Archive for the ‘Plagiarism Detection Tips’ Category

Checks for plagiarism: Do Blog Hosts Do The Right Thing?

Posted on:August 27, 2010

Regular checks for plagiarism are critical in any situation where people are writing a lot. Blogs and their subscribers are a prime venue where such copying is a risk. How well do blog hosts respond when copying is identified? Informed, effective action on the victim’s part is needed to ensure action. Here are some tips on what to expect if you are plagiarized.
Are checks for plagiarism needed on blogs?
Blog hosts are internet servers which archive blog material and help manage the blogging communication process. Half a dozen huge players in the field is joined by a growing number of small ones.
US and EU blog hosts are governed by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Electronic Commerce Directive (ECD). Apparently these statutes are more directed towards video and music recordings, but imply other forms of illicit copying, as well.
A blog host server should register with their nation’s copyright office. Some don’t, surprisingly.
Where does one find out about checks for plagiarism on a blog host site?
The blog hosts list a copyright policy somewhere, in doubtfully comprehensible language. Some are buried deep in the “terms of service”. If you have to search, be suspicious.
Whom does one contact when a check for plagiarism shows an instance of “borrowing”?
There should be an easy-to-find email address for the person/department responsible for blog abuse. Some blog host servers seem to hide this information. Others fail to update it, or allow it to bounce back emails when someone’s checks for plagiarism uncover a problem.
What does one do if checks for plagiarism turn up potential copying?
Sometimes, these written policies depend on the plagiarized individual performing checks for plagiarism themselves, or others who check for plagiarism when they notice suspicious similarities.
When a check for plagiarism turns up an instance of unattributed use, there is a procedure to follow. Different blog hosts have different procedures. Some are very easy; others are a pain!
For example:

  1. The person wishing to report an instance of copied work often must identify every instance of the copying. This means they must make repeated checks for plagiarism themselves.
  2. The finding of an instance of copying through checks for plagiarism may require a handwritten signature. This is an obvious problem for email, without a scanner and necessary .pdf conversion software. This requirement may contravene a statute known as the ESIGN Act.
  3. Successful checks for plagiarism must sometimes be identified with
    • URL of every instance of copying
    • character of the copying
    • contact information for victim and plagiarizer
  4. If checks for plagiarism do turn up what seems like definite theft, a Cease and Desist Letter alerts the perpetrator to stop or risk legal action. This may not be mentioned in the blog’s policy. Automation reduces the effectiveness of such correspondence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Plagiarism Outside the Province of Copyright Infringement

Posted on:August 27, 2010

Copyright infringement, plagiarism, and fair use are distinct concepts. Sadly, anyone can sue for copyright infringement, even if not justified!
Copyright infringement and plagiarism are not equivalent terms. Plagiarism is unattributed copying in largely in academic contexts. Copyright infringement is a legal term for theft of intellectual property. Both are wrong. A third type of use/copying fits neither category neatly, e.g., homage, satire, in-the-style-of assignments, or fan elaboration. These are some ideas on all three issues.
Copyright infringement is a serious crime, punishable by fines, forced repayment of ill-gotten profits, or jail time. However, copyright infringement is not exactly the same as plagiarism. They are two different issues, and often apply in different situations, although both can be present at once.
Plagiarism is a term used most often in academic and scholarly circumstances. It is usually considered to be the use of words, code, or other creative or intellectual product without adequate attribution. Different fields and academic disciplines, however, impose their own standards.
How’s copyright infringement defined?
Copyright infringement is a breach of US law. It covers display of a work, including “derivative work” which the US Copyright Office defines as:

  • Based upon preexisting work(s)
  • Translation
  • Musical arrangement
  • Dramatization
  • Fictionalization
  • Motion picture version
  • Sound recording
  • Art reproduction
  • Abridgment
  • Condensation
  • Recasting
  • Transformation
  • Adaptation
  • Editorial revisions
  • Annotations
  • Elaborations
  • Other modifications

This is stunningly broad, but protects the author: (http://www. copyright. gov/title17/92chap1.html#derivative).

There are exceptions to this. “Fair use” is a legal doctrine defined in terms of the following tenets:

  1. Commercial use of copied material
  2. The character of copied work (including unpublished work)
  3. The amount of work copied
  4. Any effect of copying on market for copied work

(http://www. copyright. gov/fls/fl102. html )
(See this webpage for detailed discussion of copyright infringement: http://www. lib.uconn. edu/copyright/fairUse_understanding. html).
When a copyright is issued, the holder has a responsibility to defend it, or the right effectively lapses. Google chose not to copyright, instead allowing the word to enter the English language and advertise them every time it is used.
Clearly, most academic situations avoid copyright infringement, since plagiarizing students seldom profit. In fact, they pay dearly for the privilege of writing their term papers (or copying them!).
Exceptions occur! A graduate student recently sued a professor for copyright infringement of genetic research. (http://www. genomeweb. com/biotechtransferweek/stanford-grad-adds-plagiarism-gene-modification-ip-theft-suit-against-school-pro?page=show ). This is slippery stuff. Read these links; inform yourself regarding potential copyright infringement.
Copyright infringement potential eventually expires:
A proxy measure is age. Pieces written before copyright laws generally invoke no question of copyright infringement. This is the venal reason that animators use classical music. No heirs will sue for copyright infringement! Copying such older material is, however, nonetheless, plagiarism. Not attributing properly is poor scholarship.
Copying at the instructor’s direction is not likely to represent copyright infringement:
Are students assigned to model themselves on an authors’ style or format? Some professors ask request a pastiche, or alternative ending of a story, play, or poem. Clearly, no matter the pitch perfectness of a student rendering of, e.g., Millay’s poetic style, this constitutes neither copyright infringement nor plagiarism. However, discretion suggests appending an explanatory introduction or epilogue, in case of later display outside!

Read the rest of this entry »

The Detection of Plagiarism: History and Legal Implications

Posted on:August 26, 2010

The existence of plagiarism detection implies that the detection of plagiarism is a negative. This was simply not true before the 1600s. Subsequently, laws, constitutional amendments, and international statutes made plagiarism detection in commercial circumstances legally actionable. Burgeoning creativity co-existent with sensible copyright legislation vindicates such legislative efforts.
Did they accomplish plagiarism detection with a quill?
Samuel Johnson included it in his 1755 dictionary. Derived from the Latin, plagiaries, for kidnapping (as of a child or slave), it retains unpleasant overtones. The first recorded detection of plagiarism was by the Roman poet Martial of his contemporary Fidentinus!
The OED situates the origin of the word plagiarism in the early 17th century; a significant timing. This period includes seminal developments in Western literature and scholarship, and in national languages other than Latin. Some notables of the period include:

  • Shakespeare
  • Bacon
  • Cervantes
  • Tycho Brahe
  • Keppler
  • Lippershey
  • Galileo
  • Harvey

Does plagiarism detection arise from royal uncertainty?
In Stolen Words: Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism, Thomas Mallon notes that large-scale printing changed the act of writing. He also, intriguingly, connects royal insecurity (consider kingly beheadings) to the increasing concern over creative ownership which plagiarism detection bespeaks.
How did 17th century plagiarism detection operate?
Previous to the 1600s, plagiarism detection was simply irrelevant. Liberal quoting and copying of authorities, from the Bible to Plato, was admired! Shakespeare himself has been accused of copying earlier stories. detection of plagiarism in Shakespeare’s case requires more than a computer program. Shakespeare modified ancient tales of love and heroism in idiosyncratically dramatic and novel ways.
Ben Johnson may be the first to whom the term plagiary was applied, in 1668. His critic, Dryden, accused Johnson of copying Horace, et alia, excessively. Presumably, Dryden’s detection of plagiarism was accomplished via his own thorough classical grounding.
What about detection of plagiarism in the 1700s?
Enlightenment science and arts freed themselves from exclusive churchly service. Novelty, innovation, and originality all acquired value. (http://www. jstor. org/pss/837018 ) Not surprisingly, perhaps, the first statute adding teeth to the detection of plagiarism, passed in 1710, in London. This did not, however, protect authors abroad. The detection of plagiarism of British books in the colonies was widely deplored.
In 1783, the Continental Congress passed a copyright law. Plagiarism detection thereby became a bi-continental sport. The Constitution next included copyright protection. Noah Webster, the author of the The American Speller was an early player in the detection of plagiarism and its prosecution under these new statutes.
How did plagiarism detection evolve subsequently?
The next 200 years saw plenty of plagiarism detection and accusations. Thomas Coleridge was one such accused (post-mortem). Oscar Wilde was another (to his face).

Read the rest of this entry »

Online Plagiarism Detection: How to Avoid Autoplagiarism

Posted on:August 26, 2010

The modern world of business has a lot to do with writing. Indeed, different essays, articles, research reports, and other types of writing are needed in all spheres of modern life. Therefore, it seems that the modern authors have a range of opportunities for realizing their intellectual and creative potential. However, the real situation suggests that the authors of different kinds of writings often face the risk of autoplagiarism. Thus, it is important to know the basics of online plagiarism detection and the ways of avoiding autoplagiarism.
Online Plagiarism Detection: Preventing Risks
Modern technology allows fast and secure online plagiarism detection. Specifically, there is a multitude of programs aimed at finding plagiarized word groups, lines, or paragraphs in any document. Moreover, such programs are capable of finding the sources of the plagiarism. Online plagiarism detection includes “scanning” all the websites and their content, and comparing them to the analyzed document.
As a result of the mentioned operations, the programs calculate the match index, which is usually given in a percentage. Interestingly, even the authors who did not use any sources for their writings sometimes get a 4-5% match index. This is likely to happen with topics which deal with general notions which are often repeated in the text or which have a particular jargon attached. This means that online plagiarism detection does not necessarily find instances of plagiarism, but it finds similar lexical units in two sources. Such coincidences are referred to as autoplagiarism.
Due to the high possibility of becoming a victim of autoplagiarism, writers should consider ways of avoiding such phenomenon. So what needs to be done in order to guarantee a positive report of online plagiarism detection? There are a few simple points to bear in mind:
Original Ideas
Every writer should remember that online plagiarism detection deals with preventing original ideas from being stolen. That is why the main task of the author is to produce their own ideas concerning the subject about which they are writing. In this case, the chance of autoplagiarism occurrence is much smaller.
Critical Thinking
There are topics which have been studied for centuries, but which still need investigation and further development. This suggests that there is little place for new ideas to appear. Therefore, the risk of online plagiarism detection is increased. In this case, critical thinking can be helpful. The critical analysis of the existing material will help to get new visions of the studied problems.
Complex Sentences

Read the rest of this entry »

Different Approaches to Punishment for Cheating in Schools

Posted on:August 26, 2010

It is a well-known fact that the staff of every college or university cooperate in order to educate and bring up the students. Similarly, it is obvious that the students in all educational establishments are often involved in plagiarism. Therefore, there is a need for a new kind of activity for teachers and authorities, namely – the control of cheating in schools. The new task of university staff is to punish the cases of cheating in schools and prevent their occurrence in the future. Therefore, it is necessary for the students to know the basic approaches to punishing the instances of plagiarism in the leading universities of the world.
Cheating in Schools: Approaches to Treatment
Cheating in schools has reached its peak point during the last 5 years. The recent studies show, that there are almost no students left, who never tried plagiarizing in their writing tasks. What is more, cases of cheating in schools happen not only in writing essays, but also in writing course works, research, articles for publications, and even dissertations.
Such a boom in cheating in schools caused an increase in development of programs which help to detect instances of plagiarism. The main principle of such programs is to scan the document, identifying the phrases and sentences which coincide with some phrases and sentences from other sources. However, today the task of the authorities is not only to detect the cases of cheating in schools, but also punish the students for plagiarism. Thus, the different colleges and universities have different treatment of cheating in schools. Specifically:

  • University of Phoenix, USA punishes students accused of cheating in school by giving them additional tasks, which are obligatory to be done
  • Gwinnett College, USA treats the cases of cheating in school with warnings, three of which are enough for expulsion from the college
  • Hallmark College of Aeronautics, USA applies expulsion as the only option forstudents, who plagiarizeCentral Post College, USA gives a warning for the students who cheat, and report to the parents about the case
  • Missouri College, USA gives a warning to those involved in cheating in school, and strengthenscontrol over the students
  • University of Cambridge, UK expels the students, who have a plagiarism match index of more than 2% in their work (Note, this is after scanning by a human, since AI scores are not reliable)
  • University of Oxford, UK also sends down the students who were noticed to have plagiarized
  • Carleton University, Canada gives warnings and extra tasks for the students who prove to be involved in plagiarism
  • University of Bologna, Italy expels the students who are proved to be involved in cheating in school, and deprives them of the rights to enter another university

Read the rest of this entry »

Plagiarism and Blogging: Why we need plagiarism detection tools

Posted on:August 25, 2010

“Plagiarism”, derived from the Latin idea of kidnapping, is nasty larceny. In the blogosphere, where participants’ only stock-in-trade is their creativity, instances of copying are detested heartily. Plagiarism detection tools have made it easier for writers to locate instances of stealing their work. Yet, perversely, it continues.
The blogosphere: too big to measure?
This blogger has been unsuccessful thus far in accessing publicly available hard data documenting blogosohere plagiarism’s incidence (there is tantalizing proprietary information at http://www. htm ). Ideally, such data would include examples discovered by plagiarism detection tools, as well as by alert readers. However, 2008 estimates the blogosphere’s size worldwide reached 60 million. This is no doubt higher today, with120,000 blogs started daily.
The only truly reliable numbers reside with indexers and search engines (e.g., Google). They are not sharing.
See for yourself!
However, a proxy measure of scope is readily available, and without recourse to plagiarism detection tools. Diligent searching on any topic, e.g., “plants in Lakota folklore,” soon reveals apparent duplication between web pages. (Whether malicious, or even intentional, is unknowable).
Bloggers need to use plagiarism detection tools!
However, a writer needs to be vigilant in actually applying these plagiarism detection tools to protect themselves. Although imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, most bloggers prefer to be cited correctly. Correct attribution, in addition to not triggering plagiarism detection tools, is highly desirable:

  • Increases credibility
  • Drives readership

Consequences when undetected, or when plagiarism detection tools search out the theft.
Plagiarism is not a victimless crime in the era of plagiarism detection tools. Any unattributed borrowing damages the victim in practical ways. Plagiarism detection tools may pick up the original post, but may not be analyzed with human understanding closely enough, to distinguish which came first. The results for the legitimate author?

  • Content blocked
  • Content deleted
  • Personal discreditation.

The argument could be made that since blogging is usually for love, not money, stealing is a trivial infraction. Nonsense! Parents nurture for love, and we recognize the value of their work. Besides, many bloggers are being paid now. They need plagiarism detection tools as surely as a keyboard. When stealing is discovered, whether by helpful readers or through plagiarism detection tools, concomitant commiserating posts and tweets proliferate.

  1. In one case, the plagiarizer’s real identity was identified by plagiarism detection tools. He was castigated publicly (at least in the hermetic space of the business blogging universe).
  2. In the other case, the injured blogger privately requested the alleged plagiarizer to withdraw. There was some doubt as to the alleged offender’s identity, a uniquely blogospheric phenomenon. This anonymity undercuts plagiarism checking software’s effectiveness.

Punishment, when plagiarism checking software has identified copying, includes:

  1. verbal scourging with the vocabulary of a less humane era
    • Links wished to be “dead”
    • “expose as a fraud”
    • “die plagiarists”
  2. Damaged business reputation
  3. Potential negative impact on firm’s or sponsor’s sales
  4. Court action, just as in print plagiarism

Read the rest of this entry »

Infringement of Copyright in Ignorance of Business Ethics

Posted on:August 19, 2010

Nowadays, when science and culture are at the height of their development, it seems that all the possible discoveries have been made, all possible songs have been sung, and all possible books have been written. Indeed, all the mentioned things have already been invented; moreover, all of them today are either under copyright or patent. Because of this , there are strong restrictions for the use of objects under copyright in new research, campaigns, and projects. These restrictions serve as a ground for business ethics, and the neglect of these rules is called copyright infringement.
Copyright Infringement: Basic notions
In order to avoid the infringement of copyright, it is essential to understand the definition of copyright. The Oxford dictionary defines copyright as “the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same”. Thus, copyright infringement can be defined as an act of neglecting the owner’s rights to use copyrighted material without authorization. Infringement of copyright is associated with assuming the rights for some materials. However, surprisingly, most copyright infringement cases happen by chance; in other words, the accused person is usually unaware of being involved in copyright infringement.
Thus, it is important to realize that all the materials, mentioned in the definition of copyright, are the intellectual property of an individual or an organization ( often in the case of assignment), and one should be extremely careful while working with it. Otherwise, he/she can face a risk of being accused of infringement of copyright.
Copyright Infringement Vs. The Proper Use of Materials
In order to avoid the possibility of infringement of copyright it is important to know how to use the materials legally. The main points to bear in mind for proper use of someone’s intellectual property are that credit must be given to author. This can be dome as follows…
Direct Quotes with Quotation marks
While quoting someone’s original words in writing, it is essential to use quotation marks, signaling that the words are taken from some other source, and that they do not belong to the author of the writing in which they appear. Moreover, the quotations often need to be shortened, which may distort the initial form of the material, and by this way lead to infringement of copyright. In order to avoid this, one needs to use other symbols, such as square brackets or ellipses (…..), in places where the information had been cut out. The general rule for shortening quotations is to save the main idea of the original material and indicate where some is missing.
One of the most effective ways to avoid copyright infringement is paraphrasing. This method suggests using different lexical units and grammatical forms in order to convey the same idea. Obviously, saving the sense value of the initial message is crucial in paraphrasing. However, paraphrased ideas must still be credited to the original author. This is generally done either by adding some qualifying phrase that credits the original authors and using an intext date citation: e.g. Jeffreys says (2002) that…
Name of the Author
In cases of both paraphrasing and when using direct quotes with quotation marks, the name of the author needs to be used. If there are several authors, mentioning only one of them is treated as infringement of copyright; therefore, every owner of the copyright has to be named, or within the text one can use et. Al. and the full list is included in the bibliography. In cases of video/music material or graphics or photos being used, the names of authors and the work use have to be mentioned in the captioning data.

Read the rest of this entry »

Peer evaluation: What is the Impact on Plagiarism in Science?

Posted on:August 19, 2010

Science cherishes traditions, jargon, and standards for research and writing. Peer evaluation is a valued tradition of scientific research. Scientists whose article has survived the peer evaluation process usually speak of this with pride. The current peer evaluation method may be inadequate for the challenges of new research technology, however, and the increasing temptation to commit plagiarism.
Peer Evaluation: What is it?

  • “Peer”: equal, often in a very specialized field.
  • “Evaluation”: assessment according to some standard.
    This is roughly synonymous with peer review. (However, the term peer evaluation also applies, for example, to grading student oral presentations, or periodic performance reviews.)
  • Scholarly journals requiring peer evaluation are most prestigious.
  • Grant proposals, disbursing taxpayer funds, often require peer evaluation.

Weaknesses of peer evaluation:

  1. However, this procedure is not without critics, such as Richard Horton, of The Lancet and Horace Judson, in the Medical Journal of Australia (http://www. ama-assn. org/public/peer/7_13_94/pv3112x.htm, http://www. au/public/issues/172_04_210200/horton/horton.html)
  2. The anonymous Wikipedia author (merely a starting point) contends that peer evaluation has historically assumed author integrity, but provides no citation (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Peer_review).
  3. A study detailed in Bioinformatics illuminates this deficit in peer evaluation. Researchers applied eTBLAST to a random sample from Medline, a database rich in journals using peer evaluation. 70,000 similar citations appeared. Researchers’ close reading of a sample revealed 207 possible plagiarism cases (Bioinformatics 2010 26(11):1453-1457; doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btq146 ).
  4. According to a summary, these researchers anonymously surveyed the journal editors, and both original, and subsequent authors (http://www. scientificblogging. com/news_releases/what_happens_cases_peer_review_plagiarism )

Of those contacted:

  • 93% of authors were unaware they had been copied
  • 35% admitted copying
  • 28% denied borrowing
  • 22% had not participated in the write-up of a collaborative project
  • A puzzling 17% were unaware that they were listed at all!
  • 11 journal editors had no prior experience or clue as to how to deal with plagiarism not picked up by the peer evaluation process!

The software noted above, and others, can powerfully supplement the human efforts of peer evaluation referees. Peer evaluation is primed to benefit from the advances in technology.
Complexities of peer evaluation in science:

Read the rest of this entry »

What Is the Meaning of Plagiarism: Between Heaven and Hell

Posted on:May 31, 2010

What Is the Meaning of PlagiarismWe are sure that plagiarism is something more than just a plague that affects online writing services and modern media. Plagiarism is a social phenomenon and a distinctive feature of these days. So, what is the meaning of plagiarism? This is what we are going to discuss today.
What is the meaning of plagiarism: basic notions?
So, what does plagiarism mean? Basically, it is about stealing ideas of others in order to make profit, achieve fame or power, usually. The famous case of plagiarism in Joe Biden’s speech is just an ordinary example of it. So, it is more than just a problem of academic integrity or an honest business. It is a moral question and a matter of dignity, no less! But as it is with everything that concerns morality, the social meaning of plagiarism is much more complex than just black and white.
What is the meaning of plagiarism: more than a judiciary term?
Have you ever thought of development of online media? Every thought, every phrase, every idea broadcasted online becomes protected with intellectual property laws. In reality, the meaning of plagiarism is that in 20-30 years we will not have anything original. Plagiarism detection services detect only blatant word-by-word borrowings, you can say. Yes, this is true. But what is more important: an occasional wording or an idea? The very meaning of plagiarism tells that ideas are of much greater importance. But at the current state of computer technologies, we can only ensure copyrighting mere wordings.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Check a Paper for Plagiarism

Posted on:September 27, 2009

How to Check a Paper for PlagiarismEverything has to be perfect. And that essay or term paper you worked on the entire night as well. So, you sit in front of your computer, type in something like “how to check for plagerism”, and nothing happens. Well, the first thing you should remember is: the word “plagiarism” is written with “ia”. Such silly mistake as misspelling might hamper the progress of your work.
Let us move on. Luckily for you, there are plenty of ways how you can check for plagiarizing pretty much everything written. You can choose from a number of services and can either pay for them or find those that offer services for free. We choose a budget swap.
The question how to check for plagiarism is simple to answer with today’s technologies. A lot of plagiarism detection engines have a database of already scanned and published texts, so whenever a new one appears, you can detect pretty much everything – from a 100 percent plagiarism to just a tiny bit of it. In many ways an answered question “How to check a paper for plagiarism?” has saved a lot of time and nerves, because before these services appeared students had to Google every sentence, trying to answer the question “How to check for plagiarism.”
So, how to check for plagiarism:

  • register on a chosen software site;
  • upload your paper;
  • wait while it is being scanned;
  • get a report.

Read the rest of this entry »