Different kinds of plagiarism
The word plagiarism is used as an umbrella term for different kinds of misuse and misrepresentation of texts and ideas that have previously been formed by someone else. Plagiarism and academic dishonesty can take various forms in writing. Here we bring up some common ones.
Submitting someone else's text as one's own
Taking (borrowing, stealing, buying) someone else's work, or parts thereof, and submitting it as one's own is regarded as plagiarism. There are different forms of such plagiarism, from chunks of someone else's text being deliberately inserted without appropriate references, to the use of so-called paper mills, where ready-made essays or customised papers can be bought.
In order to prevent such attempts at cheating, essay supervisors usually do not accept finished academic essays without having followed their students' projects closely and discussed the development of the essay with the writer during the whole writing process. Lund University also uses an originality check software system:
The term collusion is used for inappropriate collaboration in examination assignments. Unless specifically stated by the teacher and department, students may not collaborate on examination tasks, such as take-home exams or essay assignments.
If in any doubt, students should always ask their teacher what is applicable in order to avoid the risk of collusion.
Writers often refer to other texts through paraphrasing. When a text is properly paraphrased, it is re-written in the writer's own words and a reference is provided. If the paraphrasing overlaps with the the text on which it is based, there is a risk of patchwriting.
Patchwriting is often unintentional and happens when a paraphrase is too close to the original text, in structure as well as in style and vocabulary. Even if there is a reference to the source text, rewritings of source texts in the form of word-by-word substitution for synonyms are not acceptable, since they are not regarded as original text.
Learning to write academic texts, students struggle to acquire a new discipline-specific vocabulary and also a new style of writing. If a text is too difficult for a writer who tries to paraphrase it, the risk of patchwriting increases. In order to avoid patchwriting, careful handling of sources is essential, as well as knowledge about how to paraphrase. If the writer wishes to use some phrasing from the source text, that portion of the text has to be provided in the form of a quotation (that is, reproduced in an exact manner within quotation marks).
Learn how to paraphrase and how to quote here:
The term patchwriting was coined by Professor Rebecca Moore Howard in the 1990s. Read more about this concept in an article on the Merriam-Webster website:
Is it possible to plagiarise oneself? Although the term self-plagiarism may sound like a contradiction in terms, there are two types that writers need to be aware of:
In some fields, it is common for researchers to publish several articles on similar issues, and the borders between what is new material and what can be regarded as re-publication can be fuzzy. Re-using parts of an old text without properly acknowledging this can be regarded as self-plagiarism.
It is a common understanding in the world of research publication that one must not submit the same text to several publishers, e.g. to several journals, in the hope of increasing the chances of quick publication. Similarly, the same text must not be submitted with different titles in the hope of gaining more publications.
Many journals and publishing houses have strict regulations concerning duplicate, or dual, publication, and also use plagiarism-detection tools.
Double dipping is an expression sometimes used when students submit identical or similar work in separate courses. Although it may be warranted and indeed suitable for students to draw on their previous studies and experience, all forms of written examination must consist of original writing. In addition, students cannot earn credits for the same work in more than one course.
As a student, you should always consult your teachers if you wish to make use of material that you have written for other courses or for other purposes.
What about re-publication?
Re-publication of texts may, of course, be warranted, for instance when a text is translated, an out-of-print text is being republished, or when previously published facts are presented in a new way and with a new aim. In case of such re-publication, the publication information of the original publication should be clearly stated.