Plagiarism can be said to be the process or practice where a researcher deliberately borrows research ideas from another source or person and presents those ideas and findings as their own. While there have been a number of debates, discussions, speculations, ideas and counter-ideas relating to the problems of Plagiarism, it is very much entrenched in the world of research, more so now with the internet revolution and innumerable sources at the disposal of the reader. While a number of anti-plagiarism software applications have been developed to check plagiarism, there are certain problems that are still waiting for a solution, as plagiarism from unpublished sources. This essay is an attempt to look into the problems of Plagiarism in Research and also to locate the gaps and find plausible solutions to them.
The two main forms of Plagiarism:
While Plagiarism is generally considered to be ideas fabricated from the findings of others, there is another form of Plagiarism that is known as ‘Self Plagiarism’, whereby the Researcher duplicates his/her own research findings and publishes them in various articles, journals or podiums, without proper citation. While this does not directly lead to treason, it results in gross violation of the idea of trust and faith and the agreement to the contract with any publishing podium that the work submitted by the individual has not been published anywhere before.
With regard to the Problems of Plagiarism, the following may be taken into consideration:
The main issue with plagiarism is that it violates the principle ethics of research and also leads to the production of duplicate and dubious works, which may at the end of the process also lose the main essence of the research idea. The idea of Plagiarism would include two components: the first would be the act of borrowing ideas, facts and findings and the other would be abstaining from mentioning the sources from where the ideas have been borrowed .
A number of works have been written on Plagiarism. They have highlighted the various problems associated with the idea of Plagiarism and duplicating research.
While it is easier to frame and detect plagiarism that has been borrowed from published works, one grave problem of Plagiarism is that connected with borrowing or even misappropriating works that have not been published. This is in fact one of the most common forms of plagiarism where a researcher appropriates ideas from fellow mates or acquaintances over non-recorded conversations or dialogues, which is almost impossible to prove in the absence of testimony or evidence.
Also different countries have formulated different laws in connection to Plagiarism in Research. One important law set to be considered is that which has been evolved in the United States of America.
“Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification,or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewingresearch, or in reporting research results” , according to the Federal Policy of Research misconduct. This would mean that Plagiarism is an aspect of research misconduct and is considered to be a serious offence in the field of research across different countries in the world.
- Anderson, Melisa S., and Stenech, Nicholas H., 2011, The Problem of Plagiarism, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA Research Ethics and Integrity Program, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
- Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Federal policy on research misconduct. Federal register 2000;65:
While it may not be possible to entirely get rid of Plagiarism, here are few probable solutions that the Research Community may try to focus upon when trying to solve the problems of Plagiarism:
First, with regard to borrowing facts and findings from others, newer and stricter laws can be made to prevent Researchers from adhering to Plagiarism from other sources. One solution is to issue licence to each researcher for publication, and if the researcher gets framed for more than a percentage of plagiarism in more than a certain number of works, his/her license for publication can be suspended for a certain period of time.
Another solution, with regard to both Plagiarism from outside sources and Self plagiarism is that the Researcher’s works should go through several stages of scrutiny and he/she should be subjected to the above mentioned suspension of license in case of being framed, along with serving a show cause to the authorities/boards in charge of the supervision of process of preventing Plagiarism.
#Swaswati Borkataki works as an Asst. prof. in the Royal Global University