Plagiarism can be commonly understood as an act of using other’s words or ideas without giving due credit/ without acknowledging the original author. Using of even small portion of the work without credit to author will amount to plagiarism.
Talking about plagiarism, the most common question that arises is why the universities must take plagiarism seriously. The answer to this question is straight forward, i.e. in order to encourage thought process and motivate students for expressing their thought. Plagiarism is another form of copying where there is no application of mind. Universities, primary purpose is to empower the students with knowledge and make them capable of generating new creative ideas and expressions. Plagiarism is a menace and if not controlled then the new creative and original expressions will be limited to imagination, and content market will suffer from lack of innovative and novel contents.
In view thereof, in order to keep a check on plagiarism, the universities may take into consideration the following:
- Promote original expression by Students for any research paper or thesis or projects.
- Promote reference to others work but with proper acknowledgement / citation.
- Promote set standard or style of citation/ reference in order to make research/ work of student more authentic and identify source of contents.
- Promote word limits/ page limits with instructions on fonts, spacing, footnotes etc. in order to encourage students to make specific and content enriched drafts.
- Promote consultation and assist content structuring on the proposed topics for research / project.
- Promote regular checks and balance, on contents prepare by students in form of viva.
- Promote a final chapter on “Analysis of the Author/ Researcher”, wherein the student may provide his understanding and conclusion on the overall project/ work.
- Promote paraphrasing as the work of paraphrasing encourages the students to read and write the reference contents in his own words, which ultimately may provide an opportunity for understanding the contents with his own expression, however, even in case of paraphrasing citations/ acknowledgment is mandatory.
- Promote checks on plagiarism by verifying the contents through authentic plagiarism software like Turnitin etc.
- Promote reference/ use of contents from other authors with following checks (variable but may be restricted to):
- Content similarity from Single Author – Preferably Not more than 15%
- Content similarity from a single Journal – Preferably Not more than 20%
- Content similarity from available works (Overall) – May vary between 25% – 40 %.
- Promote finalizing the draft once the student is able restructure contents as per the standards finalized by University in terms of content similarity/ citation standards or style etc.
The above mentioned are few policies that are to be taken into consideration, by academicians / Universities, before finalizing any research / thesis / projects. The content market in India is fast growing and access to growing contents is growing much faster, and therefore, it is very important for academicians and universities to ensure the work prepared by students are properly acknowledged and cited in order to give due credit to authors of reference in the work.