Plagiarism is not something new. It has always been around and for the most part, it has remained as a moral issue rather than a legal one. In many different countries committing plagiarism is not considered illegal unless it results in copyright infringement. India is one such country. But that does not mean it is ok to commit plagiarism as long as you do not infringe on copyrights.
Today we are going to look at what kinds of plagiarism exist, and how they are penalized in an academic setting. Why academic? Because unfortunately, students are by far the largest offenders. The main reason is that they have a poor understanding of plagiarism and its consequences. That is what we aim to rectify with this article. So, let us begin.
What are Different Types of Plagiarism?
The basic definition of plagiarism is as follows.
“Using another author’s work (in part or whole) in your own work without crediting and seeking permission of the original author.”
This is a violation of academic integrity because it is dishonest, irresponsible, unfair, and disrespectful. Academics are supposed to uphold academic integrity at all times. Otherwise, they can face some dire consequences, but that is a discussion for later.
Now, we will discuss the types of plagiarism so that you can have a better understanding of how plagiarism occurs in an academic’s work. The better informed you are, the better you will be armed to deal with plagiarism.
Direct or Verbatim Plagiarism
This is the most common and most obvious type of plagiarism. It involves copying parts of a text without any changes and using them in your own work without quoting them or providing citations.
Quotations and citations are methods of crediting the original author. Failure to credit the author is considered plagiarism. Anyway, this is the easiest type of plagiarism to detect because the perpetrator makes no effort to hide their crime.
This is a type of plagiarism in which a person submits their own previously published work without citing it. This one is confusing for many students because what is wrong with using your own work? You own your work and do not need permission from yourself to use it.
The problem here is not citing the work and the lack of acknowledgment that it is not a new work but rather an old one. The best way to avoid this is to treat your works as the works of others so that you do not forget to cite them.
Self-plagiarism can occur by accident and as such it also falls under the umbrella of accidental plagiarism.
This is a nefarious type of plagiarism because in this one the perpetrator actively tries to hide their misdeed. Paraphrasing plagiarism is exactly what you think it is. The plagiarist takes parts of another author’s work and paraphrases them to make them look different. Then they use them in their own work without crediting the author.
Now to be fair, academics paraphrase the works of others all the time, but they credit the authors too. You will notice that this is a recurring trend i.e. lack of attribution. Nearly all types of plagiarism can be avoided by proper crediting and where there is no credit, there is plagiarism.
Paraphrasing plagiarism is hard to detect, but thankfully, you can use an AI tool to detect it. A plagiarism checker powered by AI is capable of detecting paraphrased plagiarism by checking patterns, tone, and the order in which the ideas are discussed. they are pretty accurate as well. So do not go thinking that plagiarism can go unpunished.
Also known as patchwork plagiarism, this is a type of plagiarism in which the perpetrator takes small pieces of content from various sources and mashes them together. Of course, no credit or attribution is provided either. This is an extremely evil sort of plagiarism because it goes a step above paraphrasing plagiarism in trying to hide the crime.
Thankfully, AI plagiarism checkers are good enough to detect such plagiarism nowadays. So it is seldom that such plagiarism goes undetected. This type of plagiarism is usually detected due to inconsistencies in the writing style. After all, each source has its unique style, and taking bits and pieces from multiple sources will create a discrepancy. A keen eye or a good plagiarism checker is enough to detect such problems.
Finally, we have accidental plagiarism which usually occurs due to errors in citations. Errors in citations occur due to forgetfulness, carelessness, or unawareness. For example, if the reference for a source lists the wrong author or an incorrect date then it is considered plagiarism. But such mistakes can occur by accident and are not always malicious. Unfortunately, academics do not see it that way because it is the writer’s responsibility to catch such mistakes.
To avoid accidental plagiarism, it is a good idea to keep track of your sources and double-check your citations before finalizing your draft.
What are the Consequences of Plagiarism in Academia?
The consequences of plagiarism in academic circles are varied. They depend on the stature of the person committing the plagiarism as well as their record of previous infractions (if any). An academic can be a student, a teacher, or a researcher. Let us see what kind of problems they can face for committing plagiarism.
Docking of Points/Grades
This is a consequence faced by students. If a student is caught committing plagiarism, then their teacher has the right to award them fewer marks/points on their assignment. In universities, assignments and quizzes can carry up to 20% marks for the entire subject. So losing those marks can damage the entire subject’s grade and bring down your GPA. Since government jobs in India have a minimum GPA requirement this could hurt your career as well.
Failure in a Course
Points are cut in the instance when the student does not have a previous record of plagiarism. So taking away points serves as a warning. However, if that proves to be an ineffective deterrent, then teachers can take more heavy-handed approaches. One such method is to fail the student in their course.
Failing in a course means that the student cannot study any advanced courses whose prerequisite is the failed course. This effectively sets them back an entire year to repeat the failed course which obviously incurs more fees.
Recall of Degree
Sometimes academics get away with plagiarism and complete their program without getting caught. This does not mean that they have gotten away. If plagiarism is found in their work either old or new, the institute that awarded them the degree can recall it.
The recall of a degree means that the perpetrator is no longer considered qualified and may lose their position.
- Damage to Career and Reputation
If academics are caught plagiarizing in a professional capacity, they can face consequences that destroy their career and reputation. Here are a few examples to show you how academics who committed a lot of plagiarism got punished.
In 2008, a chemistry professor at Sri Venkateswara University was found to have plagiarized over 70 articles. Subsequently, the professor was banned from taking exams or research guidance.
In 2002, Professor B S Rajput who was vice-chancellor of Kumaon University was found to have committed plagiarism. After an investigation that concluded he had indeed blatantly ripped off sources, he was forced to resign from his position.
The negative press generated by these actions stained the reputation of these people as well. Such a reputation makes it close to impossible to pursue an academic career.
So, there you have it, the different types of plagiarism and their consequences in academia. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is enough to educate you about the most common types of plagiarism and their consequences in an academic setting. So take care to conduct further research into these topics and learn how to avoid plagiarism. That way you will not have to worry about the consequences of plagiarism.