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Copyright 2004-06 1 Plagiarism by Academics Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra Visiting Professor, A.N.U., U.N.S.W., Uni. of Hong Kong

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright 2004-06 1 Plagiarism by Academics Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra Visiting Professor, A.N.U., U.N.S.W., Uni. of Hong Kong"— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright Plagiarism by Academics Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra Visiting Professor, A.N.U., U.N.S.W., Uni. of Hong Kong Plag0602.html (PostPrint), Plag0506.html (PrePrint), and Plag-ANU ppt (Slide-Set) Published in J. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 7, 2 (February 2006) ANU DCS 26 April 2006

2 Copyright Plagiarism is easy, right ? Its simply the unattributed incorporation of the work of others Case: About 70% of a recent conference paper was copied almost exactly, without quotation marks. The matter was reported to the authors Dean. The author was subjected to severe punishment.

3 Copyright Origins and Applicability Etym. Latin plagiarius – a kidnapper, stealer, or abductor of a slave or child (Enc. Brit ed.) Etym. Greek plagion – a kidnapping (OED) First occurrence 1621 (OED) In common usage by the mid-18th century A Renaissance notion, that: did not exist in the times of monkish scriptoria has doubtful applicability in collectivist cultures: East Asian / Confucian? bees around a honey-pot ePublishing?

4 Copyright Plagiarism in Journalism Code of the AJA (a Division of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance): "Do not plagiarize". The draft replacement states: "Plagiarism is stealing. Always attribute fairly" The 1,000-word Code of the U.S. Society for Professional Journalists says "Never plagiarize" The leading Australian Professor of Journalism, and author of a work on Ethics in Journalism, can offer little more than that But plagiarism is how all low-grade journalism works

5 Copyright For the likes of the NYT, however, it can be an issue 6 June 2003

6 Copyright Plagiarism in Creative Lit and Entertainment

7 Copyright 'The Idol House of Asarté' (1928) and 'The Circle' (2005) A recent Australian short story closely paraphrased the plot of an Agatha Christie tale, and closely paraphrased the text too It shifted the setting from Dartmoor to Tasmania, and changed the murder weapon from an ancient dagger to an aboriginal flint This made the front page of The Australian The author compounded her sin by denying plagiarism, when she could have easily invoked allusion and homage

8 Copyright Murray Bails Eucalyptus A 90,000-word novel He was criticised in the SMH for 180 words which were eight direct lifts from … an out-of-print textbook Eucalypts Vols 1 and 2 Bail explained how it happened, and said he had asked his publisher to include an acknowledgement in future editions Thumbnail_Pages/... Eucalyptus_sideroxylon.asp (to you and me, ironbark)

9 Copyright Plagiarism in Entertainment and Music Mills & Boon commissions novels from many willing and heavily mutually-plagiarising authors Genres like 'reality TV' and variants of 'Idol Cartoonists mutually and self-plagiarise Music 'sampling' and mixing

10 Copyright Abba learnt from the Beatles and Phil Spector who studied Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Motown, who knew all the tricks of Irving Berlin, and Cole Porter who cut their teeth on the minstrel shows and vaudeville musicals who were indebted to Stephen Foster who got everything he knew from now long forgotten folksters, troubadours, balladeers, doggerelists busking outside his window (Valentine, 2005, but quoting an unnamed critic in the BBC TV series Walk On By: The Story of Popular Song, produced in 2001)

11 Copyright Plagiarism in Education Educators have been hardening their hearts against plagiarism by students, particularly at the undergraduate level Guidelines, rules (Yanqui 'Honor Codes'), search-tools, processes, sanctions Its serious: ICAC investigated a case at the Uni of Newcastle; and the VC departed

12 Copyright Students/Other/Academic_Honesty.asp

13 Copyright But there are Concerns... "despite all the work done in print culture studies, all the history of authorship that demonstrates the historical contingency of categories like plagiarism and originality, all the hypertext theory and experience that demonstrates the permeability of all notions of the author (whether on line or off), in our classrooms we continue to sustain notions of plagiarism inherited from Romantic literary theory and current-traditionalist rhetorical theory" (Howard, 1998)

14 Copyright An Interim Conclusion The strong emphasis on plagiarism in the Google era presents a moral dilemma for academics Standards are being imposed on students, in some cases resulting in severe sanctions But the standards imposed by academics on themselves are much lower, or at least can be perceived by students to be much lower

15 Copyright Schneiers Crypto-Gram Newsletter 1 August 2005 Plagiarism and Academia: Personal Experience A paper published in the December 2004 issue of the SIGCSE Bulletin, Cryptanalysis of some encryption/cipher schemes using related key attack, by Khawaja Amer Hayat, Umar Waqar Anis, and S. Tauseef-ur-Rehman, is the same as a paper that John Kelsey, David Wagner, and I published in It's clearly plagiarism. Sentences have been reworded or summarized a bit and many typos have been introduced, but otherwise it's the same paper. It's copied, with the same section, paragraph, and sentence structure -- right down to the same mathematical variable names. It has the same quirks in the way references are cited. And so on.

16 Copyright The Legal Framework in Australia To plagiarise shall be understood to mean the presentation of the documented words or ideas of another as his or her own, without attribution appropriate for the medium of presentation.... A researcher or reviewer shall not intentionally or recklessly... plagiarise AVCC/NH&MRC Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice, May 1997, again on the AVCC site (but omitted from the draft Research Code of 2005!?)

17 Copyright Elements of the AVCC Definition (1)publication: the presentation of another person's material, work, or idea. The new work is made available to others; i.e. personal notes are not at issue (2)content: the presentation of another person's material, work, or idea. Some part of the new work is derived from someone elses prior or contemporaneous work (3)appropriation: the presentation of another person's material, work, or idea as one's own. An express or implied claim of originality (4)lack of credit given: the presentation of another person's material, work, or idea as his or her own, without appropriate attribution. The reader is not made aware of the originator, nor of the location of the work in which it was originally published

18 Copyright Why Plagiarism is A Bad Thing Ethics [But Mark Twains outloook was that copying of books for commercial purposes was theft, whereas plagiarism was just 'bad manners'] Instrumentalism, i.e. less fit academics get advancement (promotion, research grants) Its a crime [It very likely is not, although it may be actionable in a civil jurisdiction] Its a breach of copyright [Thats a distinct question, orthogonal to plagiarism]

19 Copyright Counter-Argument 1 Practicality for Authors Its impractical to avoid repetition Its uneconomic for every author to deliver originality in every element of everything he or she writes Its a waste of time and energy that could be applied to more constructive activities Hence: Common knowledge, ideas in the public domain and easily found, well-known quotations, do not need to be attributed

20 Copyright Counter-Argument 2 Practicality for Readers Citations clutter text Long reference lists take up space Defensive wording makes for turgid style Editorial adjustments interfere with readability, e.g. omissions signalled by ellipsis (…) corrections signalled by [] and/or sic

21 Copyright Counter-Argument 3 Imitation has a Vital Role in Learning Demonstration / Explanation / Imitation Questions that are capable of being answered directly from existing publications invite plagiarism Questions therefore need to encourage candidates to discover and use the old, but then contribute something new

22 Copyright Counter-Argument 4 Imitation has a Vital Role in Innovation

23 Copyright Counter-Argument 5 Plagiarism is Culturally-Dependent monastic scriptoria copied Scripture and secular works oral traditions value it (e.g. Middle Ages bards, sagas, and the lore of aboriginals in many continents) "the American oral preaching tradition... of widespread borrowing from unacknowledged sources" (re Martin Luther King's PhD thesis) the genre novel was originally criticised for uttering what the 'literary critics' of the early 18th century perceived as nothing more nor less than a sustained lie the idea plagiarism reflects a strong emphasis on the worth of individuals, deriving from the rinascimento

24 Copyright Case Study: A Text-Book A student wrote to the VC of an Aust. Uni., alleging plagiarism by a staff- member in a textbook used at that university The investigator used the AVCC definition, sought guidance in the literature (with very little success), devised a method, and defined evaluation criteria for plagiarism in a textbook Investigations were conducted to enable findings as to the facts The evaluation criteria were applied to the facts The results were provided to the VC The staff-member was formally censured. The persons contract expired and was not renewed

25 Copyright Evaluation Criteria for Plagiarism in a Textbook Presentation : avoid citations intruding avoid claims of originality provide access to key works avoid quotation marks verbatim, near-verbatim and close- paraphrase passages impose higher expectations in relation to attribution well-known authors, quotations can be handled using generic attributions Attribution, using one of: Harvard-style citation numbered footnotes / endnotes attribution in notes at the end of each chapter, perhaps with a key to the page number and line number mention of author at the start of the relevant segment or within the segment, and reference at the end mention in the Preface or Intro of authors and works used as sources during the preparation of the book Reference to all cited works: Further Reading, Recommended Reading or Primary Sources List at the end of each chapter or section a single, comprehensive Reference List at the end of the book a Bibliography at the end of the book, which contains works drawn on during the preparation of the book and other works

26 Copyright The Pragmatics of Publishing: Necessary or Inherent Plagiarism Segments with an expository purpose, in particular... Recitation of existing bodies of theory 'use one's own words', but be faithful to the sources Explanation of the research method used, the rationale for the selection of particular techniques, and applications of those techniques rather than others how many ways can you phrase "Responses were gathered using a 5-point Likert scale"? Reporting of research results "The data supported the hypothesised relationships, in all cases in a statistically significant manner"

27 Copyright Implications of Institutionalised Plagiarism At least in particular segments of formal papers, repetition of stock phrases, paraphrasing and generic attributions are all tolerated Academics tacitly permit one another to indulge in practices that would otherwise be castigated as plagiarism Students might not appreciate that academics have good reason to permit one another latitude that appears to be denied in students' assignments

28 Copyright The Five Determinants of the Seriousness of an Act of Plagiarism Was the act intentional or accidental? What is the nature of the new work? To what extent was originality expressly or implicitly claimed in the new work? What is the nature of the incorporated material, and to what extent is there evidence of value-add? What is the nature of the attribution?

29 Copyright A Test of the Five Determinants of the Seriousness of an Act of Plagiarism Criterion Intentionality Nature of Work Originality Claim Nature of Incorpd Material Nature of Attribution Eucalyptus Accidental A Novel Limited or None 180 words, near-verbatim, technical None, then an Acknowledgmt Schneier Case Intentional Refereed Paper Implied Claim of Originality Large amounts of verbatim text, and structure None

30 Copyright Implications of the Recognition of Degrees of Seriousness of Plagiarism Serious plagiarism such as 'plagiarism of authorship' aka 'appropriation of entire works' is harmful to academic endeavour. Misconduct of that nature requires action for deterrence, and for signal-value But many instances of plagiarism are errors or mis-judgements appropriately addressed in simple ways, e.g. through apology, amendment of the digital original of the work, or publication of an errata notice, and not perceived or represented as misconduct warranting disciplinary measures

31 Copyright Implications Responsibilities Authors of Content Readers of Content Employers, through Contracts, Codes Professional / Discipline Associations, at least through Codes Tribunals and Courts Teachers Journal Editors... Process Matters Natural Justice Reqmts Fairness/Balance Openness/Transparency Risk of Counter-Suit Unfair Dismissal [?] Defamation Plagiarism Investigation Procedures Sanctions Enforcement

32 Copyright Contexts for Sanctions and Enforcement Employment – contracts may envisage dismissal, demotion, delayed promotion, reprimand, notation Registration and Licensing – debarment may be feasible (but is in practice very rarely used), but reprimand and notation are much more likely Course Enrolment – postgrad courses only – cessation, denial of credit Professional Membership – rules may enable debarment or reduction of status (but rarely do)

33 Copyright Conclusions Plagiarism is a badly misunderstood concept The notion is culturally-dependent, both in the ethno-lingual sense, and real-world/digital-world Conventional, narrow, defensive, proprietary attitudes to appropriation need to be moderated Approved forms of appropriation need to be documented, to overcome the ethical bind Laws need to be clarified, Codes expressed, and appropriate processes defined and documented

34 Copyright Plagiarism by Academics Roger Clarke Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra Visiting Professor, A.N.U., U.N.S.W., Uni. of Hong Kong Plag0602.html (PostPrint), Plag0506.html (PrePrint), and Plag-ANU ppt (Slide-Set) Published in J. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 7, 2 (February 2006) ANU DCS 26 April 2006

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