Qiao Yan Lim

What is plagiarism?

World Association of medical editors define plagiarism as , “the use of others’ published and unpublished ideas or words without permission, and presenting them as new and original rather than derived from an existing source.” A more modern definition of plagiarism is known as the , “ Most common form of stealing someone else’s material.” (Kuhn & Wagner,2015) .Plagiarism can be seen as a worldwide problem which does not only fall between the borders of tertiary institutions.Many view plagiarism as an intended act of dishonesty however, it may also occur unintentionally as a failure to present borrowed information in proper citation of public sources. Plagiarism holds a huge threat to originality and as technology develops and there is an increase to the access of new information, so will more individuals fall prey to plagiarism.There are three forms of plagiarism. Intentionally claiming work done by others as one’s own work, using published information without proper use of citation and a failure to carry out citation accurately to acknowledge the publication source.

Even when experiments are made on humans take into consideration that you have to remember that you need the consent of every individual used for the stats before releasing any data that may concern the subject. All experimental procedures used to obtain the data must be legal.

Types of plagiarism


Many people believe that you cannot plagiarise your own work as the term ‘plagiarism’ refers to copying the work of another individual and making it your own.

• Using material you previously published again in a new publication without referencing it.

• Once you sign over the copyright, the work is no longer owned by you.


• When you intentionally plan to steal the work of another person and use it as your own.

• There is existing software to detect plagiarism.

Dual publication

• The publication of the same article in more than one journal.


• Borrowing the ideas and opinions from an original source and adding a few more words or phrases to avoid crediting the author.

• This type of plagiarism usually occurs due to a lack of understanding by the writer.


Cryptomnesia is a phenomenon that occurs frequently in the academic world where the author brings forth his/ her own ideas which turn out to be inadvertent plagiarisms of work that already exists. At times individuals forget the authors of work that they had previously read and as a result they do not see the borrowed work as plagiarized.

• Attribute another individuals ideas to your own thinking.

• Amnesia of the original source

• Belief that you are the originator of an idea

• Cognitive psychology approved this term and sees it as real

The Ghost Writer

• The writer turns in another’s work, word-for word, as his or her own.

In-Text Citation

In-text citation refers to citation t after the use of any information from an additional source. “It is important to be specific when it comes to acknowledging the use of any information from a publication as this allows for readers to trace the development and credibility of ideas should the need arise.” (Qiao Yan Lim & Nather, 2015)

Consequences of Plagiarism

Often individuals consider only the short-term benefits of convenience which unfortunately leads to long-term regret and results.

  1. Destroys academic reputation

You do not only lose creditability, your work is also lost confidence in and may no longer be seen as valid in some cases.

  1. There are legal repercussions

Copyright laws are not to be broken, thus the legal implications of plagiarism are highly severe. It is not every day that legal action takes place against those who plagiarise however, when it does the individual is affected in a negative manner. Legal action depending on the severity and extent of plagiarism can lead to

• Legal fines

• Community service and to a large extent

• Imprisonment

Avoiding plagiarism

When trying to understand plagiarism remember to always refer back to the original owner of the data you wish to use. If it was not written by you it is not yours and needs to be referenced and if you are the author it is still necessary to give yourself credit. Remaining original is the key to avoid plagiarism.

A tip to avoid plagiarizing is to proofread the paragraph or sentence several times to gain an understanding of what has being written, you then need to, “keep track of your research by accurately recording all information about any publication source used to allow for easy citation. When information is copied wholesale, be sure to place them in quotation marks! Remember to cite the sources of any material used and when in doubt, give credit anyway! Be able to familiarise yourself with your area of research.” (Qiao Yan Lim & Nather, 2015)

Previously used data should still be referenced whether it be a graph or a text, it should be indicated in citation and credit should be given to publisher. “If a figure or a table is reproduced from a published source, permission must be taken from the copyright holder (usually, the publisher) and at least one co-author of the source.” ( Lakhtakia, 2012)

Steps that can be taken to assist with referencing

Step 1: Identify the type of material that you are using.

Step 2: Note the required information for proper citation.

Step 3: Present the information in the correct format.


It is quite important to refrain from plagiarising, and whoever gets caught for using someone else’s work should face punishment. Hence it is of paramount importance for students in institutions of higher learning to understand what plagiarism is and its consequences.