Plagiarism, a term that conveys a strong sense of disapproval, is defined in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as ‘‘take (the work or an idea of someone else) and pass it off as one’s own.” Plagiarism originated from the Latin word plagiarius meaning the theft of words as well as slaves. As evident, ‘‘the very etymology of the word plagiarism demonstrates the antiquity of the concept”. With the rapid development of modern technologies giving writers access to vast textual resources, plagiarism is seen as ‘‘an ever-increasing practice and problem” both within the academy and among the general population.

In the academic community, despite a lack of consensus on the definition of plagiarism, the prevalent institutional strategy for student plagiarism continues to be containment and punishment. Plagiarism, ‘‘the worm of reason” that ‘‘starves the seeds of originality”, violates all five fundamental values of academic integrity – ‘‘honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility” [1]


: Although a clear definition is lacking there can be two different ways of defining plagiarism: Qualitative and Quantitative.

Qualitative: according to the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association, plagiarism is the direct copying or paraphrasing of another’s work as one’s own without appropriate attribution (AERA, 2006; APA, 2010), although note that the most recent edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010) also considers the issue of self-plagiarism in which authors copy their own words from an earlier published article.

Quantitative: These definitions too vary. According to one definition of plagiarism, any work is considered to have committed plagiarism if it shares two or more identical sentences in a row with other published work. According to German copyright law if you add/remove/rewrite 20% (based on word count) of the already published material it can be considered as a new piece of work. Computer programs and/or websites can be used to identify plagiarism and duplicate publication by counting the number of similar words in two documents and the generally accepted view is of more than six words to be considered as plagiarism. ‘‘the six words rule’’ involves portions of the text consisting of six consecutive words that matched exactly six consecutive words in the source article were considered to be plagiarized. Proportion of the text copied from the source article was calculated from the number of copied words (in strings of six or more consecutive words) and total number of words. Figures and Tables were excluded from analysis due to software’s inability to compare content other than text. More than 10% text similarity rate, as suggested by the British Medical Journal (British Medical Journal). Abstracts and manuscripts with text similarity rates above that value were suspected of being plagiarized. Each fulltext manuscript with more than 10% text similarity rate was analyzed by sections; a section with more than 10% text similarity rate was considered plagiarized

Plagiarism is the copying of ideas, data or text (or various combinations of the three) without permission or acknowledgment” according to the Royal College of Physicians. It is important to stress that this definition explicitly includes the copying of ideas – in other words, it is not confined merely to the copying of text. Hence, those who tout the availability of plagiarism detection software as a technological fix to the plagiarism problem (or the self-plagiarism problem described below) are missing the point since plagiarism can take other forms that cannot be detected by such software. Not only is an agreed definition of plagiarism difficult to reach by members of staff teaching the same subject, but plagiarism is a multi-layered phenomenon encompassing a spectrum of human intention [5]


Types of Plagiarism:

1. "Copy & Paste Plagiarism"

"Any time you lift a sentence or significant phrase intact from a source, you must use quotations marks and reference the source."

 2. "Word Switch Plagiarism"

"If you take a sentence from a source and change around a few words, it is still plagiarism. If you want to quote a sentence, then you need to put it in quotation marks and cite the author and article. But quoting Source articles should only be done if what the quote says is particularly useful in the point you are trying to make in what you are writing."  In many cases, paraphrasing and then citing the original sources is a better option.

 3. "Style Plagiarism"

"When you follow a Source Article sentence-by-sentence or paragraph-by-paragraph, it is plagiarism, even though none of your sentences are exactly like those in the source article or even in the same order. What you are copying in this case is the author's reasoning style."

 4. "Metaphor Plagiarism"

"Metaphors are used either to make an idea clearer or give the reader an analogy that touches the senses or emotions better than a plain description of the object or process. Metaphors, then, are an important part of an author's creative style. If you cannot come up with your own metaphor to illustrate an important idea, then use the metaphor in the Source Article, but give the author credit for it."

 5." Idea Plagiarism"

"If the author of the source article expresses a creative idea or suggests a solution to a problem, the idea or solution must be clearly attributed to the author. Students seem to have a hard time distinguishing author's ideas and/or solutions from public domain information. Public domain information is any idea or solution about which people in the field accept as general knowledge

6. “Self Plagiarism”

Reuse of substantial portions of text from one’s own previous work. Consensus is lacking on whether or not this is an oxymoron; some insist that plagiarism must involve the appropriation of someone else’s work. This practice also overlaps that of redundant publication.

 7. Duplicate Publication

Reuse of one’s own previous work that goes beyond text (ie, the use of wholly or substantially overlapping data). Some claim that such redundant publication is of less concern when the article type is an editorial, review, or other non-research essay.

8. Translated plagiarism

The use, after translation, of strings of sentences, paragraphs, or even larger blocks of prose, with or without attribution, keeping the informational structure of the original intact. Found in editorials, review articles, and discussion sections of research articles. Since all words have been changed through translation, some are surprised this is plagiarism. However, we have found paragraphs or chapters that are uncharacteristically easy to back-translate to English because the progression of ideas in the translated text is identical to that of an existing text in another language. We think this should be classified as plagiarism even if a citation is affixed.


Most Common types of plagiarism are [taken from]

Each of the 10 most common types of plagiarism are defined below. The types are ranked in order of severity of intent.


Submitting another’s work, word-for-word, as one’s own 

#2. CTRL-C

Contains significant portions of text from a single source without alterations


Changing key words and phrases but retaining the essential content of the source


Paraphrases from multiple sources, made to fit together 


Borrows generously from the writer’s previous work without citation 


Combines perfectly cited sources with copied passages without citation 


Mixes copied material from multiple sources 

#8. 404 ERROR

Includes citations to non-existent or inaccurate information about sources 


Includes proper citation to sources but the paper contains almost no original work


Borrows generously from the writer’s previous work without citation. If borrowed with citation it is describes as self citation or duplicate publication (if whole article is republished as it is) 


Includes proper citation, but relies too closely on the text’s original wording and/or structure


Other Common Nomenclature used:

Manuscripts with more than 10% text similarity rate to two or more presumed originals were considered patchwork plagiarism. Manuscripts with more than 10% text similarity rate in each section were considered to be section plagiarism. Those with more than 10% text similarity rate only in the Materials and Methods section were considered technical plagiarism


How can plagiarism be detected:

Online Software’s: plagiarism-detection service, ithenticate, EduTie and EVE2, WCopyfind, etc do a text based assessment according to prior set definition of plagiarism

Google: google search is one of the best plagiarism search engines and works at par with the softwares

 What are the Consequences of Plagiarism


Should plagiarism or duplicate submission/publication be identified, the journal editors can apply the following sanctions according to the severity of the infraction. They will apply sanctions to individual authors depending on their type of involvement with the article, as provided at the time of submission on the title page.

a. A letter of explanation from the journal editors to the authors where there appears to be a genuine misunderstanding of principles.

b. A letter of reprimand from the journal editors as to future conduct.

c. A formal letter from the journal editors to the author’s institution, employer, or funding body.

d. Publication of a notice or editorial in journal.

e. Refusal to accept submissions from the author for a range of one-to-five years.

f. Formal withdrawal or retraction of paper from the scientific literature.

g. Journal editors report the case to Office of Research Integrity, which promotes integrity in biomedical and behavioral research supported by the U.S. Public Health Service; monitors institutional investigations of research misconduct; and facilitates the responsible conduct of research through educational, preventive, and regulatory activities.

This policy was developed in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).


How to Avoid Plagiarism:

Some strategies for the ethical prevention of plagiarism have been suggested:

• Use other words to express the author's idea,

• Paraphrase ideas but reference the original sources,

• Obtain written permission for the use of all cartoons, drawings, or figures.

Most important is authors intent to do original work and to realize the fact that in todays online world it is very easy to detect plagiarism and at some point of time, someone is definitely going to notice and bring to attention any such malpractices.


1. Q. Gu, J. Brooks. Beyond the accusation of plagiarism. System, Vol. 36, No. 3. (September 2008), pp. 337-352

2. Marilyn Chambliss, Mimi Bong, Barbara Greene, et al. Building trust by eliminating plagiarism: White paper from the ad hoc committee on plagiarism Contemporary Educational Psychology, Vol. 35, No. 2. (April 2010), pp. 103-107.

3. Barnbaum, C. Plagiarism: A Student's Guide to Recognizing It and Avoiding It.” Valdosta State



5. Sunderland-Smith, W., 2005. Pandora’s box: academic perceptions of student plagiarism in writing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4, 83-95.

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 Disclaimer : This is not a original article or a review and sections from various articles [as referenced] are been compiled to prepare  an overview. All credit belongs to the original authors.

Compiled by Dr Ashok Shyam