Academic journal article International Education Studies

Ethical and Unethical Methods of Plagiarism Prevention in Academic Writing

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Ethical and Unethical Methods of Plagiarism Prevention in Academic Writing

Article excerpt


This paper discusses plagiarism origins, and the ethical solutions to prevent it. It also reviews some unethical approaches, which may be used to decrease the plagiarism rate in academic writings. We propose eight ethical techniques to avoid unconscious and accidental plagiarism in manuscripts without using online systems such as Turnitin and/or iThenticate for cross checking and plagiarism detection. The efficiency of the proposed techniques is evaluated on five different texts using students individually. After application of the techniques on the texts, they were checked by Turnitin to produce the plagiarism and similarity report. At the end, the "effective factor" of each method has been compared with each other; and the best result went to a hybrid combination of all techniques to avoid plagiarism. The hybrid of ethical methods decreased the plagiarism rate reported by Turnitin from nearly 100% to the average of 8.4% on 5 manuscripts.

Keywords: plagiarism, plagiarism prevention, academic cheating, ethical approaches, unethical approaches

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Academic publishing is a key factor for any person in academia. All research students, lecturers, professors and researchers in general tend to publish their works and the results of their studies in academic conference proceedings, books, journals or magazines (Hockenos, 2013). Even though getting a paper published is very important, the originality and ethic of the context of the published paper is very important as well. The most common problem in academic manuscripts is "Plagiarism" (Carrol, 2002; Hawley, 1984; Patel, Bakhtiyari, & Taghavi, 2011).

Plagiarism has been defined by different resources. But one of the best definitions of plagiarism is represented on web site:

"an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author." (, 2013)

In Etymonline, it is also defined as "kidnapper, seducer, plunderer" which is originality since 1597. In American Heritage, it is called as "Literary theft", and in Encyclopedia Britannica is known as "fraudulence, forgery, piracy-practices" (Encyclopedia-Britannica, 2013). Therefore, plagiarism is the act of copying someone else text, idea or language and publish it as it is his/her own work. It is very clear from the above definitions that plagiarism is against the law, and the authors should avoid plagiarism in their own manuscripts.

Nowadays, plagiarism is growing along with increase of publications and academic papers. One of the most important criteria to evaluate the academics is their publications. Therefore, it is very important to help them to increase their publication quality, and make them aware of plagiarism consequences. This paper gives a specific attention to the authors, who plagiarize unconsciously without being aware of the plagiarism. Therefore, the present study is to propose some ethical techniques which can prevent or at least decrease the plagiarism. Beside the ethical techniques, we also present the unethical methods of masking plagiarism, which are employed by the authors who consciously plagiarize. However, in order to decrease the rate of plagiarism, we do not recommend using unethical methods which are not accepted in academia. But it is worth mentioning them to drag librarian and academic lecturers' attention. To evaluate the efficiency of proposed ethical techniques, they are applied in five different texts using 16 students. The results had shown promising efficiency in plagiarism.

2. Plagiarism: Literature & Causes

At the beginning, we discuss the causes of plagiarism, and analyze how an author might commit plagiarism. There are two types of authors who have plagiarism in their manuscripts. The first type is the direct plagiarizing that the author would plagiarize by duplicating another author's text exactly as it is, and pretending as his/her own work. …

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