Plagiarism is the biggest scare in academia. You can get into serious trouble when being accused of plagiarism. What makes things even worse, plagiarism in particular, and copyright infringement, in general, are complex issues not easy to understand at once. Here are some facts that will help you with it.
Fact #1. Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement are both illegal and actionable
Copyright Act answers for the detailed description of what copyright infringement and namely, plagiarism is. Those descriptions are not written in stones — sometimes changes are added, due to the changing environment, new technologies, etc. The last significant changes were added in 1989, and now another set of adjustments is being prepared. Also, almost every big educational institution has its own Honor Code set of rules, which include the description of plagiarism.
Fact #2. Getting inspired is not stealing
You don’t have to list everything that inspired you to write a particular essay. Of course, it is a fine line between getting inspired and borrowing ideas, and when it comes to essay writing, you should decide for yourself which one is truer. In most cases, inspiration is something very remote when you don’t use a source in any form, just the mood, the attitude, some vague ideas.
Fact #3. Incorrect citing and formatting can be seen as plagiarism in academia
Formatting rules are important. They serve not only to make your paper look neat but also to help you avoid any plagiarism-related trouble. If you fail to cite other works correctly, you will be accused of plagiarism. If you put some names in references but don’t use in-text citations, or vice versa, the sources will be seen as not cited properly. Here, only your professor will decide whether to call it plagiarism or not.
Fact #4. Paraphrasing without citing is still plagiarism
Paraphrasing without citing is, for now, the most common reason for plagiarism accusations among students. Students tend to think that if they retell something with their own words and don’t show the source, it is legal because they don’t copy. It is a wrong and dangerous approach. If you don’t have enough time or the assignment is too difficult for you right now, it is better to address professional essay writers from EssayLib, instead of compromising on quality and risking with plagiarism.
Fact #5. Direct quote without quotation marks but with a reference is plagiarism
It is a small thing, but you still can get caught with it. Don’t forget about quotation marks. Most of the essays should not include more than 5-10% of direct quotations, and students try to go around this rule, using just references and in-text citations for copied texts. Just don’t do it.
Fact #6. Common knowledge, generic content is not considered plagiarism
If something is considered to be common knowledge, facts which are known and accepted by everyone, generic information that doesn’t need proof or has too many proofs, that one source cannot be or should not be cited, you can skip using in-text citation and references. However, make sure that this information is truly common knowledge, not just a “logical statement.”
Fact #7. Hyperlinks save you from nothing, use proper citation instead!
Hyperlinks are never considered to be proper citations in any academic work. When you are writing a blog entry or post something on Facebook, and want to give a link as a proof, it works. When writing an essay, you can (and sometimes should) use a hyperlink in a “references” part of your paper, but not instead of in-text citations.
Fact #8. ESL students get caught on plagiarism more often than ENL students
It is logical, because the most common case of plagiarism is paraphrasing without citing, and it is harder for ESL students to do it without getting caught. The study proves that it is also because ESL students rightfully experience more problems dealing with a load of writing assignments in college or university.
Fact #9. Plagiarism cases keep rising, and it is not only the students’ fault
Despite all the measures taken against plagiarism, the number of cases keeps rising. Not only students should take blame. Colleges and universities put too much pressure on students, the learning plan is often far from adequate, and students simply have no other choice. The yearly programs should be revised in order to reduce the number of plagiarism cases, but the punishment for those cases should stay tough, as plagiarism dramatically reduces the level of education worldwide.