GoogleTranslate Service


Defintion of plagiarism continue to plague academic community

July 2nd, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I have been writing a fairly boring report today, and as a distraction, reading more of my Twitter  messages than usually. And on of them, I cannot remember why, directed me to the Times Higher Education web site. And I noticed an article about plagiarism.

The article is pretty routine. It reports on a study in Sweden which “found that when a problem was identified, academics were reluctant to label it plagiarism, instead choosing words such as “unacceptable”.

“The staff held extremely heterogeneous views about the examples and also had different explanations for those views. No two lecturers gave the same response,” Dr Pecorari said.”

The article goes on to say: “But the different explanations given by participants in the study for finding, or failing to find, plagiarism also exposed a lack of common understanding, she argued.

In a bid to address the problem, academics in the US are attempting to draw up an international definition of plagiarism. Speaking at the conference, Teresa Fishman, director of the International Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University in South Carolina, set out a model definition.

It rules that plagiarism occurs if an author “uses words, ideas or work products, attributable to an identifiable person or source, without attributing the work to the source from which it was obtained, in a situation in which there was a legitimate expectation of original authorship, in order to obtain benefit, credit or gain.”

Dr Fishman said that plagiarism was not theft, copyright infringement or fraud, and should not be confused with poor citation skills.”

A find this fascinating at a whole series of levels. I have always argued that the meaning of plagiarism is culturally and socially derived and changes over time. And just agreeing a common definition does not overcome the different cultural meanings associated with it. Indeed, in line with Jenny Hughes work on pragmatics and semantics and featured on this blog over the last two weeks, it is not so much the paradigm of plagiarism that we should be looking at to understand its meaning but the syntagmatic relations between say, the idea of  plagiarism, ideas of tecahing and learning and especially concepts of copyright. And this is confirmed as an academic catfight breaks out in the comments.. To give a flavour:

“The position of some “experts” on plagiarism directly contravenes the law, contravenes the accepted university rules and even their own words”

“What makes some “experts” on plagiarism to falsify what the law of plagiarism and the universally accepted rules of academia actually say?”

“surely that shows that views on plagiarism are culturally contingent and academics in one country drawing up an “international definition” is an inherently flawed idea?”

“if your undergraduates are so incapable of ‘original authorship’ that they cannot even summarise others’ work competently without copying it out, you are royally screwed.”

“Dr. Fishman, that plagiarism ITSELF constitutes a fraud, has been explained and confirmed uncountable number of times and included in academic policies. If you are making a point to deny this, you have to have a novel reason for this. May I ask you to say what this reason is?”

And so on. It is all very polite but it is clear that we cannot define plagiarism without understanding the cultural and social background to the idea itself. Lets face it, if plagiarism (and present day copyright laws, had been around in the times of Shakespeare, his plays would never have been performed or published.

Please follow and like us:

Comments are closed.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    Social Media




    News Bites

    Cyborg patented?

    Forbes reports that Microsoft has obtained a patent for a “conversational chatbot of a specific person” created from images, recordings, participation in social networks, emails, letters, etc., coupled with the possible generation of a 2D or 3D model of the person.

    Please follow and like us:


    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

    Please follow and like us:


    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

    Please follow and like us:


    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

    Please follow and like us:


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

      Please follow and like us:
  • Twitter

  • RT @DROdurham ✨This week's featured DRO article: @cristinacost (@DUSofE) explores the impact digital technologies and the web have on the lives of older adults, and their motivations for engaging with digital literacies. You can read Dr Costa's article here👇 dro.dur.ac.uk/29406/

    About 6 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via TweetDeck

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Categories