How to Understand and Take Actions to Prevent Plagiarism
Let us begin this discussion with an understanding of the term "Plagiarism". It means literature theft.It is unauthorized use of the intellectual property of some one else and thus.this also can be called as a breach of the copy right.The 1995 Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary defines Plagiarism as the "Use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as ones own original work."(Wikipedia)
It may comprise of any one or more of the following conditions:
1.Direct use of the sentences and paragraphs from another person's article(Copy and paste)
2.Rewriting another person's article using slightly different words and sentences.New perspectives or insights have not been contributed.
3.Using in own creation ,the information,concepts & ideas presented in a published article without acknowledging original author.(Or,there is no reference to availability of such a piece of text)
4.Taking credit for some other person's work of literature.
B.Reasons behind Plagiarism:
Why would such a thing ever happen ?
In my view,probable situations for Plagiarism are as follows:
1.The author is not knowledgeable on the given topic.The ready-made thoughts of an expert are picked up and used in own article without any modifications .
2.In-spite of having the knowledge and experience ,the author is unable to present thoughts properly due to:
a.Mental lethargy and hence picks up ready thoughts of another expert .
b.Lack of creativity.Hence is unable to present the thoughts in a correct sequence .Picks up ready stuff from another expert.
c.Lacks self confidence and thus lifts ready made text.
3.The author is quite naive and has intentions of giving reference/credit to the original author but:
a.Forgets to provide a link /reference in the article due to act of neglect.
b.Does not know how to provide the link /reference.
4.The author is not aware that such a reference needs to be explicitly mentioned in the article.
C.Prevention of Plagiarism at source :
Now,is it not possible to prevent such conflicting situation through a proactive approach ?
Here are a few suggestions which are quite simple to practice :
1.Identify own strengths :
Identify topics where one can write without referring any other published work.
2.Carry out adequate thinking and brain storming before any new article.
3.Practice putting own thoughts into different words and phrases.
4.Where ever it is essential to pick up exactly the same sentence structure or paragraph ,(for showing the authenticity of information ) do provide a correct reference to the original work and put this under inverted comas ("quotes").
If possible, provide a link back to the source web page.Otherwise, mention the Title/Author/Page no of the book.
5.If the source of certain information is unknown,it is advisable to carry out further research. If the origin of the information is still not available,then it is better to mention that this is from an unknown/unconfirmed source .
Plagiarism is always detrimental to an author's own reputation and future-prospect.Therefore,it is highly advisable to avoid such situations which can be even remotely construed as Plagiarism.
Best of luck.