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Copyright : Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

The Punishable Perils of Plagiarism - Melissa Huseman D'Annunzio

Plagiarism and Meadville Lombard's Academic Integrity Policy (from Student Handbook)

Plagiarism is the use of any outside source in work submitted for evaluation and grading, without proper acknowledgment. “Outside source” means any work, published or unpublished, by any person other than the student. “Outside sources” include but are not limited to: books, articles, websites, lectures, sermons, videos, and other online sources. Plagiarism is an extremely serious offense toward the scholarly community, one that can result in an academic sanction Ordinarily, instances of plagiarism are discovered by the faculty member who has the authority to confront a student, assess the gravity of the instance, and determine the academic consequences within the course in question, up to and including the assignment of a failing grade. The faculty member must also report all instances of plagiarism to the VP of Academic Affairs, providing the documentation of the alleged plagiarism, and a description of the measures taken by the faculty member, including grade implications. General requirements for the proper acknowledgment of sources of academic work are as follows.

Unattributed Quotations Each quotation, regardless of length, must be placed in quotation marks or clearly indented beyond the regular margin. Each quotation must be accompanied, either within the text or in a footnote, by a precise indication of the source. Any sentence or phrase that is not the original work of the student must be acknowledged.

Unattributed Paraphrasing Any material that is paraphrased or summarized must also be specifically noted in a footnote or in the text and the source acknowledged. A thorough rewording or rearrangement of an author’s text does not relieve one of this responsibility. Occasionally, a student maintains that they have read a source long before they wrote a paper and has unwittingly duplicated some of its phrases or ideas. This is not a valid excuse. The student is responsible for taking adequate notes so that debts of phrasing may be acknowledged.

Borrowed Ideas and Facts  Any ideas or facts that are borrowed should be specifically acknowledged in a footnote or in the text, even if the idea or fact has been further elaborated by the student. Occasionally, a student in preparing an essay has consulted an essay or body of notes on a similar subject by another student. If the student has done so, they must state the fact and clearly indicate the nature and extent of their obligation. The name and class of the author of an essay or notes that are consulted should be given, and the student should be prepared to show the work consulted to the instructor, if requested to do so. Some ideas, facts, formulas, and other kinds of information that are widely known and considered to be in the “public domain” of common knowledge do not always require citation. The criteria for common knowledge vary among disciplines; students in doubt should consult a faculty member.

Unauthorized Multiple Submission Under certain conditions, the student may be permitted to rewrite an earlier work or to satisfy two academic requirements by producing a single piece of work more extensive than that which would satisfy either requirement on its own. Failure to gain prior permission from the instructors to do so constitutes a breach of academic integrity.

False Citation False citation is deliberately attributing materials to an improper source or citing a source from which the material was not, in fact, derived.

False Submission False submission is claiming as one’s own work done by someone else, with or without that person’s knowledge.

Student’s Defense The only adequate defense for a student accused of an academic integrity violation is that the work in question does not, in fact, constitute a violation. Neither the defense that the student was ignorant of the regulations concerning academic violations nor the defense that the student was under pressure at the time the violation was committed is considered an adequate defense.

Seriousness of the Offense Academic infractions are always considered a serious matter but will be considered especially serious if: (1) The student has submitted a paper prepared by another person or agency. (2) The student has on record a previous conviction for another serious violation. (3) The infraction includes the theft of another student’s work—even if the paper or assignment is returned after use, or consulted without being removed from the other student’s room or from a public or private room or from an electronic online location such as a web site where work has been placed.

Penalties Breaches of these rules shall be handled according to the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook under the section on Satisfactory Academic Progress. If the faculty, under the leadership of the VP of Academic and Student Affairs, concludes that the violation of this policy requires action beyond the scope of the individual faculty member in whose class the violation occurred, the penalty for the student will normally be one year’s suspension or dismissal from the School. Students suspended or dismissed for violations of the Academic Integrity Policy may request that Meadville Lombard reconsider its action by submitting, in writing, an appeal to the President of the school explaining any extenuating circumstances previously unavailable, which would warrant a change in the academic action. The student’s written request for reconsideration must be received by the President within seven (7) days of the student’s notification of suspension or dismissal. The President will review the written appeal and the supporting information of the previous decision. The decision of the President is final.

The Difference Between Copyright and Plagiarism

"It is important to distinguish between infringement of copyright and plagiarism. In an academic setting, copyright law really only protects the expression of ideas (the specific words and images used), not the actual ideas themselves. If actual ideas are copied, this is plagiarism but not copyright infringement, and it is unethical, but not illegal. If you were to take a work that sits in the public domain, and change it around a bit and call it your own, you are not breaking the law, but it is plagiarism. However, if you take a copyrighted work and claim it as your original work, it is both copyright infringement and plagiarism. If you take a portion of a work that is copyrighted, change it around a little bit and insert it into your own work without attribution, you are definitely plagiarizing; in addition, depending on how much you use, this could either be fair use or an infringement of copyright." - Robert Harington, on The Scholarly Kitchen blog

Citation Guide

Free Citation Management Services


The boxes "Free Citation Management Services," "Plagiarism Tutorials" and "Plagiarism in the News" were adapted from the text of the Atla Copyright LibGuide (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License) created by Christine Fruin, Scholarly Communication and Digital Projects Manager at the American Theological Library Association.

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