Presentation on Plagiarism - QEC

Muhammad Taimur Khan
Director, Quality Enhancement Cell
University of Peshawar
To avoid plagiarism, let me make it clear at
the outset that this presentation is based
upon “ The Little Book on Plagiarism”
produced by Leeds Metropolitan
University, UK
Chambers Dictionary defines a plagiarist as “a
kind of thief-”one who steals the thoughts or
writings of others and gives them out as his
When this is also used in the University to
gain credits – then an additional dimension
of dishonesty is added. This is intellectual
According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, Plagiarism
is defined as “taking and using thoughts, writings and
inventions of another person as one’s own”
Within academia, plagiarism by students, professors or
researchers is considered academic dishonesty or
academic fraud and offenders are subject to academic
For professors and researchers, who are required to act as
role models for their students, plagiarism is a very
serious offence and is punishable.
Plagiarism takes many forms. These include but are not
limited to the following:
Copying from a single source
This is where a researcher ,be it a student or a teacher ,
uses one of the following as basis for copying as a whole
or a substantial part of it.
• a published /unpublished book
• a published /unpublished article
• the internet
This list is comprised of both published and unpublished
sources. Plagiarism, therefore, is not copying from
published sources only.
Unacceptable Excuses:
• A researcher would justify copying by saying that "The
book/article was cited in the bibliography. No – a
bibliography is a list of sources consulted not copied from.
• A student plagiarist would say that “ The book/article
was written by the instructor and he/she would expect to
find their work repeated in the assignment.
No – the instructor would/should expect several sources to
be read and used and would/should not be flattered to find
their own work simply copied out.
Copying from several sources
This is similar to copying from a single source, except that
more than one source is used. A researcher /student ,for
instance ,obtains 4 sources of information, and copies a
sentence or a group of sentences from A, then one from B, one
from C and one from D and so on.
This is an example of plagiarism where a researcher might
genuinely have thought that he/she was not doing any thing
wrong. The sources used might have been cited in the
bibliography, the organization of the material may well be the
researcher’s own.
However, this is still plagiarism. The reason being that the
words are not of the researcher. Rules of academic
presentation require that whenever a direct quote from a
source is used, this should be cited/referenced within the text.
Unacceptable Excuses
•The researcher would say that “ The sources in question
put it better than I could.” No. – you are expected to use
the sources constructively and demonstrate that you have
understood them and been able to use them effectively in
your work.
•I did use several sources and cited them.” No – you did not
use several sources, you copied from them, and did not
use inverted commas to show that it was their words and
not yours.
This is putting someone else’s views into your own words,
and this is one of the grey areas in plagiarism.
Unacceptable Excuses:
A. “I used my own words”. You may have – but if all you
have done is summarized someone else’s ideas then you
have still copied because you have made it appear as if
the ideas, arrangement of material etc. were your own.
B. “ I cited all the sources in the bibliography "Again, you
may have, but the issue is how you have used the works
cited, and simply to summarize the work of others
whether or not the works are in the bibliography is still
trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own.
Self Plagiarism
According to Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia, “the re-use
of significant, identical, or nearly identical portions of
one’ own work without acknowledging” is defined as self
Use of Quotations
• If you use the exact words of others these
should appear in quotation marks (“….”) and be
referenced by the book or article and the page
on which the quote appears.
• Try to use quotations only when the author has
expressed something so well and so succinctly
that you feel that the words can not be bettered.
If you do this, you will probably reduce the
number of quotations
Making Notes
During note taking it is possible to use the language of
your source. Try to be aware of this. To avoid it, try not to
make notes as you read, but read first, consider what the
author has said, and then make notes. If you do this, you
will copy less of the text.
Attribute the broad ideas or content to the author in
question. You will probably carry over some of their
language, but as long as you are making it clear which
sources you are using, and not attempting to pass it off as
your own work then you will avoid plagiarism.
Cite all Sources used
You should cite all the sources you have used. Always cite
any web sources used just as much as printed books or
Also it is not good practice to pad out a bibliography with
lots of titles which you have not read. A short list of wellused sources is much better than a long list of sources
which you have never looked at.
It is not always necessary to include a reference to
everything you say. If that were so, your work would be
more references than substance.
Plagiarism can be detected/suspected by reviewers/peers
while going through a research work who may be in doubt
about the originality of the research work submitted OR
action taken on the complaint lodged by a professional
rival about the originality of the work.
How to determine the amount of plagiarism
This can be done by counting the words copied from
original sources either:
• Manually
• Electronically
If the sources from where the researcher has copied are
known, it is simply counting the words copied manually
and converting the figure into percentage. This is referred
to as similarity/matching index.
Manual counting of words in a research work similar to
already published sources , however, is a cumbersome
process particularly in cases of a published book or theses.
There are now various and increasingly sophisticated
anti-plagiarism electronic aids/softwares to assist
reviewers who may be in doubt about the originality of
the research work.
Some of them are:
Institutional Software/Services
•iThenticate/ Turnitin (Web-based content search system)
• JISC Plagiarism (Advisory service)
• Moss (Measure of Software Similarity)- used in Software Engineering
company projects)
• MyDropBox (a suite of programmes for plagiarism prevention)
Individual Software/Services
• Essay Verification Engine-EVE2 (Software which checks text for
• Glatt (A software for detecting plagiarism in text)
• Plagiarism
Finder (Internet based MS Windows application)
• Google (Internet Search Engine)
HEC opts for iThenticate/Turnitin because:
• It is web based
•It requires no installation or maintenance of additional
•It has no compatibility issue between different
computers and operating systems
•It is quick and easy to operate
•It is a reliable and powerful way to verify the originality
of research works and manuscripts submitted for
publication instantly
A little bit of History of iThenticate...
iParadigms, the company behind iThenticate, got its start
in 1996, when a group of researchers at UC Berkeley
created a series of computer programs to monitor the
recycling of research papers in their large undergraduate
Encouraged by a high level of interest from their peers,
the researchers teamed with a group of teachers,
mathematicians, and computer scientists to form, the world's first internet-based plagiarism
detection service.
By late 1998, Plagiarism . org had become the center of
international media attention. The small organization
was featured in several major media venues, including
Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and the
New York Times.
In the six years since, and is now recognized around the
world as Turnitin and iThenticate, the internet's most
widely used and trusted resources for preventing the
spread of internet plagiarism.
• It considers a document in terms of pages.
• A page consists of 1000 words excluding the pictures and
• It takes documents in various formats i.e. DOC, PDF,
• It can also process multiple documents in ZIP format
The Software has a data bank of published works of 75
The software checks the submitted research work against
this data bank and gives results as similarity/matching
index (in %) i.e. how much the submitted document
matches the original sources.
It is up to the individual Institution to determine the
threshold percentage for declaring a research work
plagiarized or otherwise. The University of Peshawar has
decided to allow 15% similarity with original text, provided
the original sources are duly acknowledged within the
The HEC in its 13th meeting held in 2007, approved the
plagiarism policy under which various punitive measures
have been recommended to the faculty members guilty of
copying research work of others and publishing it as their
own .
The Policy has been circulated by HEC to all the
universities in Oct, 2007 for adoption and
implementation through their statutory bodies.
a. Penalties for Teachers, Researchers and Staff
Depending upon the seriousness of the proven
offence, the authority should take any one or a
combination of the following disciplinary action(s)
against teachers, researchers found guilty of
i. Major Penalty:
a. Dismissal from service – in cases where most of the
paper has been exactly copied without giving reference
to the original work
b. Black Listing- ineligible for employment in any
academic/research organization
c. Publicizing Black Listed- in print media
ii. Moderate Penalty
a. Demotion to the next lower grade- in cases where
some paragraphs including key results have been
copied without citation
b. Black Listing and publicizing them- in print media
and websites
iii. Minor Penalty
a. Warning – in case a few paragraphs have been
copied without citation
b. Freezing of all research grants
c. Stopping promotions/annual increments
d. Debar the offender from research funding, travel
grant etc.
b. Students