academic dishonesty plagiarism in the digital age

Ercegovac, Z., & Richardson, J. J. (2004). Academic Dishonesty, Plagiarism Included, in the Digital Age: A Literature Review. College & Research Libraries65(4), 301-318.

what constitutes plagiarism, how prevalent plagiarism is in our schools, colleges, and society, what is done to prevent and reduce plagiarism, the attitudes of faculty toward academic dishonesty in general, and individual differences as predictors of academic dishonesty

the interdisciplinary nature of the topic and the ethical challenges of accessing and using information technology, especially in the age of the Internet. Writings have been reported in the literatures of education, psychology, and library and information studies, each looking at academic dishonesty from different perspectives. The literature has been aimed at instructors and scholars in education and developmental psychology, as well as college librarians and school media specialists.

Although the literature appears to be scattered across many fields, standard dictionaries and encyclopedias agree on the meaning of plagiarism.

According to Webster’s, plagiarism is equated with kidnapping and defined as “the unauthorized use of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own.”(FN10) The Oxford English Dictionary defines plagiarism as the “wrongful appropriation or purloining, and publication as one’s own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas (literary, artistic, musical, mechanical, etc.).”(

plagiarism is an elusive concept and has been treated differently in different contexts.

different types of plagiarism: direct plagiarism; truncation (where strings are deleted in the beginning or ending); excision (strings are deleted from the middle of sentences); insertions; inversions; substitutions; change of tense, person, number, or voice; undocumented factual information; inappropriate use of quotation marks; or paraphrasing.

defined plagiarism as a deliberate use of “someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source.”(FN30) This definition is extended to printed and digital materials, manuscripts, and other works. Plagiarism is interrelated to intellectual property, copyright, and authorship, and is discussed from the perspective of multiculturalism.(FN31)

Jeffrey Klausman made three distinctions among direct plagiarism, paraphrase plagiarism, and patchwork plagiarism


Cosgrove, J., Norelli, B., & Putnam, E. (2005). Setting the Record Straight: How Online Database Providers Are Handling Plagiarism and Fabrication Issues. College & Research Libraries66(2), 136-148.

None of the database providers used links for corrections. Although it is true that the structure of a particular database (LexisNexis, for instance) may make static links more difficult to create than appending corrections, it is a shame that the most elemental characteristic of online resources–the ability to link–is so underutilized within the databases themselves.

Finding reliable materials using online databases is difficult enough for students, especially undergraduates, without having to navigate easily fixed pitfalls. The articles in this study are those most obviously in need of a correction or a link to a correction–articles identified by the publications themselves as being flawed by error, plagiarism, or fabrication. Academic librarians instruct students to carefully evaluate the literature in their campuses’ database resources. Unfortunately, it is not practical to expect undergraduate students to routinely search at the level necessary to uncover corrections and retractions nor do librarians commonly have the time to teach those skills.

more on academic dishonesty, plagiarism in this IMS blog

Leave a Reply