Plagiarism: The Extent of Tolerance

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Plagiarism: The Extent of Tolerance

Research is similar to arts, languages, and innovation, as they are all human products and human minds are very interesting since they are in constant evolution just like our universe. Plagiarism is an act of fraud, whether intended or unintended, that resides in the practice of an author copying or rewriting another author’s ideas, texts, or productions. Plagiarism is a common phenomenon in research and the reason behind the growing attention and awareness to plagiarism lies in the fact that new tools have been introduced to detect plagiarism. Let us discuss some aspects, types, and definitions of plagiarism in order to better understand this phenomenon and reply to the ultimate question.

First of all, the first category of plagiarism is “complete plagiarism”, as what could be concluded from its name, complete plagiarism is the act of completely stealing a researcher’s work. Complete plagiarism also includes submitting it under a different name with no proper mentioning. This type of plagiarism is always considered as a crime and no institution, university, or publishing house could tolerate such act. This type of plagiarism is about stealing the whole corpus of research, therefore, it is not even one sentence, instead, it is about stealing someone’s work and effort. Consequently, this type shall not be discussed in details now, instead, let’s move to another type.

house has previously instituted a different

Furthermore, auto-plagiarism is the practice of an author copying a large portion of his own work and writing it under a new title. Auto-plagiarism is more tolerated than most types of plagiarism since it comprehends a researcher copying his own product, however, some institutions have strict criteria regarding researchers recopying their works. Effectively, in this case, the author copying one sentence from his own previous production could be tolerated. This tolerance is provided unless the publishing

house has previously instituted a different opinion with the author.

Theoretically, both acts are crimes and

However, another type of severe plagiarism could be discussed: mosaic plagiarism, which is the act of including ideas and texts of a different author in another author’s text without mentioning the former properly. Nevertheless, mosaic plagiarism is a dishonest practice, it is one of the most popular, or notorious, types of plagiarism since it is hard to detect. In mosaic plagiarism practices, authors aim to rephrase and rewrite others’ ideas in the middle of their texts and research. As absurd as it seems, if we compare complete plagiarism and mosaic plagiarism, we could conclude that both types are similar, except the fact that mosaic plagiarism lies in a less quantity of sentences. Both types are considered fraud and both acts are intentional and dishonest as well.

Theoretically, both acts are crimes and definitely, both types should be avoided at all costs. The real big deal lies in the fact that all types of plagiarism violate the intellectual property rights, therefore, stealing someone’s idea or content is a violation of copyright laws. It’s important to mention that most countries’ constitutions include articles criminalizing this violation and exposing plagiarism practitioners to severe consequences. Stealing someone’s work, ideas, stories, productions, or published or

Plagiarism: The Extent of Tolerance

unpublished materials is a question of research ethics. Practitioners of plagiarism often risk their reputations and one cannot highlight enough how important reputation is for writers.

From a legal perspective, stealing one sentence and stealing a whole article is considered plagiarism, thus, it is also considered a crime. However, sanctions vary with the variation of the crime’s context as a student stealing a sentence in his paper shall not be treated similarly to an author. Consequently, a student stealing a whole article in his homework could not be categorized similarly to an author stealing a single sentence. Both shall be sanctioned, however, a professional writer who practices plagiarism, even to a little extent, could lose his reputation and could face monetary repercussions. All types of plagiarism, except auto-plagiarism, are considered criminal acts so the answer is yes, stealing one sentence is plagiarism, yet, plagiarism could be tolerated in some contexts.

Unlike the legal perspective, the ethical perspective emphasizes on the motivation behind plagiarism, since the moral compass of the society defines whether plagiarism was intended or not. This concept varies from a society to another. In opposition to the legal perspective, the ethical perspective could tolerate, in some cases, a student stealing a sentence. However, most societies do not tolerate any extent of plagiarism when it comes to professional writing. In fact, moral values and ethics are elements that constitute the spirit of a writer, especially professional authors. Therefore, writers, authors, copywriters, researchers, and students must all understand that plagiarism is not accepted, even if it was tolerated.

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