Plagiarism can be defined as intentional or unintentional use of somebody else’s ideas without referencing the initial author. Originality is one of the most essential aspects of academic integrity, as violating this principle and plagiarizing can be considered non-academic and theft of intellectual property. The concerns associated with plagiarizing refer to taking credit for other person’s work, which can be considered stealing. In addition, those who violate principles of academic integrity, risk losing their status or can even be excluded from the academic community.
There are several causes that may lead people to plagiarism in their writing. Some students may intentionally copy the works of their coursemates to cheat and save time on completing certain assignments – this is considered as direct plagiarism. Additionally, writers may copy their previous works, which is identified as self-plagiarism as well. Other cases of intentional plagiarism can be seen in using the thoughts and fragments of another person’s text without properly referencing it or acknowledging the fact of borrowing the idea, which is a mosaic type of plagiarism. Finally, there is accidental plagiarism, which occurs when the writer is unaware of the fact that the idea is borrowed from another writer.
In the digital age, the issue of plagiarism became more relevant as the Internet provided students and writers with a variety of open sources to copy from by simply pressing Ctrl+C, then Ctrl+V. Hence, institutions started paying more attention to cases of plagiarism as plagiarism detection software was developed. Services such as Turnitin scan the documents and find similarities with other documents submitted there or on web pages. As a result, plagiarism is much easier to detect and prevent. Plagiarism is an ethical concern as this act is closely related to theft, which is not only morally wrong, but illegal. One of the most effective techniques for avoiding plagiarism that can be used in college is writing everything from scratch and referencing the source every time the work is quoted or paraphrased. In general, the writer should be self-aware and avoid behaviors that copy the fragments of others’ texts because it may damage one’s academic career.