Milton S. Hershey
When we hear the word “plagiarism”, the first that comes to my mind is that it is the science about anything that leads to success. “Plagiarus” is “Plagiarism” in Latin which means to kidnap or abduct1 and “ism” is the suffix that is commonly used to in the names of many beliefs or conditions, for example, “baptism.” This suffix derives from the Greek word “ismós” that means “taking side with" or "imitation of.2" Thus, Thus, the terminology forplagiarism means the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving credit to the respectful owner3. Being a young scientist, I think that this course is mainly about the origin of the scientific misconduct and its ties to our daily lives when it comes to publishing our scientific work in scientific journals. Being a Christian in the scientific world, when I hear the “plagiarism” or “retraction”, I think of a saying from what my aunt told me, “What's done in darkness will come to light.” What is happening to many scientists around the world today is that they are being arrested or accused for unethical practices. In the year of 80 AD, the first case of plagiarism occurred when a Roman poet, Martial, was found copying and reciting other poets’ work. But during that era, the etymology of the word plagiarism was used differently compared what is known to us today4. Before I turn our attention to those who were caught plagiarizing in the scientific world, I would like to share what I discovered during my literature review on this topic. The first thing I noticed was that in 1988 Joe Biden, who was the vice president for the former president Barack Obama, was running for president of the United States of America but was forced to withdraw from the presidential campaign due to his plagiarized speech from Neil Kinnock5. The second event that struck me the most was Republican Presidential Candidate Ben Carson in 2015. He was exposed plagiarizing other online sources for his book, America the Beautiful, which was published in 20126.
I then would like to turn our attention to the many cases of plagiarism that occurred in the scientific field. Hwang Woo-suk, a Korean researcher from Seoul National University, who was once known as one of the top experts in the field of stem cell research. Until in 2006, he fabricated a series of experiments when he was cloning human embryonic stem cells and was published in Science which led him to two years of prison for embezzlement and bioethics law violations7. In 2012, Craig Grimes, a former professor at Pennsylvania State University, pleaded guilty for a $3 million dollar research grant fraud from the National Institutes of Health and Advanced Research Projects Agency. He will be spending up to 41 months in federal prison and have to pay more than $660,000 in restitution to both the university and the two federal agencies. More than $500,000 of the $1.2 million grant that he received from the NIH was supposed to be used to research blood gas measurement as a means of detecting a childhood disease and to conduct clinical research at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, respectively8.
Donald McCabe, a retired professor at Rutgers University, and the International Center for Academic Integrity conducted a research survey and it showed that 43 percent of graduate students admitted that they cheated on written assignments or cheating on exams9. What struck me the most is that another survey showed that 54 percent of undergraduate students think that cheating is ethical in their college career10. Since I would like to become a college professor someday in the near future, I would need to start coming up with an action plan that will help prevent plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to have students to provide a rough draft and submitting it to a plagiarism checker and/or text mining before submitting the final draft. The second way to prevent plagiarism is to set different deadlines for rough draft, sources and final draft of the assigned research paper.