Plagiarism and Academic Integrity Plagiarism is the act of taking credit, either deliberately or inadvertently, for another person’s intellectual property. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary online, to ‘plagiarize’ means: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own, use (another’s production) without crediting the source, to commit literary theft, present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source (merriam-webster.com, n.d.). Intellectual property extends to a person’s thoughts, ideas, experiences, and/or academic or professional work. Simply put, it is an expression of original ideas and just like an original invention is protected by copyright laws (Office of Policy and International Affairs, 2018). The University of the People (UoPeople) Undergraduate Catalog (University of the People, n.d.) further defines plagiarism as “submitting a paper that was the result of someone else’s efforts but is represented as one’s own work … copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up majority significant portion of one’s own work …”(University of the People, n.d., p.134).
In College Paper Professor Lovelit case study (On Course, Inc., n.d.) Reggie committed plagiarism and would have violated the UoPeople academic policies. Reggie’s primary error was attempting to pass off someone else’s paper as his own. Even though Reggie tried to edit and revise the Internet paper, it is stated in UoPeople Undergraduate Catalog that “copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up [a] majority significant portion of one’s own work even while attempting to paraphrase and change the text”(University of the People, n.d., p.134) is still plagiarism. Reggie’s poor planning and lack of preparation, while not against UoPeople policies, were the contributing factors leading to the plagiarism. Arnie’s plagiarism of the same Internet paper was an independent act from Reggie’s. Both acts of plagiarism, by Arnie and Reggie, may share a common source however; each would be a standalone violation of UoPeople policy.
When looking at the case study the characters would have a descending level of responsibility. Reggie would be the most liable in this situation. It was his poor planning, not heeding the direction of his academic support counselor, sourcing an essay from the Internet, and lastly trying to pass the obtained essay as his own that resulted in him receiving an ‘F’ for the final course grade. The second most culpable is Professor Lovelit but not in a way most would think. Professor Lovelit while doing her due diligence discovered the original essay online. Her culpability extends to the fact that she entered the ‘F’ grade. However the responsibility still belongs to Reggie. Arnie is next in line; his choice to plagiarize the online essay suggested to him by Reggie was just that ‘his choice.’ It may have enlightened Professor Lovelit to the unethical use of an online essay; I have to believe in her due diligence and being the submission was not on the assigned topic, she would have discovered it either way. The least responsible is Sally the academic support counselor; on several occasions she tried to encourage Reggie to finish the assignment properly. Reggie repeatedly ignored her guidance. Ultimately the full and sole responsibility for the plagiarism belongs to Reggie for he was the one that turned in someone else’s work as his own.
In order to be certain throughout my studies at UoPeople that I will not inadvertently plagiarize I plan to error on the side of caution. I live my academic career by the moniker “When in doubt; cite!” I believe it is better to cite my work in every instance were it ‘might’ be required than to miss a citation and misrepresent my work. This also has the add benefit of allowing me to verify that a substantial portion of the work is my own thoughts.
- Office of Policy and International Affairs. (2018, May 16). Intellectual Property (IP) Policy. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://www.uspto.gov/intellectual-property-ip-policy
- On Course, Inc. (n.d.). Case Study – College Paper Professor Lovelit. Retrieved from https://my.uopeople.edu/pluginfile.php/324969/mod_book/chapter/165565/Unit Case Study – Revised.pdf
- Plagiarize. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarize
- University of the People. (n.d.). Undergraduate Catalog University of the People September 1, 2018. – August 31, 2019. Retrieved from https://3w1fdw3g237j15p5421zov1f-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/UoPeople-Undergraduate-Catalog-AY2019.compressed.pdf.