What is Plagiarism & How to Avoid It

What is Plagiarism & How to Avoid It Matthias C. M. Troffaes Durham University, UK 5 November, 2014 1 Outline 1 What is Plagiarsm 2 Why Not Pl...
Author: Byron Brooks
What is Plagiarism & How to Avoid It Matthias C. M. Troffaes Durham University, UK

5 November, 2014

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Outline

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What is Plagiarsm

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Why Not Plagiarise? Possible Consequences

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Further Tips to Avoid Plagiarism

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What is Plagiarism

From Wikipedia [5]: The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. From [1, p. 9]: . . . passing off someone else’s work, whether intentionally or unintentionally, as your own for your own benefit.

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What is Plagiarism: Example Original source [9]

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What is Plagiarism: Example Is this Plagiarism? 1.1 The Prime Numbers A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. A natural number greater than 1 that is not a prime number is called a composite number. For example, 5 is prime because 1 and 5 are its only positive integer factors, whereas 6 is composite because it has the divisors 2 and 3 in addition to 1 and 6. The fundamental theorem of arithmetic establishes the central role of primes in number theory: any integer greater than 1 can be expressed as a product of primes that is unique up to ordering. The uniqueness in this theorem requires excluding 1 as a prime because one can include arbitrarily many instances of 1 in any factorization, e.g., 3, 1 × 3, 1 × 1 × 3, etc. are all valid factorizations of 3. The property of being prime (or not) is called primality. A simple but slow method of verifying the primality of a given number n is known as√trial division. It consists of testing whether n is a multiple of any integer between 2 and n. Algorithms much more efficient than trial division have been devised to test the primality of large numbers. Particularly fast methods are available for numbers of special forms, such as Mersenne numbers. As of April 2014, the largest known prime number has 17,425,170 decimal digits.

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YES! That was plagiarism!! Bad practice 1: Copying text from sources without citing the source at the location where you copy the text.

DO NOT DO THIS!

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What is Plagiarism: Examples A Student Writes the Following. Is This Plagiarism? 1.1 The Prime Numbers A prime number [9] (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. A natural number greater than 1 that is not a prime number is called a composite number. For example, 5 is prime because 1 and 5 are its only positive integer factors, whereas 6 is composite because it has the divisors 2 and 3 in addition to 1 and 6. The fundamental theorem of arithmetic establishes the central role of primes in number theory: any integer greater than 1 can be expressed as a product of primes that is unique up to ordering. The uniqueness in this theorem requires excluding 1 as a prime because one can include arbitrarily many instances of 1 in any factorization, e.g., 3, 1 × 3, 1 × 1 × 3, etc. are all valid factorizations of 3. The property of being prime (or not) is called primality. A simple but slow method of verifying the primality of a given number n is known as√trial division. It consists of testing whether n is a multiple of any integer between 2 and n. Algorithms much more efficient than trial division have been devised to test the primality of large numbers. Particularly fast methods are available for numbers of special forms, such as Mersenne numbers. As of April 2014, the largest known prime number has 17,425,170 decimal digits.

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Quite arguably, YES! This is still plagiarism!! Why? Attribution is unclear. The reader cannot tell which parts of the text were copied from [9] and which parts were not. Bad practice 2: Putting citations at the start of a paragraph, section, or chapter, without making clear what you have copied and what you have written yourself.

DO NOT DO THIS! 9

What is Plagiarism: Examples A Student Writes the Following. Is This Plagiarism? 1.1 The Prime Numbers Quoting from [9]: A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. A natural number greater than 1 that is not a prime number is called a composite number. For example, 5 is prime because 1 and 5 are its only positive integer factors, whereas 6 is composite because it has the divisors 2 and 3 in addition to 1 and 6. The fundamental theorem of arithmetic establishes the central role of primes in number theory: any integer greater than 1 can be expressed as a product of primes that is unique up to ordering. The uniqueness in this theorem requires excluding 1 as a prime because one can include arbitrarily many instances of 1 in any factorization, e.g., 3, 1 × 3, 1 × 1 × 3, etc. are all valid factorizations of 3.

We will prove the fundamental theorem of arithmetic in Chapter 3. Quoting from [9]: The property of being prime (or not) is called primality. A simple but slow method of verifying the primality of a given number n is known as√trial division. It consists of testing whether n is a multiple of any integer between 2 and n. Algorithms much more efficient than trial division have been devised to test the primality of large numbers. Particularly fast methods are available for numbers of special forms, such as Mersenne numbers. As of April 2014, the largest known prime number has 17,425,170 decimal digits.

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What is Plagiarism: Examples

That was not plagiarism. Why? Attribution is absolutely clear. The reader can immediately tell, without any room for ambiguity, which sections of the text were copied from where. Good practice 1: When you copy text, indicate this by writing “Quoting from []:” and then put the copied text in an indented paragraph immediately after. Question: Do you lose marks for quoting sections ad verbatim (with proper attribution using “quoting from [. . . ]: . . . ”)? For most of you, 95%–100% of your project will be based on the work of others. However, unless the quotation in its exact form is essential to your discussion, you do not want to quote literally because it does not show that you actually understand something; instead, to show that you understand, you should paraphrase. . . 11

What is Plagiarism: Examples A Student Writes the Following. Is This Plagiarism?

1.1 The Prime Numbers Definition 1 Any natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than itself (besides 1) is called a prime number. Definition 2 Non-prime numbers greater than 1 are called composite numbers. For example, 7 is prime because its only divisors are 1 and 7. On the other hand, 10 is composite because it has the divisors 2 and 5 in addition to 1 and 10. Theorem 3 (The fundamental theorem of arithmetic) Every integer greater than 1 can be expressed as a product of primes that is unique up to ordering. Because one can include arbitrarily many instances of 1 in any factorization, we must exclude 1 as a prime in the above theorem. 1.2 Verifying Primality ...

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YES! That was plagiarism!! Why? The text is obviously closely based on the original, presumably to put the original text into the context of the report. This is called paraphrasing. Quoting from [8]: A paraphrase is a restatement of the meaning of a text or passage using other words. Bad practice 3: Paraphrasing a text without citing the source at the location where you are paraphrasing.

DO NOT DO THIS! 13

What is Plagiarism: Examples A Student Writes the Following. Is This Plagiarism? This chapter closely follows [9]. 1.1 The Prime Numbers Definition 1 (based on [9, 1st paragraph, first sentence]) Any natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than itself (besides 1) is called a prime number. Definition 2 (based on [9, 1st paragraph, second sentence]) Non-prime numbers greater than 1 are called composite numbers. The following example is based on [9, 1st paragraph, third sentence], where we have modified the numbers to reflect more closely my personal favourite ones: 7 is prime because its only divisors are 1 and 7; on the other hand, 10 is composite because it has the divisors 2 and 5 in addition to 1 and 10. Theorem 3 (The fundamental theorem of arithmetic) (taken from [9, 1st paragraph, fourth sentence]) Every integer greater than 1 can be expressed as a product of primes that is unique up to ordering. We must exclude 1 as a prime in the above theorem, ‘because one can include arbitrarily many instances of 1 in any factorization’ [9, 1st paragraph, last sentence]. ... 14

That was not plagiarism. Why? Attribution is absolutely clear. Contribution of student relative to the source is also absolutely clear. The reader can immediately tell, without any room for ambiguity, which sections of the text were copied and/or paraphrased from where. Question: Even though it’s not plagiarism, was this example a good way of paraphrasing a text? You will get better marks by sticking less to the original source, and writing your own text from scratch. Writing your own text from scratch demonstrates much more convincingly that you truly understand something!

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Good practice 2: When you paraphrase text, indicate this by writing “based on []:” or when at the start of a sentence, “Following [],”, and then put the paraphrased text immediately after in the same sentence. Good practice 3: When you copy parts of an original sentence whilst paraphrase text, indicate this by putting quotation marks around the copied parts, and end the sentence with [] just before the final period. Good practice 4: When you copy just a single sentence, you may also just say so by writing “copied from []:” as an alternative to the “quoted from []” style. Good practice 5: If you paraphrase, indicate the differences from the source and your reasons for those differences. This is a good demonstration of scholarship! Good practice 6: Include page and line numbers with every citation, e.g.[, p. 12, ll. 13–19]. 16

What is Plagiarism: Examples A Student Writes the Following. Is This Plagiarism? 1.1 What are Prime Numbers? Let N denote the set of natural numbers excluding zero, that is {1, 2, . . . }. Prime numbers are those elements of N that allow us to reconstruct any other natural number through multiplication. More formally [9, ¶1] [4, Book VII, Defs. 11&13]: Definition 1 Let n ∈ N. We say that n is prime whenever

(∀m ∈ N) (n/m ∈ N =⇒ m ∈ {1, n}) . We say that n is composite if it is not prime and n ≥ 2. In other words, n is prime if it is divisible by only 1 and n, and n is composite if it can be written as a non-trivial (i.e. excluding 1 and n) product of primes. Primes were studied as early as 300 BC by Euclid [4, Book VII], and even earlier *** need citation ***. Euclid [4, Book VII, Props. 30–32] proved that every number can uniquely factorized into primes. Formally [2, Sec. 1.1.1]: Q Theorem 2 Every n ∈ N can be written as n = ki=1 mi where every mi is prime. Moreover, the numbers mi are unique up to a permutation. Finding the unique factorisation of a number into primes is a hard problem [2, p. ***]. For this reason, prime numbers lend themselves quite well to a variety of interesting applications, including for example cryptography [2, p. ***].

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That was not plagiarism. Why? Paraphrasing of the ideas of various texts. No text of any source was copied in process of writing. Text was written, and after it was written, references have been added in. You get good marks: for rephrasing existing work into your own words with proper attribution, for putting together pieces from different sources into a coherent whole (our example scores quite badly in this respect!), and for making clear what is your own contribution to scientific knowledge relative to existing work in the literature.

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Good practice 7: Paraphrase the ideas of a text rather than the text itself. Good practice 8: When you write about a topic, write from the top of your head, and make sure you have not read the original earlier on that day. Adapt your schedule accordingly: write in the morning (and do not read any of your sources!), read in the afternoon (and do not write up anything!).

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German defence minister resigns in PhD plagiarism row [6]

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Jane Goodall book held back after accusations of plagiarism [3]

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Jane Goodall blames ‘chaotic note taking’ for plagiarism controversy [7]

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Jane Goodall: Some Online Comments. . . AlWest [3]: If Ms. Goodall is going to ape others she should not monkey around with her citations. DoctorMikeReddy [7]: In one single act, Jane Goodall has set academic integrity back several decades. She should be ashamed! tiordalam [7]: No, I wouldn’t accept it, nor would my university’s assessors for discipline accept the pathetic excuse of chaotic note-taking. I’m afraid Ms Goodall has destroyed trust in herself, and in her colleagues. She should be more than ashamed.

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Good practice 9: If you take notes, and you do copy text from source, make sure that you indicate so very clearly, using a marker, using quotation marks, underlining, etc. and also be sure to take note of the original source. Good practice 10: Keep a bibliography of everything you read.

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Further Tips to Avoid Plagiarism Follow good practice! Use the bibtex format to store your bibliography. Example:

https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mcmtroffaes/ bibliography/master/all.bib Use \cite[p.˜X]{label} to insert references into your LATEX source. Do not write with your sources in front of you. Keep your reading and writing times separate (ideally with a night of sleep in between). At all times in your text it should be clear what ideas come from yourself (say so: original research gets you marks!), what ideas are based on other work, and which text is copied or paraphrased from other work. It is hard to cite too much: if in doubt, cite. And remember. . . Paraphrasing from different sources is good. A good citation style earns you extra marks. 27

References I [1] Jude Carroll. A handbook for deterring plagiarism in higher education. Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, 2002. [2] Richard Crandall and Carl Pomerance. Prime Numbers – A Computational Perspective. Springer, 2001. [3] Alison Flood. Jane goodall book held back after accusations of plagiarism. The Gardian, March 2013. URL: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/mar/25/ jane-goodall-book-accused-plagiarising-wikipedia. [4] Sir Thomas L. Heath. The thirteen books of Euclid’s Elements translated from the text of Heiberg with introduction and commentary. University Press, 1908. Reprint: Dover Publ., New York, 1956. URL: http://aleph0.clarku.edu/˜djoyce/java/elements/toc.html. [5] Plagiarism. Oxford Dictionaries. URL: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/plagiarism. 29

References II [6] Helen Pidd. German defence minister resigns in PhD plagiarism row. The Gardian, March 2011. URL: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/mar/01/ german-defence-minister-resigns-plagiarism. [7] Matthew Taylor. Jane goodall blames ‘chaotic note taking’ for plagiarism controversy. The Gardian, April 2014. URL: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/01/ jane-goodall-seeds-of-hope-plagiarism. [8] Paraphrase. Wikipedia. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraphrase. [9] Prime number. Wikipedia. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_number.

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Questions?

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