Ethics in an Academic Environment
Ethics in an Academic Environment
Plagiarism, the dictionary defines it as the taking of ones ideas and using them as your own. It is not just ideas, but also works published by another. It is highly unethical in all aspects of life, and the academic environment is no exception. By plagiarizing anothers works, you are not only hurting them but you are cheating yourself.
If you think that plagiarism is only done by students of today that spend too much time on sports or partying, then it is time to think again. Plagiarism has been going on since pen was first put together with paper. It is not just Joe Football stud or Suzy Cheerleader cheating to get passing grades. There have been some important people caught plagiarizing. A study done at Boston University uncovered dissertation done by none other than Martin Luther King for his doctorate. Some of the information included in that dissertation was not his own. (World News Digest, Oct. 1991)
Let us now look at the different types of plagiarism, or more to the point, the ways that people plagiarize. There is the lack of citation for works borrowed from others writings. Another is failing to use quotation marks and citing the source of a direct quote. Improper paraphrasing is yet another form of plagiarizing. We must not forget the outright copying of an entire paper and claiming it as your own. Are all cases of plagiarism deliberate and dishonest? By no means is it all a deliberate act. However even accidentally plagiarizing by means such as forgetting a citation or quotation mark is considered dishonest. In the past, before the internet, accidental plagiarism could be overlooked, but not any longer. The internet while it has made it much easier for those who desire to cheat and use the works of others to get ahead, on the same level has made it easier to catch the cheaters. Search for plagiarism checkers on google.com and you get well over one million hits. This means that the teachers have more resources that ever to check those term papers and essays and catch the plagiarizers. In addition, it means that your excuses for accidents have as much credibility now as the old my dog ate my paper story. Yes, it is possible now to have your own paper checked. Online schools and libraries have sections of their sites dedicated to helping with writing papers properly. These site usually have their own place to submit your papers to check things like grammar, spelling and oh yes they can tell you if you are guilty of plagiarizing.
An article at MSNBC.com written by Michael E. Ross last fall talks about online plagiarism checkers. One popular site isTurnitin.com that was founded in 1996 by Dr. John Barrie. One could say that Dr. Barrie is the father of online plagiarism checkers. At the time the article was written, in the fall of 2005, they where at their peak season with roughly 50,000 papers passing through their site each day. It was estimated that out of those papers one third of them where not original works. Turnitin.com estimated that by the spring semester of 2006 those numbers would double. While some may shy away from Turnitin.com in favor of other free sites due to Turnitins 75 cent per student cost, many schools feel that it is a small price to pay for such a much-needed service. All colleges and universities in the United Kingdom subscribe to Turnitins service. Ross (2005 Para. 7) tells us that ” Turnitins website says that, compared to conventional online academic-paper searches that can take 12 minutes each, its service gives instructors the ability to research 125 papers in a blistering 15 seconds.” It boggles the mind to think of how that many papers can be checked accurately in such a short time. Another aspect that separates them from the others is they have users in over 85 countries instead of just the United States. In fact, at the time the article was written they were proudly serving 5,000 learning institutions including West Point Military Academy. There is however still a great deal of controversy over these plagiarism-checking