In Australia, plagiarism is considered a serious misdemeanour that falls under the category of ‘academic dishonesty’. Plagiarism is not acceptable in the academic paper in Australian educational institutions. Stating that ideas and thoughts are yours when they belong to someone else is not allowed and acceptable in the academic environment. While leading research, it is important to back up what you have discovered and support your own ideas. One way of being responsible for plagiarism might be when students copy material or use to some extent different words from a journal or book and don’t take into account any references. Another technique of cheating is when they cut and paste a section of news directly from websites. Replicating another student’s assignments is a type of stealing and is not acceptable. To evade cheating, specify the primary source of your material by mentioning a reference.
The only exception to this thumb rule is when it is already a piece of common knowledge. A safe way of writing a paper is to come up with your own original views after reading someone’s literary work or paraphrase all sentences from the sources you have perused. If you respect the way an author articulated his/her opinion about a specific item, you can add the statement in your paper as well, just do not forget to cite the source and mention the author. While using the precise expressions and terminologies of another writer, express it in quotation marks and add the author. Most educational institutions in Australia have established their own policies and guidelines on what percentage of plagiarism is tolerable and identify how much of the lifted material is used with the help of specially developed plagiarism checking tools. It is not permissible to modify an original transcript with least rearrangement of words, few cuts and several alternative expressions without a mention to the original source in your academic writings.
To decide whether the use of already published materials or quotes from other authors, can justly be assumed as “research,” consider the following:
- The audience for the work: If you are writing for an academic, scientific, technical, or professional audience, quoting the work of others is not only acceptable but expected. A paper, article, or report in any of these categories requires proof of the author’s research and that evidence is given by using quotes from other already published research work. You are expected to support your own ideas, theories, and statements with backing of quotes from other experts. Without the help of those quotes, your paper would possibly be dismissed or even rejected. In this situation, quoting from published sources is imperative. Academic papers are often peer-reviewed, which means that the assessor will be watching out for this type of research support.
- Background information: When you’re writing for academic papers, you need background material. You’re expected to show improvement and develop rather than make things up. This can be accomplished by studying published sources of information. You’ll also want to make certain that those sources are correct and suitable. You are basically using already established references to give essential information to your readers. This is basic research and is not considered as “copying.” You will have to footnote your material if writing for an academic audience.
- Referenced material: In an academic journal, quotes can be used directly, or they can be paraphrased. However, in all situations, they are always sustained with footnotes and complete references. This falls under the category of “research.” Even if you’re building some of your material from published research, it’s a good idea to go out and interview experts directly for a few relevant quotes.
- Original paper: This is the ultimate key to whether the material you use for reference constitutes “justifiable research” or a form of copying. If the bulk of your article, your ideas, your focus, your point, your style is original to you, then you can use however much research you need to make your point. The concern is not whether you are duplicating others’ work as a source, but whether your paper, as a whole, is fresh and original. If you saying something new in a new way and are bringing anything of value to the material you will rarely have to worry about being accused of “stealing” another person’s research.
The rules and regulations related to plagiarism and copyright infringement are often challenging to understand. For instance, you might technically escape with rewriting someone else’s article in your own words, and not be legally liable for plagiarism. However, under a certain specific condition, you might be prosecuted for copyright infringement. Here are some specific circumstances in which it is not ethical to use previously published materials:
- Ideas are not your own: If you are simply passing off another person’s ideas as your own, even when you are not directly “copying” their work, this is considered theft. Research can inspire ideas, and provide background information, but the central thesis of your article should come from you. You are copying if you aren’t taking the information anywhere different or original level, and are just reprocessing other people’s work into your own words.
- Borrow too much: There are no hard-and-fast rules on how much of a published source you’re essentially citing; instead, the issue tends to revolve around the “weight of the material”. If you are using quotes from a source to support your own thesis, you will usually have no complications. However, if your paper is crammed with quotes than the original text, you may also have to face difficulty.
- Fail to give appropriate credit. The most common form of unethical quoting is simply inserting information into your work without telling where it originated from. Authors of original work deserve to be officially attributed when you cite their concepts or research. If you mislead the readers and inform that the material is your own original work, and you know it isn’t, this is unacceptable even if you aren’t openly “lifting” another author’s work word-for-word.
There is an absence of general agreement and lack of clear-cut-rules on what percentage of plagiarism is acceptable in an academic paper. However, going by the normal convention, usually a text match below 15% is tolerable by the journals and similarity of >25% is believed as a high percentage of plagiarism. But even in case of 15% match, if the acceptable text is one uninterrupted chunk of borrowed material, it will be viewed as a plagiarized text of significant concern.