Monday, April 23, 2018

Plagiarism has profilerated; you can avoid it

Giving credit to others enhances credibility, trust
We are not born knowing common courtesy. Someone has to teach us, and then we have to practice it.

We also are not born knowing what plagiarism is, and those of us who haven't learned to avoid it could be in big trouble.

Plagiarizing the work of others will get you expelled from a university, fired from a news organization, or dismissed from public office (see some examples at the end of this post).

Today it is so easy to copy and paste material digitally that some are getting sloppy and careless in newsrooms and academia.

Here are some guidelines:
  • On the most basic level, it's common courtesy. Don't take credit for someone else's work.
  • Put direct quotes in quotation marks and name the source. 
  • If you have paraphrased a direct quote, be sure to name the source at the end of the paraphrase. 
  • If you make extensive use of a source, mention the name of the author in every paragraph.
 
The website plagiarism.org has some essential points about what constitutes plagiarism:

  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving them credit 
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • changing words but copying sentence structure of a source without giving them credit
  • using another person's production without giving them credit 
If you make extensive use of someone else's work over several paragraphs, make sure you find a way to mention the original source in each paragraph. Make it clear.

Some strict academic guidelines

Most academic publications in the humanities have strict style guidelines for how to cite sources, usually referring to those of the APA. Here are the guidelines for short quotations, long quotations and paraphrases. 

Plagiarism has consequences. It can come back to haunt you.

Spanish university rector accused of copy-paste plagiarism 

Don't call it a comeback: has Jonah Lehrer plagiarised again?

El reciente historial de plagio del rector de la Rey Juan Carlos

German defense minister loses post over plagiarism of doctoral thesis 

Mexican President plagiarized thesis for law degree

This last article also mentions plagiarism by now-Russian president Vladimir Putin in earning his graduate degree in 2006, Hungary’s President Pal Schmitt, Germany's defense minister Ursula von der Leyen, and Melania Trump, who gave a campaign speech for her husband, Donald Trump, using phrases nearly identical to those in an earlier speech by Michelle Obama.

Related:
 
Restoring trust: Nieman Lab's helpful list of credibility projects

2018: Credibility will be the new currency of journalism
Chasing clicks isn't bringing in readers or money
How high-quality, credible content wins in the long run
How publishers can overcome the loss of Facebook traffic

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