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Issue of plagiarism in academic work — Azizi Ahmad

This article is published in the Malay Mail Online What You Think 05 January 2016.
Writer: Azizi Ahmad
Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Bahasa Antarabangsa Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur

JANUARY 5 — Plagiarism happens for a number of reasons, one is because some students decide consciously to gain credit for the work of others. However, most incidents of plagiarism are the product not of deliberate cheating, but of underdeveloped academic skills.

The term plagiarism, derived from the Latin word “plagiarius” meaning “kidnapper” or “plunderer.” It has has been defined as the practice of using other’s ideas and texts and claiming them as one’s own original authorship without acknowledging the source.

Plagiarism may take various forms. The most serious form of plagiarisms “to obtain and submit as your own paper written by someone else.”

Other forms of plagiarism include doing the copy-and-paste of texts without acknowledging the original authorship, paraphrasing the original ideas of others without referencing them or attributing the citation of a text to a false authorship.

Students plagiarise other’s works and present them as their own because of the said cultural background of the students. Its most obvious reasons are the language and content problems faced by the students. In addition, these problems are compounded with other problems like lack of motivation, desire for a better product, aspiration for higher grades, etc.

Most plagiarised work goes undetected. The invention of modern technology like internet has made plagiarism easier than ever before.

Martin Luther King, Jr, leading figure of Black Rights Movement in the USA, was also charged with plagiarism in his Ph D dissertation, and still today there is a piece of information tagged at this research informing its readers that his dissertation consists of plagiarised work.

Identifying plagiarism in academic papers is a very difficult task. Even technology-equipped software as the like of Copycatch or Turnitin is not feasible in all contexts, particularly in developing countries where the problems of accessibility of computers and internet facilities that are coupled with a large number of students.

Students must bear in mind that their teachers are the experts in the field and know the sources more than their students do. Punishing the students of their plagiarised work sometimes can be counter-productive in the academic field.

Teachers must teach plagiarism to their students not from a punitive approach, but rather by drawing their attention to good writing, and referencing and citation skills. They must bear in mind that there must lie a difference between an original work and a plagiarised work that is rejected in the student’s achievement.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online. - See more at:

Tags: plagiarism, writings
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