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.

Comments are closed.

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    Social Media




    News Bites

    Graduate Jobs

    As reported by WONKHE, a survey of 1,200 final year students conducted by Prospects in the UK found that 29 per cent have lost their jobs, and 26 per cent have lost internships, while 28 per cent have had their graduate job offer deferred or rescinded. 47 per cent of finalists are considering postgraduate study, and 29 per cent are considering making a career change. Not surprisingly, the majority feel negative about their future careers, with 83 per cent reporting a loss of motivation and 82 per cent saying they feel disconnected from employers


    Post-Covid ed-tech strategy

    The UK Ufi VocTech Trust are supporting the Association of Colleges to ensure colleges are supported to collectively overcome challenges to delivering online provision at scale. Over the course of the next few months, AoC will carry out research into colleges’ current capacity to enable high quality distance learning. Findings from the research will be used to create a post-Covid ed-tech strategy for the college sector.

    With colleges closed for most face-to-face delivery and almost 100% of provision now being delivered online, the Ufi says, learners will require online content and services that are sustainable, collective and accessible. To ensure no one is disadvantaged or left behind due to the crisis, this important work will contribute to supporting businesses to transform and upskilling and reskilling those out of work or furloughed.


    Erasmus+

    The European Commission has published an annual report of the Erasmus+ programme in 2018. During that time the programme funded more than 23,500 projects and supported the mobility of over 850,00 students, of which 28,247 were involved in UK higher education projects, though only one third of these were UK students studying abroad while the remainder were EU students studying in the UK. The UK also sent 3,439 HE staff to teach or train abroad and received 4,970 staff from elsewhere in the EU.


    Skills Gaps

    A new report by the Learning and Work Institute for the Local Government Association (LGA) finds that by 2030 there could be a deficit of 2.5 million highly-skilled workers. The report, Local Skills Deficits and Spare Capacity, models potential skills gaps in eight English localities, and forecasts an oversupply of low- and intermediate -skilled workers by 2030. The LGA is calling on the government to devolve the various national skills, retraining and employment schemes to local areas. (via WONKHE)


    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.

  • Twitter

    The latest The Graham Attwell Daily! paper.li/GrahamAttwell?…

    About 7 hours ago from Graham Attwell's Twitter via Paper.li

  • Digital technologies and parental involvement in education: the experiences of mothers of primary school-aged children tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.10…

    Yesterday from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter Web App

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Categories