

The Internet now makes it easy to find thousands of relevant sources in seconds, and in the space of a few minutes plagiarists can find, copy, and paste together an entire term paper or essay. Because much of the material online is produced by other students, it is often difficult or impossible for educators to identify plagiarism based on expectations of student-level work.

Even when an instructor does suspect plagiarism, the sheer size of the internet seems to work in the plagiarist's favor. Search engines can be useful for tracking down suspect passages, but even they have their limitations, given the number, variety, and password-protected nature of many websites. Even where search engines do prove useful, manually searching the internet for matches of hundreds of student papers can be a formidable task.

Additionally, the seemingly "public" nature of online content blurs the distinction between publicly and privately owned information. Electronic resources, by nature easily reproducible, are not perceived as "intellectual property" in the same way that their material counterparts are. Just as file transfer programs such as Napster make it easy to trade copyrighted music files most people would never think to steal in physical form, the internet makes plagiarism easy for students who might have thought twice about copying from a book or published article.

Perhaps the greatest resources for would-be plagiarists are the hundreds of online paper-mills, or "cheatsites", that exist solely for the purpose of providing students with quick-fix homework and term-paper solutions. Many of these services contain hundreds of thousands of papers on a wide variety of topics, and some even offer customized papers for an additional fee. The fact that many of these sites have become profitable ventures (complete with paid advertising!) only attests to the unfortunate truth that plagiarism has become a booming industry.

Turnitin created The Learning Center because we believe preemptive education is the most effective way to prevent plagiarism. We also know some students will plagiarize regardless. If you are an educator and have used plagiarism education preemptively in your classroom, but still suspect many of your students are plagiarizing, automated plagiarism detection can be an enormously effective deterrent. Click here if you would like to find out more about Turnitin's plagiarism prevention system and other online learning tools Home World News Latest Articles Escape Hatch Topics Free eCards Endless Buzz

Internet Plagiarism

Even though plagiarism is illegal today, it was considered to be an art in the ancient times. The word 'Plagiarism' is derived from the Latin word 'plagiarius', which was itself plagiarized from a Greek word 'plagion', which means to kidnap, steal or abduct someone or something. With the advent of Internet, plagiarism has become quite easy and cost-effective for those people who wish to get things done by short-cut methods. Thus, the first question that comes to one's mind is, how is Internet plagiarism different from other forms of plagiarism. Internet plagiarism refers to copying ideas, information and materials for academic or other purposes from different websites, with or without rephrasing the sentences. The information available on the website is covered under copyright law. In case, an Internet user utilizes the information or an idea and gives due credit to the author, website or a source, then it is not considered as plagiarism. Internet plagiarism is rapidly becoming a subject of concern for many educators, research scientists, strategists, writers and professors all over the world.

These days, students are highly ambitious and have a zeal to be successful in their life. Some have developed a false belief that their own skills are inadequate and whatever they download from the net is of good quality, while for some it's a passion. Students may feign ignorance, that they are not aware that they are plagiarizing content. Since the information is readily available on the Internet, they forget to differentiate between common knowledge and original ideas that are intellectual property of others. Another cause for the prevalence of the 'cut and paste' mentality among students could be laziness. Postponing the work till the deadline arrives is also another reason why plagiarism flourishes. Even culture has its role to play, as some people in certain sections of society feel that the use of known work is a sign of being educated.

Many organizations all over the world are developing 'originality' checking tools to detect plagiarism or have already developed good softwares and websites as tools. Originality matters a lot and its importance is going to constantly increase with overlapping, intricate and complex


Before the arrival of the Internet, copying content or information required a lot of effort. First, the person had to find appropriate and beneficial piece of work from limited channels and resources. The geographical location of the person made it difficult to have access to all the available resources, as all the books were not available in every library; while the number of libraries was even less. The person had to visit a nearby library, search for the appropriate material and then write down all the required information. The possibility of detection of plagiarism was also maximum as these resources were well-documented and professionally written.

Now, things have become quite easy and efficient for students who gloat on instant praise. Thousands of articles and data are available with the help of Internet search engines within few seconds. The individual who plagiarizes knows how to use the computer, word processing tools, Internet and search engine tools. Search engines are helpful in tracking the source of the data, but have their own limitations and an individual can manipulate certain keywords, which makes the tracking of plagiarism difficult. Internet being robust, makes it difficult for others to detect the plagiarized content.

Plagiarism may help an individual up to a certain level; but to be successful, he needs to be creative and hard working. This habit of plagiarizing may take him in a wrong direction and he would only earn dubious distinction. People should be educated through seminars and formal campaigns on this subject. A chapter on plagiarism needs to be included in different disciplines of education like arts, medical science, engineering, etc. Above all, an individual should be inculcated with proper knowledge on plagiarism, thus enhancing and nurturing the quality of

creative work.

ACT Against Violence APA Education Advocacy Trust APA Style Practice Central Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program X About APAPsychology TopicsPublicationsPsychology Help CenterNews & EventsResearchEducationCareersMembershipSEARCH IN Monitor Entire Site E-MAILPRINTHome » Monitor on Psychology » February 2002 » Keeping plagiarism at bay in the ... Emporia State University's psychology department used to see just one or two plagiarism cases a year. But with the advent of Internet "paper mills"--sites that sell student-written papers to other students--it now handles as many as 20 annually.

What's happening there reflects a national problem of Internet-fueled plagiarism, says professor emeritus Stephen Davis, PhD, who recently retired from Emporia but still conducts research on academic dishonesty. The department has tried tackling the trend with a rule that students caught plagiarizing receive automatic F's.

But at many other psychology departments, disciplinary procedures aren't as clear-cut, if they exist at all. And, adding to the difficulties of prosecuting students is the fact that definitions of plagiarism differ across and within departments, allowing students wiggle room and making it tempting for faculty to ignore potential problems, says Jane Halonen, PhD, director of the School of Psychology at James Madison University. "It's demoralizing to think that students might be taking advantage of you, and it's awful to feel like a detective," says Halonen. "It's a part of being a faculty member that people don't enjoy."

Yet the uncomfortable fact remains that plagiarism rates are high, and they appear to be rising. Davis's studies peg rates of academic dishonesty at 40 to 60 percent at larger universities. And roughly 70 percent of professors handle at least one plagiarism case a year, according to the Center for Academic Integrity.

What can be done to quell the tide? Given the problems with prosecution, some psychology faculty are finding that the best offense is a good defense.

More are turning to such preventative methods as setting clear definitions and policies, making students more accountable for their sources, and warning that they will check students' work with new computer and Internet programs (see Technological tools to detect dishonesty) as well as with old-fashioned detection methods. In the end, quashing plagiarism is up to each individual professor, says psychology professor and plagiarism researcher Miguel Roig, PhD, of St. John's University. "You've simply got to make plagiarism as hard to pull off as possible."

What is plagiarism?

When it comes to specifics, definitions of plagiarism vary, even over something as simple as how many sequential words must be lifted from an original text before being considered plagiarism.

For some people, it is as few as three words. For others, such as Frostburg State University psychology professor Chrismarie Baxter, PhD, it is five. The important thing is to pick your operational definition and stick to it in marking students' work, she says. Also key, she says, is watching for the "softer" forms of plagiarism--a particularly common one is copying and citing text from an original document, but failing to put it in quotes.

Halonen sorts through the confusion by thinking of plagiarism as occurring on a continuum. On one end are the students who do it inadvertently--what she calls the "benign" form. On the other end are those who do it knowingly with the goal of "outfoxing the teacher"--the "malign" form. In between are those who do it somewhat by accident or out of sloppiness.

In her view, the "malign" kind has become ever easier with the ready availability of papers on the Internet. "Students just grab it, download it and they're across the finish line," Halonen says. "They don't think about the ownership and quality issues."

Particularly problematic is the fact that Internet papers are typically written by other students, making Internet plagiarism harder to detect. As a result, it's more important than ever that plagiarism be difficult to pull off in the first place, says Halonen.

How can you fight it?

After struggling with such dishonesty for years, Halonen and other psychology faculty suggest specific steps professors can take to keep plagiarism at bay:

  • Clear up the confusion. Explain to students up-front what plagiarism is, in all its forms, to prevent students from doing it inadvertently, say Halonen and Davis. Students also need to know that plagiarism is cheating and that it's wrong, says Davis. "There's a new ethic that runs, 'If I buy this paper it's my property, and I am turning in my property to the professor,'" he says. "Students need to be set straight on that."

Davis also suggests giving students the philosophical background that cheating is unfair to one's peers, and ultimately, to oneself: "Some students say cheating in high school is for grades and in college it's for their career," says Davis. "You need to point out, if they haven't learned anything, what types of jobs will they be able to hold?"

As for more accidental forms of plagiarism, the best inoculation is simply giving students more guidance, says Perilou Goddard, PhD, who teaches a psychology of writing course at Northern Kentucky University. "Students often don't realize that it kind of glows in the dark when they don't paraphrase," Goddard says. She advises walking students through APA style on citation (see pages 348-349 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association) and teaching them to paraphrase from articles in their notes, so they don't repeat exact phrases.

Set rules. Spell out what happens when students plagiarize, suggests Frostburg State's Baxter. Professors might even wish to establish different consequences to fit plagiarism's different forms, she says. Or they may favor a simple, flat penalty, as used by Roig at St. John's University. In his classes, students get an automatic F if they plagiarize--often enough to make them fail the course. Also, in an effort to prevent students from using Internet paper mills, Roig forbids them to use the Web in their research.

Ask that students highlight cited text. Yet another way to pre-empt plagiarism is requiring students to submit all the articles used for a paper--with the sections they've cited clearly marked. The method is especially helpful when students cite material from obscure sources, says Roig. Limit the sources students use. Professors can also direct students to specific sources for their papers, making it easier to tell when students "lift" material. For example, Baxter assigns her students a paper on sex differences in book-carrying behavior--a topic covered by limited research articles that Baxter knows well. Baxter gathers the articles and puts them on reserve for her students in the library. Professors wishing to give students more latitude might let them find the articles themselves. Assign phased papers. Another strategy is requiring students to write just one paper over the course of a semester and having them submit the papers in stages, from the initial outline through several drafts. This way, a professor can catch students' citation problems and help them correct the problems in subsequent drafts, says Barbara Nodine, PhD, writing expert and psychology chair at Arcadia University (formerly Beaver College). "The goal here is teaching students authorship--how to take ideas and make them your own," says Nodine. By doing so, professors support students' development, rather than policing them, she says. Check students' work. If students know you check, they're less likely to cheat, says Roig. He, for example, requires students to submit their papers electronically, so that he can run an electronic plagiarism-detection program on them. The type he uses checks scanned-in original papers against students' papers, looking for duplicate strings of six consecutive words. More comprehensive detection programs that check students' papers against extensive databanks of original papers are available on the Internet. The old-fashioned alternative, says Halonen, is the Cloze procedure, in which a professor types up a suspicious passage from a student's paper, leaving a blank for every fifth word. The professor then meets with the student and asks him or her to fill in the blanks. "If the student can't at least give you the meaning, it means it's gone straight from their eyes to their fingertips without going to their brains," says Halonen. "They haven't grasped the idea that when we're teaching them writing, we're teaching them thinking." Article Sidebar

Internet Plagiarism:

Since Internet plagiarism has become an increasing concern for educators, strategies to deter this latest form of academic misconduct must be developed. After reexamining the university's existing policy on plagiarism, educators must implement proactive approaches in the teaching and prevention of such behavior. Such activities should include critically evaluating web sites for instructional purposes, teaching students about electronic citation, limiting or directing the use of Internet resources for assignments, and creating a systematic program that addresses the importance of citing references. To assist with this instruction, there are many web sites that provide models of policies, citation guides, and suggestions to deter plagiarism. Some sites even offer sample lessons for instructors to use in their own curriculum. In turn, it is the responsibility of all educators to teach and train students about the ethics of research and scholars

Internet Plagiarism:

As more students use the Internet for research, the temptation to plagiarize has greatly increased. Students can refer to any search engine, type in the keywords associated with a topic, and in a matter of seconds, retrieve a number of web sites that offer full text information ready to be copied. Sites such as and Term papers-on-file offer an open forum for academic misconduct. Instructors who are confronted with Internet plagiarism often face the burden of trying to locate the evidence as proof that cheating has occurred. Unlike most traditional information resources, the Internet is difficult to search. URLs change daily, information is updated and revised, and some sites disappear altogether. For this reason, strategies must be developed to deter this new form of academic misconduct.

Before we teach our students about plagiarism, it is important to ask the following questions: Is there a written policy distributed to students on academic misconduct? Do students have a clear understanding of what constitutes academic misconduct? What are the procedures by which incidents of plagiarism are handled? Are students permitted to revise their work or are they expelled? Even though most universities have established policies to respond to plagiarism, some instructors do not take time to review this material with their students. Many do not even practice consistency in enforcing these policies. And finally, in most cases, teaching students about plagiarism becomes the sole responsibility of the English Department.

Since plagiarism can occur in any classroom, it is pertinent that all instructors review the existing policy on plagiarism at the beginning of each new term, even if the course they teach is not writing intensive. University policy should first define plagiarism and then offer an explanation on the types of offenses that can be considered forms of academic misconduct. This policy should also include examples of plagiarism paralleled with the corrected forms of citation and a description of the procedures toward resolving incidents of misconduct. Rebecca Moore Howard proposes a model policy in which she includes the following explanation of plagiarism: An important requirement of most academic writing is acknowledging one's sources. We all work from sources, even when we are being creative. American academic culture demands that writers who use the exact words of a source supply quotation marks at the beginning and end of the quotation, so that the reader can know where the voice of the source begins and ends. In addition, the writer must use footnotes, parenthetical notes, or endnotes to cite the source, so that the reader can consult that source if he or she chooses. Writers must acknowledge the sources not only of words, but also of ideas, insofar as is possible, even when they are not quoting word for word. Moreover, in final-draft writing, academic writers may not paraphrase a source by using its phrases or sentences, with a few changes in grammar or word choice--even when the source is cited begins and ends. (799) Other examples of plagiarism policies can be found on the Internet. Most university web pages include sections that outline the school's response to academic misconduct. In addition, sites such as Plagiarism on the Internet, the Instructor's Guide to Plagiarism on The Internet, the University of Michigan's Library's Plagiarism page offer sample lessons and articles on plagiarism for instructors to use in their classes. All of these sites provide suggestions on how to identify Internet plagiarism and list links for term paper files.

After establishing a clear understanding of university policy on plagiarism, instructors should review the Internet to investigate the scope of material on the topics they will assign students to research. Instructors who take time to review this material will be more inclined to identify information that has been plagiarized. In addition, we need to teach our students how to evaluate web sites more critically. All too often, the material we believe students have misquoted is actually presented on the web page as the original source. Furthermore, most web pages do not contain citation information we use in traditional sources. Web documents have no page numbers, and in many cases list no author or publication date. Often the content of a web page may be entirely transcribed from another source without proper citation. One quick review of the Internet demonstrates evidence of several examples of this practice. As a result, students may innocently misquote information because they did not know the content on the web page was plagiarized. Most students who are beginning researchers simply do not possess the background or knowledge of primary references to make critical assessments of information. Hence, it is our duty to determine the level of our students' research skills before expecting them to assess the validity of other


Once students retrieve information, it is important that we teach them how to cite their references. Although most instructors know how to cite information obtained from print sources, many do not know the procedure for citing electronic sources. If we ourselves do not know how to cite electronic references, then how can we expect our students to do the same? One useful guide instructors can use is Xia Li and Nancy Crane's Guide to Citing Electronic Resources. Excerpts of this guide can be found on a number of web pages, and several sites include examples of electronic citation for students to use. Both the MLA Handbook and APA Manual have web pages that identify the correct citation style for both traditional sources and electronic information. Even the print versions of these manuals include sections devoted to citing electronic materials.

After we teach our students how to cite references, we can lessen the temptation to plagiarize in the way we organize our assignments. One way to reduce Internet plagiarism involves directing and limiting our students' use of the Internet for reference materials. Although we cannot and should not prevent our students from using the Internet, we can pre-select the sources students will use in a given assignment. At the Kent State University Geauga Campus, several instructors place specific items on reserve for student research and provide students with a list of required web sites to examine. Although this procedure may appear restrictive, students learn how to use specific reference materials and compare ways in which their classmates incorporated the same sources into their assignment. By using the identical reference materials, students share the same knowledge which enables them to identify errors in misquoting and paraphrasing. Comparing the use of identical material can be used prior to a more extensive research assignment as a preliminary exercise to teach students how to recognize errors in quoting references.

Another activity that helps students develop their paraphrasing skills is to require them to write summaries without the text in front of them. Instructors can give the students short excerpts of Internet passages to read and summarize. As students read one another's summaries, they can determine whether "patchwriting" has occurred. If it appears that a summary matches the content of the article too closely, then students can be instructed on how to quote a paraphrased passage. For additional practice, students can locate and summarize web sites on their own, but more importantly, they can be asked to critically assess whether these pages are legitimate references. This practice will develop the students' evaluative skills and begin to engage them in the process of systematic thinking that is a skill necessary for the review of research materials.

To illustrate this model, English instructors at the Kent State University Geauga Campus provide a list of the novels, short stories, and other materials on which their students will have to write papers. The library staff then bookmarks all related web sites and gives copies of the links to the instructors. Instructors then have the opportunity to peruse the sites to familiarize themselves with their content. Thus, instructors have immediate access to most of the sources their students may use from the Internet. Since students are aware of this practice, most reconsider plans of plagiarizing with Internet resources.

In addition to bookmarking web sites, the library staff also reiterates the university's policy on plagiarism during bibliographic instruction sessions. Students are given guides on citing electronic references and examples are available in the library. In all English classes, students are required to photocopy and identify the source from which a quotation is taken. These photocopies are then included with the final paper for review. Although some instructors may not wish to burden themselves with this practice, we have found that students document their sources much more carefully when they know that the instructor will examine the original quotation. Furthermore, the art of "patchwriting," a situation in which a student "copies from a source, deleting some words, altering grammatical structures, or plugging in one for one synonym substitutes," decreases immensely (Howard 233). Requiring students to photocopy their sources also enables instructors to evaluate how students selected quotations to support arguments. It is much easier to identify a misquote when the actual source is available for review. Instructors can examine the original context of the quote to teach the students how to apply the quote more effectively. During the research, students are also encouraged to locate additional sites for review. Since it is inevitable that students will navigate the Internet, we allow them to present the material they wish to use to their classmate critics who will either accept or reject the reference as a valid source of information.

If we take the time to instruct our students about the ethics of research and scholarship, chances are, we will have less "accidental" cases of plagiarism. In most situations, plagiarism occurs as a result of ignorance. We cannot assume that our students understand what is expected of them, and so it is important that we reiterate the virtue of academic honesty each time we assign a research project. Students need to understand the significance of ownership in terms of their own written material. Once this concept is mastered, students learn that in their own writing, they possess ownership for a body of work. In turn, they come to understand the meaning of respect for intellectual property because they themselves have participated in its creation.

Stop Internet Plagiarism

In this new and expanding world called the Internet, there are vast resources to behold. Women and men are putting forth tremendous effort and talent to forge a new frontier. Although the Internet is new, the same rules of the jungle apply. When a person creates an original graphic, or writes a piece of poetry and puts it on their site - they don't want it snatched and grabbed and used on another site. Without written permission from the original author/artist - it is stealing. But what is internet plagiarism? Plagiarism in as it applies to anything is a form of stealing. It is when a person has a site on the WWW, willingly and knowingly uses, without permission from the original owner, graphics or written words — regardless if they generate revenue from their website or not. In this case, I am referring specifically to internet plagiarism - and also to specific topics. Since the majority of people in the private sector have relatively simple websites, the two topics below are the most commonly plagiarized - and are the sole focus here.

Graphics - a graphic created from scratch or *re-worked significantly (*taken from a ROYALTY FREE clipart package, and re-designed into something that looks substantially different than it's original form). This could include backgrounds, icons, dividers, WordArt, site logos, an award you give, your organization logo, etc. Read an incident from a very new, inexperienced webmaster and the trouble you can make for yourself if you act in haste.