Over the past couple of years, a common devotion in academia towards the motto ‘publish or perish’, coupled with an increasing demand for research in light of the global pandemic, has caused a rise in the number of scientific publications. This rise is accompanied by a 10% rise in cases of plagiarism, especially among new students and inexperienced researchers. Therefore, there is a need to re-inculcate the importance of good academic writing principles in students and junior researchers.
Communicating one’s research remains the end goal of most scientific projects. Whether it is the description of a new automation system using assembly lines of robots, or the results of a controlled failure test for an electric car part, all new research papers constitute new knowledge (i.e., the results and interpretation of one’s research) which adds on to existing work. In the process of writing a paper, one would typically refer to this existing body of work. This may result in the deliberate or accidental use of another researcher’s ideas or language to explain the current work and its background. Doing this without citing the previous study is called plagiarism.
Plagiarism is highly unethical, and authors must strive to avoid it. One must remember to cite all sources clearly and completely. However, merely checking your references or changing a few words to paraphrase the original source is not enough.
How then, do we avoid plagiarizing another’s work? This article will try to answer some general questions that authors may have about the topic.
What are the types of plagiarism?