Who Owns This Text? Plagiarism, Authorship, and Disciplinary Cultures

Who Owns This Text? Plagiarism, Authorship, and Disciplinary Cultures

Who Owns This Text? Plagiarism, Authorship, and Disciplinary Cultures

Who Owns This Text? Plagiarism, Authorship, and Disciplinary Cultures

Excerpt

The concept of ownership has become increasingly important in the teaching of writing, particularly as university faculty members encourage students to study and write collaboratively and to use the increasingly rich and available range of electronic resources. On many campuses, undergraduates and their instructors expect that first-year writing courses will teach students to discover, select, and cite resources appropriately. Thus, believing that students will have learned this “somewhere else,” faculty often assume that plagiarism of any kind can and should be eliminated chiefly by using detection services such as Turnitin.com and that failure to acknowledge sources should be punished as an intentional violation of university policy. However, despite these assumptions and the efforts of composition programs, writing centers, writing across the curriculum initiatives, workshops on intellectual property and academic integrity, Web sites on avoiding plagiarism , software detection programs, and even threats of failure or expulsion of plagiarists, faculty still encounter unreferenced sources in student writing. A number of recent publications document the legal and pedagogical implications of these concerns (Howard and Robillard 2008, Roberts 2008). Nevertheless, undergraduates continue to download papers from any of the widely advertised “term paper providers,” cut and paste freely from online sources, and turn in

1. See for example the Purdue OWL, http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
resource/589/01/ or the University of Leicester, http://www2.le.ac.uk/
offices/ssds/slc/resources/writing/plagiarism/plagiarism-tutorial/.

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