Plagiarism can occur at any stage of the research lifecycle from proposing to communicating and reporting research. It is best understood in the context of communicating research, however, plagiarism can also be observed in other research activities such as authorship and peer review.

Plagiarism is presenting and using another’s published or unpublished work, including theories, concepts, data, source material, methodologies or findings, including graphs and images, as one’s own, without appropriate referencing and without permission when permission is required. It includes literal copying, failure in paraphrasing or attribution, and the misuse of privileged information obtained through confidential review of research proposals and manuscripts.

Forms of plagiarism:

  • Literal copying: Reproducing word for word, in whole or in part, without permission and acknowledgement of the original source
  • Substantial copying: Capturing the essence of another’s work, in whole or in part, without permission and acknowledgement of the original source. This can include copying of research materials, processes, tables or equipment
  • Paraphrasing: Reproducing the essential meaning, form and/or progression of someone else’s ideas without permission and without proper acknowledgement of the source
  • Irresponsible-recycling/duplicate submission: Reproducing portions of one’s own work in a paper and submitting it for publication as an entirely new paper, without cross-referencing or acknowledging earlier publication(s)
  • Un-published plagiarism: Unattributed use of privileged information or materials obtained through confidential peer review of research proposals and manuscripts

Plagiarism can be avoided by responsible referencing and attribution. Plagiarism by authorship, where a contributor to a research output is improperly omitted as an author, is generally best handled as an authorship dispute.