WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS : UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : WRITING AND WRITERS: PLAGIARISM: Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing






Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and
Other Questionable Writing Practices:
A Guide to Ethical Writing



Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and
Other Questionable Writing Practices:
A Guide to Ethical Writing

The Office of Research Integrity



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26 Guidelines at a Glance


On ethical writing


. Plagiarism of ideas
. Acknowledging the source of our ideas
. Plagiarism of text
. Inappropriate paraphrasing
. Paraphrasing and plagiarism: What the writing guides say
. Examples of paraphrasing: Good and bad
. Paraphrasing highly technical language
. Plagiarism and common knowledge
. Plagiarism and authorship disputes

Self plagiarism

. Redundant and Duplicate (i.e., dual) Publications
. Academic self plagiarism
. Salami Slicing (i.e., data fragmentation)
. Copyright Law
. Copyright Infringement, Fair Use, and Plagiarism
. Text recycling
. Forms of acceptable text recycling
. Borderline/unacceptable cases of text recycling

The Lesser Crimes of Writing

. Carelessness in citing sources
. Relying on an abstract or a preliminary version of a paper while
citing the published version
. Citing sources that were not read or thoroughly understood
. Borrowing extensively from a source but only acknowledging a small
portion of what is borrowed
. Ethically inappropriate writing practices
. Selective reporting of literature
. Selective reporting of methodology
. Selective reporting of results
. Authorship issues and conflicts of interest
. Deciding on authorship
. Establishing authorship
. Authorship in faculty-student collaborations
. A brief overview on conflicts of interest




Content Sampling



26 Guidelines at a Glance on Avoiding Plagiarism


Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing
practices: A guide to ethical writing

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The following guidelines are taken from “Avoiding plagiarism,
self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to
ethical writing” by Miguel Roig.

Guideline 1: An ethical writer ALWAYS acknowledges the contributions of
others and the source of his/her ideas.

Guideline 2: Any verbatim text taken from another author must be enclosed
in quotation marks.

Guideline 3: We must always acknowledge every source that we use in our
writing; whether we paraphrase it, summarize it, or enclose it quotations.

Guideline 4: When we summarize, we condense, in our own words, a
substantial amount of material into a short paragraph or perhaps even into
a sentence.

Guideline 5: Whether we are paraphrasing or summarizing we must always
identify the source of the information.

Guideline 6: When paraphrasing and/or summarizing others work we must
reproduce the exact meaning of the other authors ideas or facts using our
words and sentence structure.

Guideline 7: In order to make substantial modifications to the original
text that result in a proper paraphrase, the author must have a thorough
understanding of the ideas and terminology being used.

Guideline 8: A responsible writer has an ethical responsibility to
readers, and to the author/s from whom s/he is borrowing, to respect
others ideas and words, to credit those from whom we borrow, and whenever
possible, to use ones own words when paraphrasing.

Guideline 9: When in doubt as to whether a concept or fact is common
knowledge, provide a citation.

Guideline 10: Authors who submit a manuscript for publication containing
data, reviews, conclusions, etc., that have already been disseminated in
some significant manner (e.g., published as an article in another journal,
presented at a conference, posted on the internet) must clearly indicate
to the editors and readers the nature of the previous dissemination.

Guideline 11: Authors of complex studies should heed the advice previously
put forth by Angell & Relman (1989). If the results of a single complex
study are best presented as a cohesive single whole, they should not be
partitioned into individual papers. Furthermore, if there is any doubt as
to whether a paper submitted for publication represents fragmented data,
authors should enclose other papers (published or unpublished) that might
be part of the paper under consideration (Kassirer & Angell, 1995).
Similarly, old data that have been merely augmented with additional data
points and that are subsequently presented as a new study can be an
equally serious ethical breach.

Guideline 12: Because some instances of plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and
even some writing practices that might otherwise be acceptable (e.g.,
extensive paraphrasing or quoting of key elements of a book) can
constitute copyright infringement, authors are strongly encouraged to
become familiar with basic elements of copyright law.

Guideline 13: While there are some situations where text recycling is an
acceptable practice, it may not be so in other situations. Authors are
urged to adhere to the spirit of ethical writing and avoid reusing their
own previously published text, unless it is done in a manner consistent
with standard scholarly conventions (e.g., by using of quotations and
proper paraphrasing).

Guideline 14: Authors are strongly urged to double-check their citations.
Specifically, authors should always ensure that each reference notation
appearing in the body of the manuscript corresponds to the correct
citation listed in the reference section and vice versa and that each
source listed in the reference section has been cited at some point in the
manuscript. In addition, authors should also ensure that all elements of a
citation (e.g., spelling of authors names, volume number of journal,
pagination) are derived directly from the original paper, rather than from
a citation that appears on a secondary source. Finally, authors should
ensure that credit is given to those authors who first reported the
phenomenon being studied.

Guideline 15: The references used in a paper should only be those that are
directly related to its contents. The intentional inclusion of references
of questionable relevance for purposes of manipulating a journals or a
papers impact factor or a papers chances of acceptance is an unacceptable
Guideline 16: Authors should follow a simple rule: Strive to obtain the
actual published paper. When the published paper cannot be obtained, cite
the specific version of the material being used, whether it is conference
presentation, abstract, or an unpublished manuscript.

Guideline 17: Generally, when describing others work, do not rely on a
secondary summary of that work. It is a deceptive practice, reflects poor
scholarly standards, and can lead to a flawed description of the work
described. Always consult the primary literature.

Guideline 18: If an author must rely on a secondary source (e.g.,
textbook) to describe the contents of a primary source (e.g., an empirical
journal article), s/he should consult writing manuals used in his or her
discipline to follow the proper convention to do so. Above all, always
indicate the actual source of the information being reported.

Guideline 19: When borrowing heavily from a source, authors should always
craft their writing in a way that makes clear to readers, which ideas are
their own and which are derived from the source being consulted.

Guideline 20: When appropriate, authors have an ethical responsibility to
report evidence that runs contrary to their point of view. In addition,
evidence that we use in support of our position must be methodologically
sound. When citing supporting studies that suffer from methodological,
statistical, or other types of shortcomings, such flaws must be pointed
out to the reader.

Guideline 21: Authors have an ethical obligation to report all aspects of
the study that may impact the independent replicability of their research.

Guideline 22: Researchers have an ethical responsibility to report the
results of their studies according to their a priori plans. Any post hoc
manipulations that may alter the results initially obtained, such as the
elimination of outliers or the use of alternative statistical techniques,
must be clearly described along with an acceptable rationale for using
such techniques.

Guideline 23: Authorship determination should be discussed prior to
commencing a research collaboration and should be based on established
guidelines, such as those of the International Committee of Medical
Journal Editors.

Guideline 24: Only those individuals who have made substantitve
contributions to a project merit authorship in a paper.

Guideline 25: Faculty-student collaborations should follow the same
criteria to establish authorship. Mentors must exercise great care to
neither award authorship to students whose contributions do not merit it,
nor to deny authorship and due credit to the work of students.

Guideline 26: Academic or professional ghost authorship in the sciences is
ethically unacceptable.





Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing
practices: A guide to ethical writing
Table of Contents | Previous | Next

“…taking over the ideas, methods, or written words of another, without
acknowledgment and with the intention that they be taken as the work of
the deceiver.” American Association of University Professors
(September/October, 1989).

As the above quotation states, plagiarism has been traditionally defined
as the taking of words, images, ideas, etc. from an author and presenting
them as ones own. It is often associated with phrases, such as kidnapping
of words, kidnapping of ideas, fraud, and literary theft. Plagiarism can
manifest itself in a variety of ways and it is not just confined to
student papers or published articles or books. For example, consider a
scientist who makes a presentation at a conference and discusses at length
an idea or concept that had already been proposed by someone else and that
is not considered common knowledge. During his presentation, he fails to
fully acknowledge the specific source of the idea and, consequently,
misleads the audience into thinking that he was the originator of that
idea. This, too, may constitute a case of plagiarism. Consider the
following real-life examples of plagiarism and the consequences of the
offenders actions:

A historian resigns from the Pulitzer board after allegations that she
had appropriated text from other sources in one of her books.

A biochemist resigns from a prestigious clinic after accusations that
a book he wrote contained appropriated portions of text from a National
Academy of Sciences report.

A famous musician is found guilty of unconscious plagiarism by
including elements of another musical groups previously recorded song in
one of his new songs that then becomes a hit. The musician is forced to
pay compensation for the infraction.

A college president is forced to resign after allegations that he
failed to attribute the source of material that was part of a college
convocation speech.

A member of Congress running for his partys nomination withdraws from
the presidential race after allegations of plagiarism in one of his

A psychologist has his doctoral degree rescinded after the university
finds that portions of his doctoral dissertation had been plagiarized.

In sum, plagiarism can be a very serious form of ethical misconduct.
For this reason, the concept of plagiarism is universally addressed in all
scholarly, artistic, and scientific disciplines. In the humanities and the
sciences, for example, there are a plethora of writing guides for students
and professionals whose purpose, in part, is to provide guidance to
authors on discipline-specific procedures for acknowledging the
contributions of others. Curiously, when it comes to the topic of
plagiarism, many professional writing guides appear to assume that the
user is already familiar with the concept. In fact, while instruction on
attribution, a key concept in avoiding plagiarism, is almost always
provided, some of the most widely used writing guides do not appear to
offer specific sections on plagiarism. Moreover, those that provide
coverage often fail to go beyond the most basic generalities about this
type of transgression.

Although plagiarism can take many forms there are two major types in
scholarly writing: plagiarism of ideas and plagiarism of text.



Plagiarism of Ideas


Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing
practices: A guide to ethical writing
Table of Contents | Previous | Next

* Appropriating an idea (e.g., an explanation, a theory, a conclusion, a
hypothesis, a metaphor) in whole or in part, or with superficial
modifications without giving credit to its originator.

In the sciences, as in most other scholarly endeavors, ethical writing
demands that ideas, data, and conclusions that are borrowed from others
and used as the foundation of ones own contributions to the literature,
must be properly acknowledged. The specific manner in which we make such
acknowledgement varies from discipline to discipline. However, source
attribution typically takes the form of either a footnote or a reference



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WRITING AND WRITERS: GUIDES AND HANDBOOKS : UNITED STATES: GOVERNMENT : WRITING AND WRITERS: PLAGIARISM: Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing

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