Why is plagiarism considered a crime

What is plagiarism?

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Plagiarism is a nightmare in the academic world. Many have already stumbled upon it, sometimes only years after obtaining their academic title. If plagiarism is uncovered, this has serious consequences, from failing the work to de-registering up to the revocation of a title. Copyright infringement and fraud are criminal offenses that can also be punished accordingly.

So that something like this doesn't happen to you, we have put together everything you need to know about plagiarism in the following article and show you how to avoid it.

Definition: plagiarism

Plagiarism is the term used to describe intellectual theft, that is, the adoption of other people's thoughts in your own text without marking them as such. One adorns oneself, so to speak, with foreign feathers, which contradicts the scientific code of honor, because Quote is not forbidden, on the contrary. The author must always be named. Plagiarism can take different forms, not only direct copying is plagiarism, but also an unmarked translation or the adoption of a foreign idea without reference to the literature.

frequently asked Questions

The term plagiarism is understood to mean the acquisition of third-party intellectual property without identifying it. Therefore, make sure that you cite correctly. Because plagiarism leads to the fact that you do not pass your scientific work.

Anything that you have copied from another text without marking it is considered plagiarism. It is therefore important that you do an exact Literature research operate. Otherwise you will fail your scientific work due to plagiarism.

Experienced lecturers are well versed in recognizing plagiarism, as they know the well-known secondary literature in their field very well. In the meantime, universities are also using it more and more frequently Plagiarism checks to detect plagiarism. Documents are compared with databases from the Internet in order to identify similarities or inconsistencies.

No, because even if you orient yourself towards the structure of another academic paper, this is considered plagiarism. You must therefore make sure that not only the content, but also your structure differs from related work.

TIP: Play it safe and use the Plagiarism checkso that you avoid plagiarism.

Paraphrasing means repeating someone else's ideas in your own words. Accordingly, it is not plagiarism if you paraphrase. However, it is important that you mark these passages in the text. Make sure that you follow the Citation rules so that you don't have any problems with plagiarism allegations.

Video on the subject of "plagiarism"

Our doctoral student Bianca explains to youin just 5 minuteswhat a plagiarism is and how you do it in your bachelor thesis or master thesis avoid.

More definitions of plagiarism

Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU)

“One speaks of plagiarism when ideas and words of others are passed off as one's own. It does not matter from which source (book, magazine, newspaper, internet, etc.) the foreign ideas and words originate, just as little whether it is a larger or smaller takeover or whether the borrowings are literal, translated or analogous. "

Source: Definition of plagiarism LMU

University of Zurich (ETH Zurich)

"Plagiarism is understood to mean the complete or partial takeover of an external work without specifying the source and the author."

Source: Definition of plagiarism at the University of Zurich

Southgerman newspaper
FU Berlin examines Minister Giffey's doctoral thesis
"The dissertation by Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) is suspected of plagiarism"

Read now

in conclusion
Plagiarism in doctoral theses!
"This is the city where most people write off"

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Usual forms

Karmasin & Ribing provide an overview of the most common forms of plagiarism (as defined by the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt) (cf. 2014: 112-113):

Forms of plagiarismdefinition
Text plagiarismVerbatim adoption of text passages without citing the source
Plagiarism of ideasParaphrasing a thought / an idea, the originally foreign thought is output as a personal contribution through its own sentence structure
Quote plagiarismUse of quotations that the author uses in secondary literature without clearly indicating that you are not quoting the original source yourself; the author of the secondary source must be named here
Adoption of metaphors, idioms, language creations without citing the sourceNo further definition
Translations from foreign-language works without citing the sourceNo further definition

Consequences of plagiarism

  • Evaluation with the worst grade ("Unsatisfactory" or "failed") and cancellation of the examination (cf. Theisen 2013: 277)
  • The exam cannot be repeated, the subject will de-registered (see Oertner, St. John & Thelen 2014: 66)
  • The academic title or degree will be revoked; university-wide Study ban (see Theisen 2013: 277)
  • Fraud and copyright infringement are criminal offenses and can be punished as such, see Copyright Act § 106 and Criminal Code Section 263; this is about imprisonment of up to three or up to five years or a fine (cf. Oertner, St. John & Thelen 2014: 66).
Important: Even a plagiarism discovered in a simple, short seminar paper can have negative effects, in the sense that, for example, no reports for a year abroad, an application or the like. to be created. The attempted plagiarism is noted in the student profile as fraud and it is no longer possible to earn points for this course (see Uni WĂĽrzburg, Stilblatt) http://www.anglistik.uni-wuerzburg.de/studium/downloads/, Stilblatt English Literature / American Studies, 8).

Avoid plagiarism

Quoting itself is not forbidden as long as you stick to the rules, the copyright law allows quoting for scientific purposes, see §§ 51 and 63 (cf. Oertner, St. John & Thelen 2014: 66)! So why cheat and face the consequences if you can simply quote properly and integrate strange thoughts without any problems?

But how can plagiarism be avoided? First of all, you have to know exactly when you are talking about plagiarism or where the gray area begins. The following examples are intended to show where the limit between marked quotation and plagiarism is reached.

Examples of plagiarism and correct scientific work

Case study 1 - original text(Oertner, St. John & Thelen 2014: 61)

Examples avoid plagiarismCorrect scientific workplagiarism
example 1Stöcklin gives a specific recommendation for teachers: "Plagiarism can be avoided most effectively if teachers give assignments in which students [sic!] Not only have to look for facts" (Stöcklin 2010, p. 120).

Correct: Verbatim quote, fully labeled source cited.
In order to avoid plagiarism in school lessons, Stöcklin suggests that teachers give assignments in which the students not only have to gather facts, but also use information in a reflective and creative way (cf. Stöcklin 2010, p. 120).

Not correct: Analogous quote, but not paraphrased; or literal quote, but not correctly marked. Note: This usage is incorrect, although the source is given.
Example 2In his book, Stöcklin takes a position on the problem of plagiarism in school lessons (cf. Stöcklin 2010, p. 120). He speaks out against requiring the students to merely collect facts as part of their work, as this tempts them to copy from Wikipedia.

Correct: Quoted accordingly, correctly paraphrased, clarified by subjunctive I (“verleite”) and “cf.”, source given. Note: Technical terms such as “facts” or “plagiarism / plagiarize” or names such as “Wikipedia” are not replaced when paraphrasing.
It cannot be denied that the best way to avoid plagiarism is to give teachers work assignments in which students not only collect facts, but also have to use information in a reflective and creative way.

Not correct: Veiled plagiarism, not marked as a quote, source not given.
Example 3Stöcklin advises teachers not only to require the students to reproduce facts, but to allow them to continue to use “information reflected and creatively” (Stöcklin 2010, p. 120).

Correct: Half analogous, half literal quotation, correctly identified, source given, integrated into the sentence.
Students plagiarize today very often especially from Wikipedia. There they find exactly the summarized contents that they have been asked by their teachers to compose.

Not correct: Translation plagiarism, not recognizable as a quote, source not given,
Example 4Critics of school lessons emphasize that teachers themselves are to blame when pupils plagiarize because the work assignments are often not very imaginative and consist of a mere gathering of information (cf. e.g. Stöcklin 2010, p. 120).

Correct: Analogous quote, source given as an example for a certain assessment / line of thought. Note: A second reference would be desirable here to show that this is not just an individual opinion.
At school you learn how to steal ideas: students nowadays plagiarize very often, especially from Wikipedia. There you will often find exactly the summarized content that you should write yourself for your work.

Not correct: Total plagiarism, taken over one-on-one, without marking as a quote, without citing the source.

Case study 2 - original text(Gruber, Huemer & Rheindorf 2009: 162-164)

Examples of plagiarism Explanations
example 1

In many cases, cohesion mechanisms help establish text coherence, but this is not necessarily the case, as the following example and its explanations from Renkema (1993: 40) show:
"" He doesn't go to school. He's sick. "
The connection between these two sentences is based on knowledge, namely that illness can be due to absence from school. On the basis of this knowledge it is possible to establish a connection between these two sentences. "
Translation of the original by the author, further direct quotation: Correct! BUT: It must be stated that it is a translation and who has translated!
Example 2

In many cases, cohesion mechanisms help establish text coherence, but this is not necessarily the case, as the following example and its explanations from Renkema (1993: 40) show:
"He is not going to school. He is sick "
As Renkema points out, the connection between these two sentences is based on knowledge, namely that illness can be the cause of absence from school. Based on this knowledge, it is possible to establish a connection between these two sentences.
The gray area for plagiarism is already reached here: Only the example sentence is marked as a direct quotation, paraphrasing continues without a source: Even if it is identical, it must be included in the paraphrase.
Example 3

In many cases, cohesion mechanisms help establish text coherence, but this is not necessarily the case, as the following example from Renkema (1993: 40) shows:
“He doesn't go to school. He is sick."
The connection between these two sentences is based on knowledge, namely that illness can be the cause of absence from school. Based on this knowledge, it is possible to establish a connection between these two sentences.
This goes one step further than citation form 2: The translation from the original is cited correctly, but no source is given for the paraphrase, not even a name is given. It is unclear whether it is a question of someone else's thoughts or your own interpretation (and here it is someone else's thoughts)!
Example 4

In many cases, cohesion mechanisms help establish text coherence, but this is not necessarily the case, as the following example shows:
“He doesn't go to school. He is sick."
The connection between these two sentences is based on knowledge, namely that illness can be the cause of absence from school. Based on this knowledge, it is possible to establish a connection between these two sentences (Renkema, 1993).
The example sentence is not marked as a quotation because the source is missing; the paraphrase is also incorrectly quoted because the page number is missing.
Example 5

In many cases, cohesion mechanisms help establish text coherence, but this is not necessarily the case, as the following example shows:
“He doesn't go to school. He is sick."
The connection between these two sentences is based on knowledge, namely that illness can be the cause of absence from school. Based on this knowledge, it is possible to establish a connection between these two sentences.
Total plagiarism: no indication of the source after the direct quotation and the paraphrase is not marked either.

Tip: Use the BachelorPrint service to get a Plagiarism checkonline within 30 minutes to have carried out. So you are always on the safe side, especially when submitting a thesis you should protect yourself.

You can find more information on how to cite correctly in our blog. We have articles on all types of citations in academic papers, including examples of how to use them correctly.

Conclusion

  • The adoption of foreign thoughts and ideas without identifying them is called plagiarism; one adorns oneself, so to speak, with strange feathers.
  • There are different types of plagiarism: text plagiarism, idea plagiarism, translation from foreign-language works, adoption of metaphors / idioms and quotation plagiarism.
  • In order to expose plagiarism, there is special software that compares the submitted text with all texts on the World Wide Web.
  • Plagiarism has serious consequences: titles can be revoked, the test not repeated, but given the worst grade AND, since it counts as fraud, this is even a criminal offense.
  • Quoting is by no means forbidden, as long as you stick to the rules and know when the gray area begins, then plagiarism can easily be avoided.

References

Gruber, Helmut, Birgit Huemer & Markus Rheindorf. 2009. Scientific work - a Practice book for students. Vienna: Böhlau Verlag.

Karmasin, Matthias & Rainer Ribing. 2014. The design of scientific work. 8th edition Vienna: Facultas.

Kruse, Otto. 2007. Don't be afraid of the blank sheet - without writer's block through your studies. 12th edition Frankfurt: Campus.

Oertner, Monika, Illona St. John & Gabriele Thelen.2014. Scientific Writing - a Practical book for writing trainers and students. Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink.

Theisen, Manuel René. 2013. Scientific work - Successful in Bachelor and master thesis. Munich: Franz Vahlen.

Winter, Wolfgang. 2005. Writing scientific papers. 2nd edition Frankfurt: Redline Economy.

about the author

Bianca Mohr

Bianca Mohr (M. A.) is a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the University of Erfurt. During her studies at the University of WĂĽrzburg, she worked as a tutor and was able to gain years of experience in giving students an introduction to scientific work and providing personal advice. She is doing her doctorate in the field of "early bilingualism". She also holds seminars for Bachelor students on the topics of early multilingualism and early second language acquisition. Ms. Mohr gives scientific guidelines on the subject of "Writing theses".