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Publish: Academic plagiarism

Academic Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined by the Committee On Publication Ethics (n.d.) as the use of another persons' work, without appropriate acknowledgement and/or as if it were their own.









Why is it important to avoid plagiarism?

Conforming to ethical research standards and ensuring that your work is not plagiarized, is imperative to the integrity of your research and reputation as a researcher. Particularly when publishing, the integrity of your work is also a reflection of your research institution, the journal, the publisher, as well any colleagues, societies, contributors, funders and other parties affiliated with your study.


Committee on Publication Ethics. (n.d.). Plagiarism.

Using someone else's work without proper acknowledgement is plagiarism, regardless of whether the act is intentional or unintentional. This applies not only to text, but to any form of intellectual property, including but not limited to:

Physical intellectual property:

  • Works (print or electronic), verbatim text, data, facts, findings, results, images, photographs, artistic works, graphics, infographics, designs and programs, etc.

Non-physical intellectual property:

  • Ideas, opinions, theories and inventions, etc.



Types of Plagiarism

There are many forms of academic misconduct that constitute plagiarism, that range in severity. While the categories of plagiarism are numerous, a few prevalent forms to briefly note are:

Direct Plagiarism

  • Copying verbatim text without proper acknowledgement.

Self Plagiarism

  • Re-using your own work (entirety or sections) that have already been published, without proper acknowledgement.

Paraphrasing Plagiarism

  • Disguising the use of someone else's work (text) by slightly altering a sentence, while keeping the other general elements such as the message or idea.

Accidental Plagiarism

  • Unintentional use of incorrect referencing or missing references.
  • Unintentional paraphrasing without proper acknowledgement.
  • Unintentional misquoting.


  • Submitting a manuscript to more than one journal, and having your paper published in multiple places.

Source Based Plagiarism

  • Using references, data and/or citations that are fake or misleading.
  • Using a secondary source of information while only citing the primary source.


Further information on prevalent types of plagiarism can be found in the resources tab.

  • Always acknowledge someone else's contribution to your work.
  • Reference correctly.
  • Ensure that you use in-text citations and quotation marks correctly, and where necessary.
  • Inform yourself about the different types of plagiarism so that you can avoid these mistakes.

Copyright refers to the legal rights that an owner holds over their works and intellectual property. This includes usage terms, how the work must be acknowledged, or whether it is allowed to be used at all. By plagiarizing someones work, you may also be breaching Copyright laws. This can have legal and financial repercussions.

When planning to display images, infographics, data etc. in your publication that have been taken from other sources, ensure that you have permission to do so and that they are correctly acknowledged. If in doubt, seek permission from the Copyright owner.


Who is the Copyright owner of a publication?

  • Some publishers claim copyright ownership over                             a paper once a work has been published in their journal - and in such instances, Copyright no longer belongs to the author. Always check the publishers policy on Copyright ownership when submitting your paper, as this determines how an author is allowed to share and distribute their published work.

Learn more about Copyright: