CONCEPT OF PLAGIARISM
Abhilasha Semwal, Assistant Professor, JIMS Engineering Management Technical Campus, School of Law, Greater Noida
In view of lot of people plagiarism is understood as copying another's work or borrowing someone else's original ideas and then presenting them as their own. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" disguise the seriousness of the offence. "Plagiarize” means to steal and pass off the ideas or words of another as one's own. It means to use another person’s production without crediting the source and present it as new and original idea or product. In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward by presenting it as one’s own creation. Plagiarism is derived from the Latin word “Plagiarius” literally meaning kidnapping, to denote stealing someone else’s work. Plagiarism can also be termed as a “wrongful appropriation” and stealing and publication of any other author’s ideas, thought, expressions and then to represent them as their own original work. The modern concept of plagiarism emerged in Europe only in the 18th century.
On the basis of the degree to which copying has been done, there can be different types of plagiarism. For example- ‘The Ghost Writer’ in which the writers copies word by word of the original author and then represents it as his own piece. ‘The Photocopy’ here the writer copies some important portion from the original work without doing any alteration and presents it as his own. ‘The Potluck Paper’ in which the writer tries to copy important things from different sources, altering a few sentences and paragraphs. ‘Self-Stealer’, here the writer borrows from his own previous work. Sometimes it so happens that the writer has never read an article but still is made liable for plagiarism unknowingly. It so happens that two people may end up writing on the same topic and the odds can be that they both may convey the same ideas and expression. In such cases we actually cannot hold either of two liable for plagiarism.
There is a vast gap between plagiarism and copyright protection. Copyright Act makes a clear distinction between an “expression “and an “idea”. An expression is something which is protected by law against copying whereas idea does not avails any such cover.
Just changing a few words here and there from an original source does not qualify as paraphrasing as this is plagiarizing. Paraphrasing happens when there is some significant changes in the style and voice of original while retaining the essential ideas. In an easier language plagiarism can be called as a combination of stealing and lying.
When it comes to the assessment about who plagiarizes, it actually gets very difficult to tell. A study says that up to 90% students plagiarize in some universities and various tools are available to help in detecting plagiarism in a work, for example there is JISC Plagiarism Advisory Services which is an online service and is available free of cost.
The important question we here have to answer is the how do we prevent Plagiarism?
At student’s level, it is the duty and moral obligation of student writing that he does not copy from other sources. He should consult his instructor or mentor for any clarification or confusions in the topic. The students should plan there paper properly and draw a line between one’s own ideas and other ideas. Students must also focus on taking proper notes which help in prevention of any misquotations and wrong citation. Students can also write a short version of his paper in thirty minutes to have his own ideas clear in his mind. Institutions can play important role on preventing plagiarism by laying down the policies and rules for the students and others. Such rules should be explained in a clear manner to all students’ writing papers, dissertation, etc.
As far as the penalties are concerned it can be ranging from failure of classes and expulsion from academic institutions to very heavy fines and also jail in some severe cases.