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Prevalence and attitudes toward plagiarism among medical students Lidija Bilić-Zulle Doctoral disertation.

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Presentation on theme: "Prevalence and attitudes toward plagiarism among medical students Lidija Bilić-Zulle Doctoral disertation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prevalence and attitudes toward plagiarism among medical students Lidija Bilić-Zulle Doctoral disertation

2 Introduction Importance of science: real knowledge cultural role education well-being and safety Biomedical science – influence on human life Integrity – the cornerstone of science

3 Scientific misconduct Fabrication Falsification Plagiarism

4 Unauthorized appropriation of anothers work, ideas, methods, results or words without acknowledging the source and original author. It is a theft and it is against the basic principles of science.

5 MeSH subject – citation according to PubMed 61% of paper – last 10 years Google – more than 24 million links ORI – Office of Research Integrity Scientific conferences on research integrity and plagiarism Plagiarism

6 Copyright © 2001 by Pyrczak Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission. Academic misconduct Plagiarism, cheating, fraud... Dishonest students = dishonest physicians Computer technology – cyberplagiarism

7 Copyright © 2001 by Pyrczak Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission. Cyberplagiarism among students Downloading a free research paper Buying from commercial paper mill (even theses!) Copying an article from Web Cutting and pasting from several sources...

8 Detection of plagiarism Before computer technology – mainly by chance (or reported) Difficult to prove Computer technology – plagiarism detection software

9 Copyright © 2001 by Pyrczak Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission. The Web giveth and the Web shall taketh... Different techniques Text analysis (concordances) Web based services: searching the internet for source texts (Turnitin ®, EVE) – language restricted Close procedure (Glatt Plagiarism Service) and WCopyfind – no language restriction; freeware

10 Attitudes toward plagiarism Important to understand Culturally influenced Lack of knowledge Rules, Ethical code

11 Purpose of the study Studying prevalence of plagiarism among medical students and student attitudes toward plagiarism, scientific and professional misconduct will contribute to the development of the basis for university guidelines on responsible studying, especially for medical students whose responsibility is all that greater as their work and knowledge will have direct implications on human life.

12 Specific aims To prove the existence and establish the prevalence of plagiarism among medical students by use of student essays To determine how clear warning and punishment influence the rate of plagiarism To determine the attitudes of medical students toward different forms of plagiarism, scientific, academic and professional misconduct

13 To examine the general attitudes of medical students toward scientific and academic integrity and intellectual property To determine the differences in prevalence and attitudes toward plagiarism among students with respect to their sex and academic achievement Specific aims

14 Subjects and Methods

15 Subjects All second-year medical students of Rijeka University School of Medicine attending MI course (N=295, 63% woman, median age 21, range 19-27) during three academic years: 2001/2002 (N=114, 61% woman) 2002/2003 (N= 88, 69% woman) 2004/2005 (N=93, 60% woman) No difference in number, sex, age or academic achievement between three student samples

16 Methodes The study consisted of three parts: investigation of prevalence of plagiarism using plagiarism detection software investigation of attitudes towards six different scenarios of dishonest academic, scientific and professional behavior investigation of general attitudes towards scientific integrity and intellectual property

17 Prevalence of plagiarism Methods

18 Mandatory part of MI practicum, not graded Based on one of four provided source articles: two in e-format, two in hard copy format two with less and two with more complex topic Additional sources were not prohibited Student essays

19 Additionally warned that essays would be checked by plagiarism detection software and perpetrators would be punished. 3 rd student sample (y. 2003/2004) Instructions on plagiarism 2 nd student sample (y. 2001/2002) Explained what plagiarism was and strictly warned that it was forbidden. 1 st student sample (y. 2000/2001) Informed that essay should be their original intellectual creation.

20 Use of WCopyfind ver. 2.2 software Preparing of the essays for text analysis: parts removed from manuscripts: student data, title, literature list, figures and tables (existed in 10% of essays) Croatian diacritical signs were replaced with international Body texts of essays and source articles were compared.

21 Use of WCopyfind ver. 2.2 software Comparison rule parameters Comparison Rule ParameterParameter Value Shortest phrase to match6 Fewest matches to report1 Shortest text string to consider100 Most imperfections to allow2 Minimum percentage (%) of matching words80 Ignore all punctuationyes Ignore numbersyes Ignore letter caseyes Skip non-words and skip words longer than _____ characters no

22 Analyses of the essays: total number of words in each essay number of matching words percentage of copied text in essay (calculated) distribution of the chosen source article (with respect to availability – electronic or hard copy – and complexity) Data collected

23 Academic achievement of the students based on MI exam grade (passed on the 1 st attempt): excellent students grade 5 (A – excellent) and 4 (B – very good) average students grade 3 (C – good) and 2 (D – adequate) poor students failed or did not take exam at least for one year Data collected

24 Attitudes toward plagiarism Methods

25 Scenarios Six imaginary but possible scenarios of misconduct Questionnaire with 6 multiple choice questions (same for all scenarios) Epilogue (reversal of situation or aggravating circumstances) 7 th logical question (different for each scenario)

26 Anonymous questionnaire You consider the described behavior:A – appropriate, B – wrong,... and you consider itA – justified. B – unjustified. Should the person who committed the act be punished?A – no. B – yes, the perpetrator should be: 1 – given an oral warning. 2 – taken away the benefit obtained by the act. 3 – expelled from school, i.e., excluded from health/scientific community. Have you ever done anything similar to the described act?A – no, because: 1 – I did not have the opportunity. 2 – I consider such an act unacceptable. 3 – Im afraid of punishment. B – yes, because: 1 – I had a good reason to do it. 2 – I dont think I did anything wrong. Would you ever do anything similar to the described act?A – no, never. B – I would in exceptional situation, if there were a real and urgent need to do it. C – yes, always. Do you have any knowledge of such or similar acts taking place in reality? A – I have never heard of any similar act (I have no knowledge of any similar act). B – I have heard of such (similar) a case. C – I have witnessed or experienced it in my environment or participated in such an act.

27 Self-plagiarism Scenario At the sixth study year D. copied his student essay already submitted at third year of study and passed exam. Epilogue As scientist, few years latter, D. submitted and publishes his already published paper and applies for higher academic position. 7 th question Do you think this is right?

28 Plagiarism with authors consent Scenario M. asks her colleague from senior study year for essay to copy it and submitted as own, and friend let her do it. Epilogue O. (the third person) noticed fraud and reported it to the instructor. 7 th question Do you think what O. did was right? Copyright © 2001 by Pyrczak Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

29 Plagiarism without authors consent Scenario J. stole her roommate D.s essay (graded A) from her computer while using it and submitted it as own without D.s knowledge. Epilogue D. decided to publish essay as a student paper but J. beg her not to did it because plagiarism than probably would be revealed. 7 th question If you were D. would you publish the essay? Copyright © 2001 by Pyrczak Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

30 Plagiarism by the superior Scenario Prof P.H. copied his student theses in his book without acknowledging the source or cites his student M. Epilogue M. submitted his theses as scientific paper but journal editor notice similarities with P.H.s book and accused M. for plagiarism, reject manuscript and inform wider scientific community. 7 th question If you were P.H., would you than admit that you plagiarized and that your student M. is author of the text?

31 Cheating on exam Scenario M. did not study, but he still takes the exam for attempt. During the exam he switch the test with his colleague who replies to questions that M. does not know the answer and M. passes the exam. Epilogue Instructor noticed the test switch but because he wants to avoid exhausting explanations he just ignores it and act as if nothing happened. 7 th question Do you think that the instructor did the right thing?

32 Issuing a false medical report Scenario Dr. B.N. issued the medical report but did not examine a patient – his good friend A.B. who was to undergo a surgery, to spare him another visit to hospital. Epilogue Family physician copies the medical report into A.B.s medical file explaining how important the medical findings are for the course of surgery. 7 th question If you were A.B. would you tell your family physician that you were not examined?

33 General attitudes toward academic and scientific integrity and intellectual property Methods

34 Anonymous questionnaire six logical questions (yes/no) completed after passed MI exam - Have you as a student been introduced to the principles of academic and research integrity? - Do you consider intellectual property equal to other forms of property? - Should the School have clearly articulated rules against plagiarism included in the official documents? - Do you think that a researcher has to be completely honest in his/her work, irrespective of circumstances? - In your opinion, is it acceptable to ignore research results that are not very important or in accordance with most other (expected) results? - Is the following statement true: who cheats once, will cheat again, at least when presented with the opportunity?

35 Results

36 Proportion of plagiarized text Median plagiarism rate 7% (5 th -95 th percentile = 0-84%)

37 Distribution of students with respect of plagiarized text Proportion of plagiarised text [%] Number of students

38 Proportion of plagiarised text No difference between female and male students (8% vs. 6%) No difference between hard copy and electronic format of source (14% vs. 6%) No difference between simpler and more complex topic of source (7% vs. 10%)

39 Proportion of plagiarized text Warning against plagiarism (student sample) Difference between 2004/2005 student sample and the others (17% vs. 21% vs. 2%, P<0.001) Student sample Percentage of plagiarized text [%] 2001/ / /2005

40 Proportion of plagiarized text Academic achivement (overall) No difference beetwen poor, average and excelent students (6% vs. 12% vs. 6%) Academic achivement Percentage of plagiarized text [%] pooraverageexcellent

41 Proportion of plagiarized text Academic achivement (only 2001/2002 and 2002/2003 sample) Difference between excellent students and the others (25 % vs. 22% vs. 12 %, P=0.015) Academic achivement Percentage of plagiarized text [%] pooraverageexcellent

42 Availability of source article Student sample P<0.001

43 Complexty of topic of source article Student sample P<0.001

44 Length of essay (number of words) Difference between all three student samples (455 vs. 553 vs. 399, P<0.001) Student sample Number of words 2001/ / /5005

45 Attitudes toward various scenarios Copyright © 2001 by Pyrczak Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission. on plagiarism, academic and proffesional misconduct

46 Appropriateness Scenario AppropriateWrong Self-plagiarism6530 Plagiarism with authors consent1877 Plagiarism without authors consent590 Plagiarism by the superior1667 Cheating on exam2565 Issuing a false medical report783 Percentage (%) of students presented. Do not add up to 100% because of missing values.

47 Justifiability Scenario JustifiedUnjustified Self-plagiarism7516 Plagiarism with authors consent5532 Plagiarism without authors consent2864 Plagiarism by the superior2159 Cheating on exam5730 Issuing a false medical report1769 Percentage (%) of students presented. Do not add up to 100% because of missing values.

48 Punishement Scenario No Just verbal Take the benefit away Expell Self-plagiarism79970 Plagiarism with authors consent Plagiarism without authors consent Plagiarism by the superior Cheating on exam Issuing a false medical report Percentage (%) of students presented. Do not add up to 100% because of missing values.

49 Students who have NOT done anything similar to described scenario Scenario Did not have opportunity Consider it unacceptable Because of punishment Self-plagiarism5573 Plagiarism with authors consent48286 Plagiarism without authors consent32498 Plagiarism by the superior49282 Cheating on exam45209 Issuing a false medical report59271 Percentage (%) of students presented. Do not add up to 100% because of missing values.

50 Scenario Because of good reason It is not wrong Self-plagiarism821 Plagiarism with authors consent91 Plagiarism without authors consent32 Plagiarism by the superior21 Cheating on exam96 Issuing a false medical report11 Percentage (%) of students presented. Do not add up to 100% because of missing values. Students who have already done something similar to described scenario

51 Would you ever do anything similar to the scenario? Scenario Never Exceptionally (in need) Always Self-plagiarism66029 Plagiarism with authors consent24663 Plagiarism without authors consent37571 Plagiarism by the superior40394 Cheating on exam Issuing a false medical report39483 Percentage (%) of students presented. Do not add up to 100% because of missing values.

52 Knowledge of such or similar event in reality Scenario Never heard of Just heard of Witnessed or experienced Self-plagiarism Plagiarism with authors consent Plagiarism without authors consent Plagiarism by the superior46334 Cheating on exam Issuing a false medical report Percentage (%) of students presented. Do not add up to 100% because of missing values.

53 Inconsistency in attitudes and 7 th question confusion ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

54 Self-plagiarism When done by student...When done by instructor... Punishment

55 Plagiarism with authors consent When done by student...Is whistleblower right... Punishment

56 Plagiarism without authors consent When done by student...Would you publish the essay... Punishment

57 Plagiarism by the superior Is it appropriate...Would you admit... Punishment

58 Cheating on exam When done by student...When instructor ignores it... Punishment

59 Issuing a false medical report Would you tell your doctor... Punishment Is it appropriate...

60 General attitudes toward research and academic integrity and intelectual property ©

61 Q: Were you as a student introduced to the principles of research and academic integrity?

62 Q: Do you consider intellectual property equal to other forms or property?

63 Q: Should a school have clearly articulated rules against plagiarism included in the official documents?

64 Q: Do you think that a scientist has to be completely honest in her or his work irrespective of the circumstances?

65 Q: Is it permissible in research to ignore individual results that are not very important and do not correspond to the expected results?

66 Q: Is the following true: Once a cheater, always a cheater, or at least when there is an opportunity?

67 Results on general attitudes Answers – socialy diserable No difference beetwen men and women in distribution of answers to any question No difference beetwen student sample in distribution of answers to any question

68 Conclusions Plagiarism is present among medical students The proportion of plagiarized text – not influenced by the availability of the source or by the complexity of the essay topic Significant reduction – only by awareness of objective check methods and punishment Just teaching and clear warning not enough

69 Conclusions Student attitudes are worrisome – need for teaching and promotion of the principles of academic integrity among students. Inconsistency in student attitudes – indicates the lack of knowledge and recognition of an act as wrong. General attitudes – socially desirable answers, in contradiction with their behavior

70 Conclusions Academic achievement – influenced the plagiarism in student essays only if they were not warned about the subsequent computer- check of their work and punishment Faculty awareness of the inappropriate attitudes of students toward academic misconduct – education and promotion of the highest standards of academic integrity

71

72 Plagiarism as well as other forms of misconduct should be recognized and must not be tolerated.

73 Thank you all...


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