Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use of the writings, ideas and/or computer-generated material of others without appropriate acknowledgement and the representation of them as one’s own original work. Plagiarism encompasses acts of inadvertent failure to acknowledge sources, as well as improper attribution due to poor citation.
When using ideas/words from other sources, the student must clearly define the sources using standard methods of citation. Plagiarism can occur even when one does not use the exact words of another author. Paraphrasing written material by changing or rearranging words without the proper attribution is still considered plagiarism (even if it eludes identification by plagiarism detection software). It is therefore critically important that students understand how to cite. If students have any questions about the proper use and citation of material from other sources, they should seek help from their professors.
Plagiarism takes many forms. Flagrant forms, or intentional plagiarism, include, but are not limited to: purchasing a paper; commissioning another to draft a paper on one’s behalf; intentionally copying a paper regardless of the source and whether or not that paper has been published; copying or cutting and pasting portions of others’ work (whether a unique phrase, sentence, paragraph, chart, picture, figure, method or approach, experimental results, statistics, etc.) without attribution; and in the case of clinical documentation, copying clinical notes/materials without personally performing the patient examination. Plagiarized sources may include, but are not limited to, print material, computer programs, CD-ROM video/audio sources, emails and material from social media sites and blogs, as well as assignments completed by other students at Touro College and University System and elsewhere. A more subtle, but equally flagrant, form is paraphrasing or attempting to put in one’s own words the theories, opinions or ideas of another without proper citation.
Additionally, students may not reuse their own previous work without appropriate citation. This is a form of plagiarism called self-plagiarism, and may mislead the reader or grader into the erroneous belief that the current submission is new work to satisfy an assignment.
If students are unsure as to whether a fact or idea is common knowledge, they should consult their instructor or librarian, or else provide appropriate citations.
Plagiarism is not only the failure to cite, but the failure to cite sources properly. If a source is cited but in an inadequate way, the student may still be guilty of unintentional plagiarism. It is therefore crucial that students understand the correct way to cite. The rules are relatively simple:
- For exact words, use quotation marks or a block indentation, with the citation.
- For a summary or paraphrase, show exactly where the source begins and exactly where it ends.
In its policies and disciplinary procedures, the Touro College and University System will seek to recognize and differentiate between intentional plagiarism, as defined above, and failure to cite sources properly (unintentional plagiarism). While both forms are violations of the Academic Integrity Policy, a student’s first instance of unintentional plagiarism may only be penalized with a Class C sanction (see sanctions below).