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Helping Faculty & Students with THE Academic Commandment. Thou Shalt Not Steal. University of Florida Libraries Journal Club Thursday August 7, 2008. Why do people plagiarize?. Why plagiarize?. Grade/publishing/funding* pressure Cultural acceptance Ignorance of laws/ethical standards

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University of florida libraries journal club thursday august 7 2008

Helping Faculty & Students with THE Academic Commandment

Thou Shalt Not Steal

University of Florida Libraries Journal Club

Thursday August 7, 2008

Why plagiarize
Why plagiarize?

  • Grade/publishing/funding* pressure

  • Cultural acceptance

  • Ignorance

    • of laws/ethical standards

    • of possible consequences

* Idea of funding pressure courtesy of Sara Russell Gonzalez 8/7/08

High profile cases
High Profile Cases

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  • Stephen Ambrose

    • Source documentation found but some profs remove books from reading lists

  • Doris Kearns Goodwin

    • Suspended from News Hour; speaking gigs canceled;

      resigned from Pulitzer Prize Board, which was asked to rescind her 1995 Pulitzer; book sales dropped 50% after 2002 accusation

  • Elizabeth Paige Laurie

    (Wal-Mart heiress)

    • Had to return her BA in Communications

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • Boston University investigation concluded he had plagiarized portions of his dissertation but didn’t strip him of the degree

Image from

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Academic rogues
Academic Rogues

  • University of Frankfurt (Germany) anthropology professor (Reiner von Zeiten) resigned - 2005

    (Accusations included plagiarism, trying to sell archeological artifacts belonging to university and falsifying data)

  • Emory University history professor (Michael Bellesiles) resigned – 2005

  • Oklahoma State U geography professor George O. Carney stripped of “regents” professor title and barred from classroom - 2004

  • US Naval Academy history professor (Brian VanDeMark) demoted to assistant professor, stripped him of tenure, cut his salary by $10K – 2003

All from Chronicle of Higher Ed. For others plagiarists, see Chronicle 51.17 (12/17/04)

Non professorial examples
Non-professorial examples….

  • Valedictorian (Blair Hornstine)

    • Harvard U acceptance revoked on admission of plagiarism 2003

  • 122 introductory physics students investigated at U Va 2001 -- 45 students dismissed, 3 grad degrees revoked

  • 44 at Simon Fraser U in BC suspended 2002, others uncovered during the investigation got failing grades for the course (economics)

  • Bob Dylan & P. Diddy/Puff Daddy Coombs

    • Escaped charges cuz really mixed original and credit—tho small--on cover (see “Plagiarism in Dylan or a Cultural Collage?” NY Times 7/12/03: B7)

  • NY Times staff reporter Jayson Blair

    • resigned 2003

All from NY Times

Majority of cases low profile
Majority of Cases = Low Profile

  • Alan Lessoff, history professor at Illinois State University and editor of The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, says

    most (professional) cases are low profile cases involving “people who are marginal and insecure in their professional positions.”

From History-Journal Editors Grapple with the Perils of Plagiarism, Chronicle of Higher Education 1/18/08 54(19): A8 accessed 7/27/08

Why else do they do it
Why else do they do it?

  • Technological ease

  • Lack of confidence

  • Lack of skills

Insufficient skills
Insufficient Skills

  • Time management

  • Reading comprehension

  • Verbal self-expression

    • Paraphrasing

    • Vocabulary

  • Higher level thinking

    • Critical thinking

    • Synthesis of ideas, esp from

      different sources

So what
So what?

  • What can WE do about it?

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Librarian help for faculty
Librarian Help for Faculty

  • ID sources of plagiarism

    • Google phrases

    • Phrase search (esp. full-text) databases

    • Acquaint with detection software

  • How? Type “5-8 words of unique text”

    • If suspecting “close paraphrasing” shorten the search string to 2 complex, unique words likely to have come from source other than student

Web as detection tool
Web as Detection Tool

Odds of detecting:

  • When material taken from open Web = nearly 100%

  • Google Scholar = better than 50% detection of scholarly articles 2+ yrs old

  • Books = 12-13% as long as books are “recent” (2003-2006)

  • Windows Live Academic=poor plagiarism detector

From Badke, William. Training Plagiarism Detectives: The Law and Order Approach. Online 31 no 6 n/d 2007 p-50-52

Free paper mills
Free Paper Mills

  • Got Essays

  • Free Essay Network

  • Lazy Students

  • My Term papers

  • Get Free Essays

Not free:

  • School Sucks

University of florida libraries journal club thursday august 7 2008

Librarian Help for Faculty

Suggest faculty require students to:

  • Submit paper topics

  • Outlines

  • Rough drafts

  • Work with faculty to restructure assignments

    • harder to plagiarize

    • higher level thinking “proves” student grasp of concepts

  • Bloom s taxonomy 1956 revised by anderson 2001
    Bloom’s Taxonomy(1956)(Revised by Anderson, 2001)


    Recognize, list, describe, identify retrieve, name ….

    Can the student RECALL information?


    Interpret, exemplify, summarize…..

    Can the student EXPLAIN ideas or concepts?


    Apply, use in a new way …

    Can the student USE the new knowledge in another familiar situation?


    Compare, organize, deconstruct …

    Can the student DIFFERENTIATE between constituent parts?


    Critique, judge, hypothesize ...

    Can the student JUSTIFY a decision or course of action?


    Design, construct, plan, produce ...

    Can the student GENERATE new products, ideas or ways of viewing things ?

    Adapted from: and

    Resources for faculty
    Resources for Faculty

    • University of Toronto

    • Plagiarism detection software:

      • Eve

      • Plagiarism Resource Site (free download)

      • (some free downloading)

      • Scriptum

      • Ithenticate

      • Glatt Plagiarism Services

    Librarian help for students
    Librarian Help for Students

    • In BI:

      • Define plagiarism

      • Describe ways to prevent it

      • Give examples of consequences of accusations

      • Make your instruction discipline-specific (citation standards, professional code of ethics)

    • In reference transactions:

      • Regularly note citation info

    Image from


    • Distinguishing plagiarism from legitimate use of sources

      • Appropriate paraphrasing

      • Appropriate use of quotation marks

      • Appropriate citation

    Student oriented resources
    Student-Oriented Resources

    • UC Davis

    • Indiana University (focus on recognizing appropriate paraphrasing)

    • University of Teeside explanation of different types of plagiarism with real examples, each accompanied by explanation of why a piece of work is considered to be plagiarised (or not!)

    • Purdue University Writing Lab brief, clear overview of what is and isn't acceptable practice

    • Rutgers

    • UConn (not as creative as other tools but very brief overview with a bit of interactivity)

    The best
    The Best!

    • The Squawking Parrot tutorial

    • “The Cite is Rite” educational game show

    Worst in terms of being most distracting? based on