What exactly is
plagiarism? Definition, forms, risks...

Understanding plagiarism to avoid it.

Copied-and-pasted text, paraphrases, duplicate content, quotes, similar passages, etc.

Digital technology provides access to a wide range of international literature at the click of a mouse. Nothing could be more convenient for teachers, researchers, students and pupils to search for information. The most commonly used shortcut on a keyboard is often Ctrl+C / Ctrl+V.

However, it is not always clear whether an idea has already been published. Nor is it easy to understand the intricacies of copyright law. Plagiarism can be unintentional, but the consequences are severe.


When can we talk about plagiarism?

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism meaning

Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else's work as one's own. In documentary research and writing (dissertation, internship report, thesis, paper, etc.), you're allowed to use another author's ideas, provided that the reader is informed of the source for an idea, text or work.

Plagiarism is an act "which may be committed intentionally, unintentionally or inadvertently, and which consists of using, in part or in whole, a production or an idea produced by a person who may be oneself or another, without indicating the source". This is the definition given by Martin Hutchison, in the webinar "Plagiarism prevention in secondary schools: the need for urgency", posted on 10/02/2022.

Why it is important not to plagiarism?

Why is it important not to plagiarise?

What is at stake in respecting copyright?

  • To attest to honest behaviour
    Being careful not to plagiarise means making a point of being an honest person who does not try to cheat or pretend. 
  • To promote original creations
    Did you like a source that inspired you? Cite it to encourage its inventor in particular, and creativity in general. 
  • To contribute to research
    Developing personal ideas and reflections based on the work of experts gives great consistency to your creations and allows you to feed research. 
  • Demonstrate your skills
    Supplementing a quote, challenging an existing idea, feeding a concept already presented... proves your ability to identify reliable sources and to think critically.
Universities raise awareness of copyright
among their students.

Combating plagiarism

« Plagiarism is everyone's business! Raising awareness is aimed primarily at students, but plagiarism pertains to all school staff, whether they are teachers, researchers or administrators. It is part of a comprehensive approach that includes signing a charter, specific training, the use of plagiarism-detection tools and recommendations regarding disciplinary actions. »


« Plagiarism violates the rules of academic ethics and constitutes a misrepresentation in the work being graded. Plagiarism also constitutes an infringement of copyright and intellectual property, which could be equated with a crime of infringement. »

Plagiarism? Not for me!

« Teachers want to assess the student's own abilities - not those of another author. Plagiarism raises doubts about the expected qualities of a university student (critical mind, creativity, honesty, ability to develop a personal argument and articulate it, etc.) and is considered a serious violation of scientific ethics. Plagiarism brings the plagiarist into disrepute, calling into question not only the work in which they plagiarised but also the plagiarist's entire body of work and, by extension, their skills. »

What are the different forms of plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of portraying someone else's work as your own. In documentary research and writing (dissertation, internship report, thesis, paper, etc.), you're allowed to use another author's ideas, provided that the reader is informed of the source of the idea, text or work.

[...] translating a text without mentioning its creator is considered plagiarism. This is called translingual plagiarism.

[...] it is not enough to simply change a few words but rather to rephrase the whole sentence, words and structure, while still providing a citation.

[...] you are allowed to use your own words taken from another document, provided you mention the source.

[...] the author must be cited (Last and First Name), as well as the date of publication and where the information was found (website, book, newspaper, etc.).

[...] Hence, both the primary and secondary sources should be included in the citation.

[...] Common knowledge, of a fact or event, corresponds to its wide recognition, namely, if it is known to a large majority of people.

[...] an anonymous source is just as important as a known source.

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of students were tempted to plagiarise in a research paper
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of students rephrase text without citing the author
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of students think the teacher does not check for plagiarism
What is a good Similarity Report score?

What is a good Similarity Report score?

Compilatio software calculates the amount of text from external sources found in the analysed document. As a percentage, the result includes all sources, even those that are correctly referenced. The document's proofreader has to assess which sources to ignore from the similarity score to obtain a plagiarism rate.

The threshold of acceptable similarities is defined according to your institution's policy, the subject matter or the importance of the assignment. In most cases, universities will accept less than 10% of detected similarities.

Compilatio supports teachers and students with plagiarism detection and verification tools.

Compilatio Studium (for students) is a Plagiarism Checker that compares your assignments with the worldwide Internet. Compilatio Magister (Plagiarsim Detector for teachers) offers an advanced comparison, with the addition of documents from users of the Magister community. This explains the differences in results for the same assignment from one program to another. 

What are the risks and punishments associated with plagiarism?

What are the risks and punishments associated with plagiarism?

Taking quotes without indicating sources is cheating, and a violation of academic regulations. The punishment depends on the school's policy, whether the person intended to cheat, the significance of the plagiarised assignment, whether it's a repeated offence, etc. Here are some examples of punishments related to plagiarism.


- Invalidation of the assignment impacted by plagiarism
- Warning/blame
- Temporary or permanent expulsion from any public higher education institution


- up to 10 years' imprisonment
- $250,000 fine                                                                                                                      

Consequences that can affect the future

- Reputational damage to the institution and student.
- Cloud of suspicion that follows the plagiarist for a long time and that raises questions for all the other students.
- Calling into question the value of the school's diploma and the quality of teaching.

Compilatio - Your academic integrity partner

Plagiarism can be unintentional. It may come from a lack of knowledge about citation standards and copyright. Academic integrity must be learned from the earliest research assignments, starting in middle and high school. Today's students are the professionals and citizens of tomorrow. It is crucial to instill authenticity, respect and goodwill as part of students' education.

For this purpose, Compilatio offers a positive and educational approach.