Plagiarism is an issue of trust. If we respect honor codes, we gain the comfort of knowing that what we read is spoken in the voice of the author and what we write will not be misrepresented as someone else’s original work. Are these simple comforts anachronistic? Perhaps. Acts of plagiarism among students are on the rise, and recently, a series of famous academics, historians, journalists, and even a Tony-award nominated playwright have been accused of plagiarism. If our academic communities hope to reverse this trend, we must reflect on how and why plagiarism occurs and what we can do about it. Now that we are empowered by the Internet, plagiarism is easier to commit and more tempting than ever before. Thanks to this same technology, plagiarism is also easier to catch. We may attribute much of this trend to the ease of purchasing or copying research papers on the Internet, but some of it is also due to foggy notions of what plagiarism means and the proper way to borrow content in academic writing. If we want to encourage students to make the most out of their expressive powers and make full use of their many electronic resources, should honor codes still punish plagiarism? Are these rules still necessary? Should we stop the free recycling of electronic content? Do we really need to counsel restraint?
Deborah R. Gerhardt,
Plagiarism in Cyberspace: Learning the Rules of Recycling Content with a View Towards Nurturing Academic Trust in an Electronic World,
Rich. J.L. & Tech
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolt/vol12/iss3/3