Friday, January 29, 2010

Chemistry plagiarism at University of Kentucky?

In an editorial in the Kernel, one finds the text:

according to a Jan. 25 Kernel article, reports of plagiarism are on the rise at UK. Students are especially being caught in the disciplines of English and chemistry. Although this increase could be attributed to advancements in technology that make it easier to spot plagiarism, some cases may occur because students are ignorant of proper source citation.

Plagiarism in English papers is understandable, but chemistry....?

Note a link to UKentucky which includes text with examples of plagiarism:

Example 1: Direct copying from original sources.

Most commonly, this involves using one or more sentences verbatim from your original source (with or without footnotes). This is completely unacceptable. If you copy your source text you must put the passage in quotes or offset the passage. However, extensive quoting of this nature is generally frowned upon in scientific writing and indicates that you have made little original contribution to the work.
Do not be fooled into thinking that you can copy sentences from textbooks or journal articles and get away with it. The shift in your writing style is usually quite obvious as is the ease with which you suddenly start discussing unfamiliar terms or concepts. Your instructors know far more about the subject material than you do and are quite familiar with the common sources of information on each subject.

The best way to avoid accidental copying (it is a still a violation whether you meant to or not), is to read the passage and then express it in your own words. Afterwards, compare your text to the original and make sure that they are sufficiently different. Take care to avoid paraphrasing

IPBiz notes that UKentucky does not adopt the concept of "inadvertent plagiarism," so Glenn Poshard needs to steer clear of this place.

Also of note from UKentucky: Consider: One could not copy a $75 text, put a footnote after each sentence and then sell it as his own original textbook for $35. Likewise, you can not do the same with a lab report or other assignment IPBiz wonders if UK is talking about selling lab reports?

UK also noted: Yes, sometimes there is no good way to make the sentence substantially different and still convey the information with the same effectiveness. It is perhaps OK to do this once or twice in an assignment, but certainly no more than that. Remember, the wording must be your own! Express information in your own words.


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