When working on a writing assignment, it is common to compare your own ideas with those of other authors. The goal is to develop an idea or explicate its nuances. Students, teacher-researchers and professional writers often carry out this kind of work. They may cite a psychological study, an excerpt from a scientific article, a passage from a law article, a collective publication, etc. They are required to respect citation standards and intellectual property in order to avoid plagiarism and associated penaltiesBut what exactly is plagiarism? Are there different forms of plagiarism?




Definitions of plagiarism in general


Definition from the French Intellectual Property Code

"Any unauthorised representation or reproduction, whether whole or partial and in whatever form, is illegal. It is the same for a translation, adaptation or transformation, arrangement or reproduction by any technique or process whatsoever.” (Legifrance, Art. L 122-4).


Definition from Wikipedia encyclopedia 

"Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work.[1][2] The idea remains problematic with unclear definitions and unclear rules.[3][4][5] The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as an ideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement.

Plagiarism is considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics. It is subject to sanctions like expulsion.

Plagiarism is not a crime per se but in academia and industry, it is a serious ethical offense,[6][7] and cases of plagiarism can constitute copyright infringement." Sourcehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism

Definitions plagiarism

Paraphrasing or rewording without citing an author

Paraphrasing is when you reformulate or rewrite an author's words. You extract the main idea and state it in your own words. The use of paraphrasing is encouraged in writing a dissertation, thesis or other research-based work. However, it must be accompanied by bibliographic references. Therein lies the problem. It is not always clear how to cite the author of a paraphrased idea. Worse is if you start to believe the idea originated from you. This is considered plagiarism. So yes, paraphrase, but make sure to indicate the source.

When can plagiarism be said to exist?

Self-plagiarism or recycling old work

As part of your university studies, you may be asked to research a subject that you've already explored. You might think that it would therefore be easy to recycle your old assignment. However, the teacher has asked students to produce original writing. Self-plagiarism is punishable, just like regular plagiarism.

"Authors often borrow their data or experiment results, use them in their current work, and present them as brand new. It goes the same for even taking the old published works' ideas, cues, or phrases." The Only Plagiarism Guide You Will Need - eBook by Typeset.

There is still a way for you to use the ideas you've developed in a previous assignment. Just cite your source. But how do you cite yourself in your own writing? To find out, click on the article 👇 below.


Uncited images and graphics

Teachers and students often use images or graphics to enhance a lesson, illustrate an idea, or analyse facts and figures. Even though teachers are permitted not to cite the source of their images and graphics, this is not acceptable for students. Indeed, the pedagogical exception is a privilege granted to teachers. However, we recommend that they set an example so that their students can develop best practices for citing sources by following the teacher's example. For any academic assignment, remember to state the sources for your images, diagrams and graphics.

understand plagiarism

Translation without citing an author

Translating a relevant passage does not exempt you from citing bibliographic references. In this situation, you can indicate that the passage has been translated. State the original language, author, year of publication and where you found the quotation.

The same rule applies if you are paraphrasing-translating. Namely, if you use an idea that was developed in a different language than your assignment. Copyright must also be respected.

know if plagiarism

Double quotation with a single citation

A double quotation can seem complex. However, it simply consists of when an author uses a quotation from another author. The rule is to cite both authors, the primary source and the secondary source. Sometimes, only one of the two authors is cited due to a lack of knowledge about how to handle this situation. We explain everything in the article 👇 below.

how to eliminate plagiarism

Uncited anonymous authors

A writer may not want to give their name, yet still agrees to share their idea. You should state the source of the passage you used and replace the author's name with “Anonymous author”. For everything else, you’ll follow the same steps as for other quotations, with quotation marks, italics, the appropriate citation standard and listing the source in your bibliography.

The special case of common knowledge

Widely known historical facts do not need to have a bibliographic reference. But what should you consider to be an historical fact? Would something that is commonly known in France be well known in other countries? To avoid being accused of plagiarism, we recommend that you always cite your sources, even when it comes to matters of common knowledge.

what is plagiarism

Slideshow or visual presentation without citing sources

When giving a presentation, such as a slideshow, it is common not to see any sources cited. However, even in this situation, you can get penalised for plagiarism if you forget to respect copyright.

Once again, an exception is granted to teachers under the auspices of the pedagogical exception.

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Citation standards not followed

When citing bibliographic sources, all research-based work should follow a clearly defined method: the citation standard. Sometimes, an academic institution will prescribe a particular standard for students' work. You should therefore check your institution's internal regulations. There are several citation standards, such as Harvard Reference System, APA, Chicago Style, ABNT, etc. A citation standard defines what to cite (author's name, publication date, article title, etc.), in what order, the source's formatting (in parentheses, brackets, footnote, etc.) and the location of the bibliographic reference (in the body of the text, a footnote, the bibliography, etc.).


There, now you know the definitions of plagiarism.

However, it's not always easy to know if you've plagiarised or not. Have you put all quoted passages in quotation marks and cited the source properly? Does the formatting follow the citation standard chosen by the University? Did you always include the footnote?


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