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Roger Clarke's 'Academic Plagiarism'

Plagiarism by Academics - A More Complex Issue Than It Seemed

Roger Clarke **



Version of 6 October 2004


© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 2004

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The unattributed incorporation of the work of others into an academic publication is widely regarded as being seriously inappropriate behaviour. Yet imitation is fundamental to many things that people do, even in academic disciplines. This paper examines the range of activities in which academics engage, with particular reference to the authoring of text-books, and the use of material in multiple works by the same author. It concludes that a more fine-grained analysis of plagiarism is needed, in order to distinguish copying that is harmful to the intellectual process, and that which is important to it.


1. Introduction

A great deal has been written about the inappropriate use by students of material originated by others. The literature relating to plagiarism by academics is rather more limited, however, particularly within the information systems discipline. The legal and ethical frameworks are far from clear, and the tone of many articles is rather shrill. The Internet has brought new opportunities for plagiarists, and new investigative tools for their opponents. The time is ripe for deeper consideration of the issues that arise in the context of rapid, wide-reach, electronic publication.

During the first few years of the new millenium, ethics within the profession of information systems research has been the subject of a small flurry of activity. A case was published in Communications of the ACM (Kock 1999). An ISWorld Resource Page exists (Davison & Kock 2000-). Several ICIS panels have addressed various topics within the area (e.g. Davison et al. 2001, Davison et al. 2003). The Association for Information Systems (AIS) has studied the question of member misconduct (George et al. 2003), including an overview of the plagiarism literature by Heales (pp. 59-65). MISQ published a paper (Kock & Davidson 2003), and the AIS subsequently published a Code of Research Conduct, a considerable proportion of which is concerned with plagiarism (Davison et al. 2004b, together with supporting documents, Davison et al. 2004a and 2004c).

A key motivation for this paper is the articulation of concerns about some aspects of that Code. The process was informed by literature research; by consideration of the many contexts in which academic publishing is undertaken; by relevant personal experience documented in the form of a vignette; and by an investigation conducted by the author, on behalf of a university, into allegations of plagiarism in a text-book.

The paper commences with a brief review of plagiarism generally, to provide context to the more specific concerns of inappropriate copying by academics. The arguments against plagiarism are presented under the headings of pedagogical, ethical and legal. Several counter-arguments are outlined. In order to throw light on the tension between the two sets of arguments, a case study is presented, and the special case of self-plagiarism examined.

It is suggested that balance is needed, and that conventional, narrow, defensive and proprietary attitudes to copying need to be moderated. Constructive proposals are put forward relating to evaluation criteria for the seriousness of plagiarism, and appropriate processes and enforcement mechanisms.

2. Background

This preliminary section reviews dictionary definitions of plagiarism, and its appearance in journalism, creative literature, entertainment and education.

2.1 Definition

Plagiarism resembles pornography, at least to the extent that people believe that they know it when they see it, but seldom take the trouble to construct, or to seek out, a definition of the term. Dictionary entries include the following:

The Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 edition identifies its etymology as being the Latin plagiarius - a kidnapper, stealer or abductor of a slave or child. On the other hand, its coinage appears to be relatively recent: the Merriam-Webster dates its first usage to 1716, while other sources suggest 1621, preceded by an occurrence of 'plagiary' in 1597.

2.2 Plagiarism in Journalism

Published syllabi for journalism courses pay little attention to plagiarism. Professional Codes of Ethics generally mention it, but lack depth in their treatment of it. For example, the current Code of the Australian Journalists Association (now a Division of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance) says "10.  Do not plagiarise"; and the draft replacement states: "6. Plagiarism is stealing. Always attribute fairly". The exhortation in the 1,000-word Code of the U.S. Society for Professional Journalists is a masterpiece of brevity: "Never plagiarize".

Some corporate codes of conduct and statements by newspaper publishers vilify plagiarists, e.g. "Plagiarism is one of journalism's unforgivable sins - and, at this newspaper, a dismissible offense" (from the Grand Forks (North Dakota) Herald, quoted in 2004). Some codes recognise 'value-add' as a criterion or mitigating factor: "When other work is used as the source of ideas or stylistic inspiration, the result must be clearly your own work" (from the Detroit Free Press, quoted in 2004).

In practice, the profession of journalism involves the production of a great deal of text in a short time, with minimal time for research and reflection. As a result, plagiarism is rife, and only some of the most extreme cases are acted upon. This is especially the case in specialist newspapers and magazines targeted at particular industries, whose copy in many cases comprises minimally creative re-working of the content of media releases from suppliers.

2.3 Plagiarism in Creative Literature

In serious literature genres, instances of direct and substantial plagiarism arise from time to time, often with serious consequences for the author's reputation among their peers, and sometimes for their livelihood.

Less serious instances can still be contentious. It is common to hear criticisms of works as being 'derivative', by which appears to be meant sufficient similarity in approach, style and devices that only limited claims of creative originality can be sustained. Much discussion takes place about the re-use of plot-lines; but many can be ultimately traced back to at least Shakespeare and sometimes Ancient Greece. In addition, the concept of 'genre' is related to plagiarism, to the extent that all, say, crime thrillers, horror stories and love stories, conform with stylistic norms. This suggests a need for accusers to keep a sense of proportion.

2.4 Plagiarism in Entertainment

The concept of genre is institutionalised in the entertainment world. Barbara Cartland could re-write the same novel many times, and Mills & Boon continues to commission very similar novels from successions of willing, heavily mutually plagiarising authors. In television and multi-media entertainment, copyright and trademark laws are used to enable genres like 'reality TV' variants and 'Idol' to be franchised and sold to companies around the world.

A further consideration that blurs the concept of plagiarism is the considerable extent to which artists of all kinds are applying modern technologies to allude to earlier creative works. Cartoonists self-plagiarise their previous depictions of individuals, and their and others' symbols for events, attitudes and values. Digitised and originally-digital photographic images are manipulated with a level of professionalism that was seldom attainable with 'air-brushing' techniques applied to silver chloride prints. The 'sampling' of music has rapidly moved from oddity to established art-form. Recorded video is being manipulated to create surrealism and super-realism, which relies for its impact on being at once close to and distant from the original depiction of human experience.

With so many forms of communication making constructive use of copies of prior works, it is only natural that questions are arising about the continued relevance of longstanding norms concerning plagiarism, and even the notion of authorship.

2.5 Plagiarism by Students

In marked contrast with the relaxed attitudes to plagiarism in some contexts, educators have been hardening their hearts against plagiarism by students, particularly at undergraduate level. A vast informal literature has arisen in recent years, especially in the U.S.A. but also in some other countries, stimulated by the ready availability of conveniently copiable sources accessible over the Internet.

Many papers deplore copying without appropriate attribution, often in strongly moralistic tones, e.g. Standler (2000). Most institutions express firm rules (sometimes called 'Hono(u)r Codes'), and some specify sanctions rather than leaving them at the discretion of teaching staff. Sets of guidelines include Bone (2000-2003), Harris (2002), and Northwestern (2003).

On the other hand, some authors have questioned whether adjustments may be needed in the current era of ready discovery of and access to materials, e.g. (Hunt 2002) and Hart & Friesnaer (2004). A forceful exclamation of doubt is that "despite all the work done in print culture studies, all the history of authorship that demonstrates the historical contingency of categories like plagiarism and originality, all the hypertext theory and experience that demonstrates the permeability of all notions of the author (whether on line or off), in our classrooms we continue to sustain notions of plagiarism inherited from Romantic literary theory and current-traditionalist rhetorical theory" (Howard 1998).

Moreover, the strong emphasis on plagiarism in the google-era presents a moral dilemma for academics: standards are being imposed on students, in some cases resulting in severe sanctions, in ways that may exceed, or at least be perceived by students to exceed, those that are imposed on academics. The changed context demands re-assessment of plagiarism by academics, and the clarification of attitudes and policies that have hitherto remained to a considerable extent implicit.

3. Plagiarism by Academics

The focus of this paper is on academic publishing. This is primarily by individuals employed in 'academic posts' that carry with them responsibilities in relation to both teaching and research. The scope extends to those who are employed in other roles that involve publishing in the formal literature, including full-time and part-time researchers in tertiary institutions, government agencies, corporations and consultancies; and to non-employees who publish, particularly postgraduate students and interns. The scope of this paper is defined by the fact of publication and the nature and target-market of the publishing venue.

Most explanations of plagiarism in the literature consulted during this project are variations on the themes arising in the dictionary definitions. One that usefully articulates several aspects is in Hexham (1992):

Plagiarism is the deliberate attempt to deceive the reader through the appropriation and representation as one's own the work and words of others.

Academic plagiarism occurs when a writer repeatedly uses more than four words [presumably to be understood as 'more than four successive words'] from a printed source without the use of quotation marks and a precise reference to the original source in a work presented as the author's own research and scholarship. Continuous paraphrasing without serious interaction with another person's views, by way [of] argument or the addition of new material [and] insights, is a form of plagiarism in academic work.

A definition appears in the refereed information systems literature (in Communications of the AIS, in a paper of which the author of the present paper was a co-author Davison et al. 2001):

Plagiarism is the use (or 'appropriation') of pre-existing material by the author of a new work in such a manner that it appears to be claimed to be an original contribution by that author, in particular because of the absence of a citation of the original work

A further definition is significant in that it is provided by an organisation that performs a role similar to an industry association for universities

(AVCC 1997):

To plagiarize shall be understood to mean the presentation of the documented words or ideas of another as his or her own, without attribution appropriate for the medium of presentation. ... A researcher or reviewer shall not intentionally or recklessly ... plagiarise.

Analysis of the definitions and usage results in the identification of several elements of the notion of plagiarism:

  1. publication: the presentation of another person's material, work or idea. A pre-condition for plagiarism is that the new work is made available to others; personal notes are not at issue;
  2. content: the presentation of another person's material, work or idea. A pre-condition for plagiarism is that some part of the new work is derived from the prior or contemporaneous work of another person;
  3. appropriation: the presentation of another person's material, work or idea as one's own. A pre-condition for plagiarism is that the claim of originality of contribution is either explicit or implied by the manner of presentation; or the presentation may be such that the reader is reasonably likely to infer the work to be an original contribution;
  4. lack of credit given: the presentation of another person's material, work or idea as his or her own, without appropriate attribution. A pre-condition for plagiarism is that the reader is not made aware of the identity of the originator, nor of the location of the original contribution.

The notion of a 'deliberate attempt to deceive' has been intentionally omitted from the list, on pragmatic grounds. If it was included, it would necessitate inferring a state of mind of the alleged plagiariser. Effective administrative and legal decision-making is only possible if the criteria are expressed in terms of observable phenomena.

The AVCC definition explicitly recognises that attribution is a relative rather than an absolute concept, in that it may be achieved in different ways depending on "the medium of presentation". A later section will consider various categories of academic publishing venue. Further, it will be suggested that this is not the only factor relevant in determining whether an act of plagiarism is sufficiently serious to require action.

4. Arguments Against Plagiarism

The literature on plagiarism displays a variety of reasons why it (or some manifestations of it) is an evil that needs to be addressed. The following sub-sections summarise the primary arguments that are put forward, classifying them into ethical, instrumentalist and legal aspects. A further sub-section examines the relationship between plagiarism and copyright.

4.1 Ethics

Most sources on plagiarism simply assume that it is wrong, and that everyone agrees that it is wrong. It is common to see reference to 'integrity' and 'hono(u)r', and to the classification of plagiarism as a form of 'cheating', which everyone agrees is wrong, without any need for discussion.

Where argument is provided, it is often along the lines that plagiarism is morally wrong because the plagiariser both claims a contribution that they are not justified in claiming, and denies the originator the credit due to them. This perspective has gained widespread international recognition in the form of 'moral rights' extensions to copyright laws (although the U.S.A., with its strong orientation towards copyright as an economic weapon, has not conformed).

Mark Twain's ethical perspective on appropriation appears to have been somewhat gentler. Although he regarded the copying of his books for commercial purposes as theft, plagiarism was just 'bad manners' (Spender 2004, citing Vaidhyanathan 2001).

4.2 Instrumentalism

"From the point of view of the abstract 'advancement of knowledge', plagiarism is not a particular problem, since the knowledge is disseminated whoever gets credit for it. But from the point of view of individual scholars, credit for ideas is vital in career terms and, typically, even more so in terms of self-image" (Martin 1994). Plagiarism fails to communicate linkages in the train of communal thought that constitutes knowledge within a discipline. And it tends to result in accelerated progression within the discipline for 'less fit' academics, to the detriment of 'more fit' academics.

More broadly, plagiarism may result in individuals having an aura of expertise in an area which causes other people to pay more credence to their statements than is justified: "a plagiarist simply repeats the words and ideas of others without having mastered the basic source materials. ... Therefore, it has to be assumed that the plagiarist is simply a sophisticated parrot who is really fooling everyone by claiming to be an authority when in fact they are entirely dependent on the authority of others" (Hexham 1992).

4.3 Legal Constraints

When reading papers on the topic of plagiarism, it would be easy to infer that it is illegal. General statements are not easy, because of the enormous differences in the substantive details of laws, and even in the frameworks of laws, in the many hundreds of jurisdictions throughout the world. However, the following observations are offered.

The widely-repeated assertion that plagiarism is 'theft' is generally incorrect at law, because:

The claim that plagiarism is fraud is more tenable, but only in those contexts in which the action is intentional, deceitful, and gains benefits that would not have been gained without the action. Proving criminal fraud is challenging.

In many common law jurisdictions, there is a possibility that plagiarism could constitute the tort of 'passing off' (or, more to the point, 'reverse passing off', because someone else's goods and services are presented as one's own). This is a civil rather than criminal matter, and hence lower standards of proof are involved; but it is an ancient and arcane branch of law which has been developed in recent years mainly in commercial contexts.

Recourse against plagiarism is seldom sought through any of the channels mentioned above. The most common ways in which complaints are pursued are:

In each of these cases, the extent to which copying without attribution is actionable depends on the specific wording of any relevant contract and any applicable codes, the dispute processes specified or implied, and the sanctions that are available within the particular legal context.

4.4 Copyright

One further body of law requires more detailed consideration. Copyright law provides the author or commissioner of a work with a small basket of specific rights in relation to the work. One of these is the power to grant permission to others to reproduce, adapt and/or re-publish material from the work. The rights are qualified. In Australia, for example, the 'fair dealing' provisions ensure that the large majority of relatively small incorporations do not require a copyright licence. A licence only becomes necessary where 'a substantial part' of the original work is to be incorporated. The U.S. doctrine of 'fair use' is more extensive and extensible than the limited Australian 'fair dealing' qualifications. Copyright litigation is not uncommon, but is pursued primarily in circumstances in which the aggrieved party has lost, or stands to lose, a significant sum of money.

Between the 1920s and 1990s, it became progressively more common for the economic dimension of copyright law to be supplemented by so-called 'moral rights'. In countries that have implemented the provisions, an author has the right to attribution, and to object to derogatory treatment of the work. Litigation in relation to infringement of moral rights is feasible, but to date has seldom been pursued.

A successful suit for breach of copyright may or may not represent evidence of some form of academic misconduct; but whether it would represent evidence of plagiarism depends solely on whether the content had been appropriately incorporated and attributed. If those conditions are satisfied, then the action would not constitute plagiarism, even if it is a breach of copyright. Moreover, the existence of a copyright licence does not in any way absolve an author from the requirements of appropriate incorporation and appropriate attribution.

Even an express denial of permission may not be relevant to the question of plagiarism. A breach of an express denial may be actionable in the courts, and it might represent academic misconduct; but whether it would be relevant to an allegation of plagiarism depends on the circumstances. Moreover, it is clearly in the interests of academic freedom that authors, academic and otherwise, should not be able to suppress analysis of their work by others, simply by requesting that material from their published works not be incorporated into other works.

In short, the presence or absence of permission to republish has no simple relationship to the question of plagiarism, and in many cases may have no relationship at all.

5. Counter-Arguments

Most of the literature on plagiarism focusses on arguments against plagiarism, although qualifications are found even in works that strongly condemn plagiarism. This section draws attention to reasons why copying without attribution can also be valuable.

5.1 Practicality for Authors, and for Readers

From the point of view of the author of a new work, avoiding plagiarism requires a great deal of effort. Far more people are writing and publishing far more than ever before in the history of the the human race. It is simply impractical to avoid repetition, uneconomic for every author to deliver originality in every element of everything they write, and a waste of time and energy that could be applied to more constructive activities.

A counsel of perfection in presentation is unreasonable, and hence "In judging that an author plagiarizes great care must be taken to ensure that careless mistakes, printing errors, inexperience, and even editorial changes made by a press are not used as accusations against an innocent person" (Hexham 1992).

Even in relation to matters of content, it would be unreasonable to urge attribution for every element of a work. For example, "[history] professors often don't know from where they got a particular definition or description of a well-known figure or event. As long as such writing deals with things that are essentially public domain, even though at times specific wordings may be very similar indeed, this is not plagiarism because it does not involve deliberate fraud" (Hexham 1992).

Typical of the guidance provided to students is that in the much-referenced material provided in Northwestern University (2003) on plagiarism: "Generally knowledge which is common to all of us or ideas which have been in the public domain and are found in a number of sources do not need to be cited". Similarly, it is conventional for well-known proverbial, biblical, and literary expressions to be incorporated without attribution.

Moreover, citation is not needed for ideas that could reasonably be perceived to be generally known by the audience to which the document is addressed. Generally speaking, the more novel and specific the idea, the greater the importance of including some form of attribution. With well-known ideas, an appropriate allusion to the originator may be as acceptable as a formal citation (e.g. Newton's Laws in physics, Piaget in developmental psychology, von Neumann in computing).

In addition to the impact on authors, readers are poorly-served by an excessive emphasis on the avoidance of plagiarism. Citations clutter text. Long reference lists take up space. Defensive wording makes for turgid style. Editorial adjustments (such as corrections signalled by square brackets and/or sic) interfere with readability. Many of the recommended techniques for avoiding the suspicion of misappropriation are dysfunctional from the viewpoint of most readers, especially those reading for pleasure, for answers, or as part of a course of study, rather than as a discipline.

5.2 The Role of Imitation in Learning, and in Innovation

Imitation has always been an important element of learning, and it continues to be so. Hence undue constraints on imitation stunt learning. At the secondary school and undergraduate levels, the solution lies in skilful design and wording of assignments. Questions that are capable of being answered directly from existing publications invite plagiarism. Questions need to encourage candidates to discover and use the old, but then contribute something new, e.g. 'find and present three possible answers to the following question, explaining in what ways the answers differ. Cite your sources'. Or as author Dale Spender puts it, avoid inviting copying without alteration: "the teachers or lecturers who ask their students - 'what can we do about homelessness' - are becoming the professionals of the digital age. In such an assignment, cut-and-paste can only be the first stage" (private communication, October 2004). Marking schemes need to be consistent with that approach, rewarding and being known to reward appropriate behaviour and to penalise inappropriate behaviour. See also (Boehm 1998, Howard 2001 and Martin 2004).

The same principles may have application even at postgraduate level and within a profession or academic discipline. This is further discussed in the following sections.

Excessive emphasis on the evils of plagiarism also works against innovation. By 'innovation' is meant the deployment of ideas in the real world. It is the phase during which an invention is articulated, and integrated into existing artefacts and processes. This involves adjustments to those artefacts and processes, in order to accommodate the new idea.

Particularly in the information industries, innovation is incremental, because it arises from people standing on the shoulders of others. As the much-used maxim has it, "copying from one source is plagiarism, copying from several sources is research"; or as it was re-stated by Biggs (1999, p. 129), 'conventional academic writing' is "ideas taken from multiple sources and repacked to make a more or less original and relational type of synthesis" (quoted in Bone (2000-2003).

Innovation is heavily dependent upon freedom of movement of ideas and information among many individuals and organisations (Dempsey 1999). Monopoly powers such as copyright and patent constrain that freedom. To the extent that constraints on plagiarism prevent the flow of ideas, they too are harmful. Balance is needed between the harm arising from plagiarism, and the harm arising from barriers to the flow of ideas. Where the ideas of another person are merely republished unadorned, one balance may be appropriate; whereas a different balance-point entirely may be needed where the new presentation embodies added value, through critique, extension, or application in new contexts.

5.3 Alternative Cultural Interpretations

Plagiarism seems not to have been an issue in Dark Ages monastic scriptoria, which not only copied Scripture but also secular works. The same can be said about oral traditions, such as those of Middle Ages bards and tellers of sagas. Such traditions are not dead. Aboriginal societies place value on the repetition of traditional stories. And Larkham & Manns (2002, p. 339-340), in the context of Martin Luther King's PhD thesis, draw attention to "cultural acceptance in the American oral preaching tradition ... of widespread borrowing from unacknowledged sources".

The first authors of what was to become a mainstream genre, that of novels or fiction, encountered criticism for uttering what the 'literary critics' of the early 18th century perceived as nothing more nor less than a sustained lie (Spender 2004). (This is the same accusation being levelled at contemporary authors of investigations of social issues that are fictional but are represented as thought they were true stories).

The Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 edition and the Wikipedia entry both suggest that "plagiarism is a concept of the modern age and not really applicable to medieval or ancient works". Brynn (2002), citing Mallon (1989), suggests that "plagiarism came to be regarded as a problem in the seventeenth century, when writing became an occupation". Viewed another way, the strong bias against copying in academic work is a western intellectual preoccupation. It appears to date from the rinascimento of the 14th-16th centuries, and it can be argued that it reflects humanism's strong emphasis on the worth of individuals. East Asian cultures are imbued with centuries of Confucianist pressure to submit to authority, and place less value on individuality. Perhaps cultures such as those are less concerned about what western European tradition calls 'cheating' and 'plagiarism'.

Context is also important. For example, many statements have been interpreted differently since 11 September 2001. Words extracted from one work and reproduced in another may have a quite different impact on many readers than they did have, or would have, in their original setting. This can arise even with quotations as short as Hexham's boundary test of four words: consider a work which has the statement "I had a dream" uttered not by Martin Luther King, Jr, but by Adolf Hitler, Kim Il Jong, or Osama bin Ladin. The re-contextualisation is not merely artistic, but also potentially instructive. The war against plagiarism must be waged sufficiently carefully that ideas are not caught in straitjackets, but remain free to cross-fertilise one another.

Finally, it may be appropriate to consider the implications of post-modernist perspectives, which assert that meaning is a construction by the reader, not an invention by the author. A text is interpreted differently by each reader. An instrumentalist interpretation of post-modernism (which may, admittedly, be a conflict in terms) is that any value that derives is partly due to the stimulus provided by the work, but substantially due to the perceptive and cognitive apparatus of the reader. If post-modernism is anything more than intellectual fairy-floss, is there sufficient justification for authorial monopoly on even the presentation of an idea, let alone the idea itself?

In short, the approach adopted to plagiarism needs to reflect a comprehensive appreciation of the perspectives of different cultures over time, and different cultures across space. Deeper insight into these issues could be provided by a literature on the cultural relativity of cheating.

6. Case Study: A Text-Book

The preceding sections have identified tensions between purist and tolerant views on plagiarism. Resolving that tension requires deeper consideration of the realm of authoring and publishing by academics than has usually been applied. In order to provide greater depth in one particular context, this section presents a case study of an accusation that the author of a text-book plagiarised a number of works. The author of the present paper was commissioned to conduct that investigation. The presentation below is expressed in the passive voice, for ease of reading.

In comparison with Baskerville's five criteria for distinguishing action research from consultancy (Baskerville 1999), the undertaking scores well on the first four. The analysis was conducted within a university context, and as a result was motivated in part by scientific prospects, and was in part committed to the academic community. Rather than merely reflecting the consultant's experience, the analysis drew heavily on the available literature, and the outcomes were founded on a theoretical framework. On the other hand, the process did not involve an iterative, organisational learning approach, but was instead an independent, critical analysis. The research rigour is not high, however, when tested against the more stringent criteria for Canonical Action Research (Davison, Martinsons & Kock 2004).

The Vice-Chancellor of an Australian university received a letter alleging plagiarism by a staff-member in a text-book that the staff-member had authored, and was using in units taught at that university. Although the allegations were anonymous, they were detailed; and a preliminary investigation suggested that an arguable case existed.

A full investigation was sought by an independent person with appropriate expertise in the topic-area. The Terms of Reference were carefully negotiated, in order to ensure that the university would get the information it needed in order to take any further steps, that no imbalance or unfairness to the accusee would arise, and that the interests of the investigator were protected.

The AIS Code was not directly relevant to the investigation. In particular, text-books appear to be beyond its scope, because the Code "offers guidance in matters directly related to research and publication of scholarly works ... [and] does not purport to ... guide members in areas of professional activity such as teaching ..." (Davison et al. 2004b, p. 9). A text-book is generally not regarded as a 'scholarly work' (although books designed to support advanced, postgraduate studies might be an exception).

The relevant definition of plagiarism for the purposes of the investigation was that published by the Australian Vice-Chancellor's Committee (AVCC) and reproduced in section 3 above. This required tests firstly of the nature and extent of any appropriation of content, secondly of the nature and extent of any claims of originality in the material, and thirdly of the nature and extent of attribution. Finally, to the extent that evidence of plagiarism was found, the investigation needed to consider its degree of seriousness, and in particular whether it was intentional, reckless, careless, or merely accidental.

A process was devised which commenced with reference to the literature in order to inform the process, the criteria to be applied, and the assessment activities. Analyses were undertaken of the work and of the various items that were alleged to be sources that it plagiarised. Further testing was performed, with a view to establishing whether the instances drawn to attention appeared to be isolated, or to be indicative of a wider problem. The findings of fact were then assessed using the criteria established at the commencement of the investigation.

The literature search yielded a disappointing quantity and quality of guidance. Very few references directly addressed text-books, and very few had other than very narrow scope. The preponderance of the available papers addressed plagiarism by students, and those that addressed plagiarism by academics were almost entirely focussed on refereed papers and scholarly books. Other researchers appear to have conducted similarly fruitless searches: " ... where that leaves the textbook writers I dare not contemplate" (Biggs 1999 p. 130, quoted in Bone 2000-2003). It was therefore necessary to undertake some meta-analysis, interpolation, and extension of existing thinking about both assessment criteria and processes.

A text-book is generally not authored in order to express original ideas, nor as a means of communicating research results, nor even as a primary means of demonstrating suitability for tenure or promotion. The intentions generally are to make existing knowledge accessible, to address a particular market need, and (less convincingly) as a supplementary source of income.

Moreover, a text-book is usually intended for a particular audience, such as candidates within particular kinds of courses, within particular disciplines or domains of study, and even at a particular stage of their studies (e.g. introductory, intermediate, advanced undergraduate, postgraduate). The primary function of a text-book is therefore pedagogical, and the criteria used in assessing it need to reflect that fact.

One source offers the following: "Of course, historical knowledge is cumulative, and thus in some contexts--such as textbooks, encyclopedia articles, or broad syntheses--the form of attribution, and the permissible extent of dependence on prior scholarship, citation and other forms of attribution will differ from what is expected in more limited monographs. As knowledge is disseminated to a wide public, it loses some of its personal reference. What belongs to whom becomes less distinct. But even in textbooks a historian should acknowledge the sources of recent or distinctive findings and interpretations, those not yet a part of the common understanding of the profession, and should never simply borrow and rephrase the findings of other scholars" (AHA 2003, my emphasis).

The only other directly useful document located was Hexham (1992), which includes the following passage (my emphases): " ... many basic textbooks contain passages that come very close to plagiarism. So too do dictionaries and encyclopedia articles. In most of these cases the charge of plagiarism would be unjust because there are a limited number of way in which basic information can be conveyed in introductory textbooks and very short articles that require the author to comment on well known issues and events like the outbreak of the French Revolution, or the conversion of St. Augustine, or the philosophical definition of justice. Further, in the case of some textbooks, dictionaries, newspaper articles and similar types of work both space and the demands of editors do not allow the full acknowledgment of sources or the use of academic style references. ... It ... therefore seems necessary to distinguish between academic and other types of writing and to ask what is the reader led to believe an author is doing. If a book or thesis contains academic footnotes, is written in an academic style, and is presented as a work of original scholarship, then it must be judged as such and measured against the accepted rules for citation".

Given how savage Hexham is in his condemnation of plagiarism in scholarly work, the distinction he draws between criteria for scholarly and text-book writing is very significant.

Due to the paucity of sources, reference was also made to a sample of text-books in fields cognate with the text-book in question. Combining the various considerations, the following set of criteria was developed, against which the allegations of plagiarism could be tested.

Exhibit 1: Evaluation Criteria for Plagiarism in a Text-Book

The approach to incorporation and attribution in a text-book should:

  • avoid citations intruding into the presentation in such a manner that they detract from the primary pedagogical objective;
  • avoid not only express claims of originality, but also implied claims, and language that could mislead the intended audience into inferring that the work is original; and
  • provide ready access to works on which the author has drawn heavily.

Generally, incorporation should avoid the use of quotation marks, because these intrude too much. On the other hand, the use of verbatim, near-verbatim and close-paraphrase passages imposes yet greater expectations on the author in relation to attribution.

In the case of generic attributions to well-known authors (e.g. Piaget, von Neumann, Newton), and of well-known and well-documented quotations used in section and chapter headings (e.g. Keats, Martin Luther King), it may be reasonable to name the author, but nominate no specific work. Generally, however, attribution should be achieved through one of the following mechanisms:

  • Harvard-style citation, perhaps without page-numbers. This approach adds to the length of the text, but minimises the interruption of the flow;
  • numbered footnotes or endnotes. These have much less impact on the length of the text, but are nonetheless disturbing to the reader because of the uncertainty as to whether the note contains information of relevance, and hence as to whether the break in concentration is warranted that is involved in a diversion to the note;
  • no citation within the text, but attribution to the source in notes at the end of each chapter or the book as a whole. A refinement to this approach is to include within each endnote a key to the page-number and line-number in the text where the source has been used;
  • mention of the name of the author at the beginning of the relevant segment of text, or perhaps within the relevant segment of text, and inclusion of a reference at an appropriate point elsewhere in the publication;
  • mention in the Preface or Introduction of the authors and works used as sources during the preparation of the book.

Precise descriptions of all works to which attribution is given need to be provided. The alternatives are listed below, commencing with the most preferable:

  • a Further Reading and/or Recommended Reading List at the end of each chapter or section, which contains all works that were drawn on during the preparation of that segment. Particularly important references can be supplemented with annotations;
  • a single Reference List at the end of the book, which contains all works that were drawn on during the preparation of the book;
  • a Bibliography at the end of the book, which contains both works that were drawn on during the preparation of the book and works that were not.

Applying the process and criteria, the findings in relation to matters of fact were as follows:

The findings as to whether plagiarism occurred were as follows:

The findings as to the seriousness of the plagiarism were as follows:

7. Self-Plagiarism

The previous section considered plagiarism in a context different from, but adjacent to, mainstream discussions of the topic. This section considers a further special case that can shed light on the tensions between intolerance of plagiarism and recognition of competing interests.

The term 'self-plagiarism' is popularly applied to the re-use of material from an author's own prior publications. Clearly, blatant claiming of multiple 'credits' for the same contribution would be perceived by most people to be a form of professional misconduct. But defining where the boundaries lie is a particularly challenging issue. Consider the following instances of re-use:

  1. a journal article that largely reproduces a paper that has been previously:
  2. very similar passages and diagrams in papers published in different conferences and articles aimed at different audiences;
  3. a consultancy report and a refereed paper, published in parallel, and containing closely-related material, each presented in a manner appropriate to the genre and audience.

It is unusual for journals to decline to publish a paper on the grounds that seminars, working papers or conferences represent 'prior publication'. And it is unusual for conferences to decline to publish a paper because much of it has been previously presented in communities largely disjunct with the community addressed by the conference. The third category may sit less comfortably with some academics, but a discipline such as information systems needs to have Grenzübergänger who operate on both sides of the 'town and gown' boundary; hence co-publication of this nature must not be precluded, but rather carefully handled.

The AIS Code partially addresses this, by saying: " ... you should not attempt to build a new article largely from a re-working of your previous publications. Even this advice is subject to exception - as when a scholar re-weaves the threads of previous thought to reveal new patterns, perspectives or insights, or seeks to provide a comprehensive summary or 'state of the art' report on a particular research stream" (Davison et al. 2004b, p. 15).

This echoes Hexham (1992): "the essence of self-plagiarism is the author attempts to deceive the reader. ... The extent of re-cycling is also an indication of self-plagiarism. ... [It] is not self-plagiarism if the work develops new insights. ... [I]t is self-plagiarism when two works only differ in their appearance". In the language of popular business literature, the AIS and Hexham propose that the greater the 'value-add', the less the risk of being reasonably accused of self-plagiarism.

The author of this paper participates in a variety of communities, variously academic, professional and commercial in nature; in Australia, various parts of Europe, Hong Kong, and Canada; in the business disciplines, computer science, law and sometimes engineering; and in information technology, information systems, information management, and information strategy. As a result, the author frequently re-presents ideas, and re-uses slides, diagrams and segments of text. But in doing so, effort is expended in contextualising the information, in order to suit the audience and the context of presentation. I claim my behaviour to be professionally ethical, on the grounds that the value-add of contextualisation should be sufficient to relieve me from credible accusations of self-plagiarism. A vignette is offered below, which draws on a relevant personal experience and throws further light on some of the issues.

A variant of the AVCC definition of plagiarism can be usefully applied, as follows:

Self-plagiarism is the re-presentation of an author's own documented words or ideas, without attribution appropriate for the medium of presentation, and without materially adding value to the previous work.

Exhibit 2: Self-Plagiarism Vignette

An accusation was made against me, by a reviewer of a paper I had submitted to a refereed conference. The chair of the Program Committee advised me that this was the case, and requested that I address the matter.

The referee had expressed the concern that "an almost identical version of the paper [had been] submitted at another workshop". As a member of editorial advisory boards and conference program committees (and as an occasional author of papers on topics in the area of research ethics), it was clear that I needed to respond promptly and precisely.

The paper in question was one of a number I had prepared in the area of online authentication. One of the series had been an invited paper for a symposium of the (U.S.) National Academy of Science, and another had been presented at an international refereed conference, and published in the proceedings.

I had prepared two further working papers in the series, which I had published on my web-site (as I have every paper that I've written since mid-1994). I had notified the URL to colleagues and specialist lists, and the web-pages had attracted moderate numbers of hits. Variants of the material had been presented at seminars in ten Australian cities and in four other countries, and elements of it had appeared in various reports to my consultancy clients.

I prepared a shorter version of the second working paper, and submitted it to a highly specialised international workshop. It was rejected, with little comment from the referees. (It was an engineering event, and limited comment is not uncommon in that community). Some months later, I submitted to the conference in question a paper that was only editorially different from that which had been rejected by the workshop.

The referee was therefore justified in saying that "an almost identical version of the paper [had been] submitted at another workshop". But a number of further facts were relevant:

  • it had been rejected by that workshop, with little in the way of substantive comments from referees;
  • the two main papers on which it was based had been published only in the sense of having been on my web-site for over a year;
  • although elements of the paper had been presented, some of them on multiple occasions, the paper had not been published;
  • the submitted paper was a much tighter and enhanced version of the working paper;
  • all of the prior papers (both published papers and working papers) had been referenced in the paper submitted to the conference.

I submitted that, in my experience, exposure of a work-in-process in such forms as seminars and Departmental Working Papers (and their modern equivalent, '(pr)eprints') is not normally regarded as pre-publication for the purpose of publication in conference proceedings or a journal. Further, I had never heard of the rejection of a submission to a journal, conference or workshop precluding re-submission somewhere else. The author should of course reflect new information that becomes available from commentators, especially from the referees who recommended its rejection. But, particularly in the absence of substantive and constructive criticism, nothing precludes re-submission of an as-yet unloved paper in the same form as that in which it was previously rejected.

The Program Committee accepted my explanation. (They also accepted the paper for the conference, subject to changes recommended by the referees).

8. Implications

The evidence provided in the preceding sections has a range of implications, which are presented below in a series of sub-sections. The first identifies a category of plagiarism that can be conveniently referred to as being 'necessary or inherent'. The second relates to the question of the seriousness of the act of plagiarism. Later segments discuss the investigation of allegations, and enforcement aspects.

8.1 Necessary or Inherent Plagiarism

The case study of text-book plagiarism has relevance beyond text-books alone. Parts of many other kinds of publications are intended "to make existing knowledge accessible" and to "address a particular market need" or "a particular audience". In particular, various sections of scholarly works such as refereed journal articles and conference papers, theses, and academic monographs, have an expository purpose, in relation to pre-existing knowledge.

The preliminary sections of many works comprise the recitation of existing bodies of theory, in order to set the stage for extensions to, criticisms of, and/or testing of, that theory. If such recitations stray too far from the words used by prior theorists, then the author of the new work would be subject to accusations of misrepresentation or inaccuracy. Hence it is very challenging to 'use one's own words' while being faithful to the sources. Paraphrasing and generic attributions are therefore tolerated. The context in any case implies that little or no originality is being claimed. There is accordingly tacit acceptance of practices that would otherwise be castigated as plagiarism.

Papers commonly present explanations of the research method used, and the rationale for the selection of particular techniques and applications of techniques rather than others. Within a specific research domain, there is a great deal of similarity among research methods adopted. This is especially marked during periods of 'normal science', when very similar studies are undertaken in successions of marginally varying contexts. There is also only a limited research methods literature, and a limited number of key texts and exemplars. (How many ways is it possible to phrase the statement "Responses were gathered using a 5-point Likert scale"?). Hence there is tacit acceptance of plagiarism in these segments of refereed works as well.

Further, the reporting of research results is constrained by conventions, and by the commonality of inferencing techniques. ("The data supported all of the hypothesised relationships, in all cases in a statistically significant manner"). Because the scope for variation is limited, and close similarity of expression is unavoidable, members of the discipline are permissive of what might otherwise be criticised as plagiarism.

The instances cited above are all entirely apparent to members of the discipline. On the other hand, they are seldom made explicit; and students might be excused for not appreciating that academics have good reason to permit one another latitude that is denied in students' assignments.

8.2 The Seriousness of an Act of Plagiarism

There are many insufficiently careful discussions in the literature, which make statements such as 'plagiarism is theft', 'plagiarism is fraud', and 'plagiarism is a grievous act'. The first is incorrect in law, the second is in most cases unlikely to be correct in law, while the third may or may not be true, depending on the circumstances.

Acts of plagiarism vary in the degree to which they do harm, and deserve sanction. This section draws on a variety of published works to construct a framework within which the seriousness of plagiarism can be judged. Especially influential were Hexham (1992), Martin (1994) and Davison et al. (2001). Five factors are argued to be the primary determinants of the seriousness of an act of plagiarism:

(1) Whether the Plagiarism is Intentional or Accidental

The AVCC definition underlines a feature of great practical importance to an investigation into an allegation of plagiarism. It recognises that plagiarism has varying degrees of seriousness, depending on whether it is:

If an act of plagiarism is intentional or is reckless, then it clearly represents misappropriation and demands sanction, in order to communicate to the individual concerned and the community where the boundaries lie. Accidental plagiarism is much less serious; and careless plagiarism that falls short of recklessness occupies the middle ground.

(2) The Nature of the New Work

A second factor of importance is the nature of the new work. The greatest degree of concern arises in respect of works published in refereed venues, and the least in unpublished and informal materials. The following list is suggested as providing a set of reasonably distinct categories of publishing venues. It is further suggested that plagiarism in categories higher in the list is generally more serious than plagiarism in categories lower in the list:

(3) The Extent to Which Originality is Claimed in the New Work

A further factor influencing the degree of seriousness is the extent to which originality is claimed in the new work. The greatest degree of concern arises where an express claim of originality is made, or the context implies it. The following list is arranged in descending order of seriousness:

(4) The Nature of the Incorporated Material

A further consideration is the nature of the incorporated material. At one extremity, a whole work may be appropriated, and at the other the appropriation may be of longstanding ideas. The following list is arranged in descending order of seriousness:

Where a formal work draws material verbatim or near-verbatim from a prior publication, the strong expectations exist that quotation marks be used wherever practicable, and that minor adaptations to text (e.g. changes of tense, omission of superfluous passages) be shown as such within the quotations.

Where a formal work paraphrases material from a prior publication, the strong expectation exists that it contain a contribution, e.g. by way of simplification, or the demonstration of a relationship to other sources, or integration with other sources.

(5) The Nature of the Attribution Provided

The final factor is the manner in which the author of the new work draws attention to the earlier work. Clearly, a great deal of concern arises where no attribution at all is provided; whereas a specific attribution is of far less concern, even if imprecise. The following list is arranged in descending order of seriousness:

The strong expectation exists in relation to attribution that:


The most serious forms of plagiarism are those that:

8.3 Investigation

Because of the complexities described in this paper, great care is needed when formal investigations are undertaken into allegations or suspicions of plagiarism.

Few guidelines for the conduct of plagiarism investigations were located in the literature. ORI (1997a, 1997b, 2003a and 2003b) are oriented to the bio-medical sciences, and plagiarism is a small proportion of the scientific misconduct that they are concerned with. George et al. (2003) and some aspects of the documents relating to the AIS Code (Davison et al. 2004a, 2004b) focus on investigations by the editorial team of a journal. Davison et al. (2004c) is written from the perspective of a victim of plagiarism.

Allegations are more commonly investigated by, or on behalf of, educational institutions, and hence a process description is needed that has broader application. Applying conventional business processes, the following phases and tasks are suggested:

The terms of reference must be carefully prepared, in order to ensure that the process results in the information needed to enable determination of the matter, is fair to all parties involved, and is compliant with all relevant law and contracts among the parties. Note too that publication of details about an accusation and the accusee need to be handled with caution, because of the risk of a counter-claim by the accusee, possibly on the grounds that the accuser is the plagiariser, and possibly on the grounds that the publication is defamatory.

8.4 Enforcement

Investigation processes and reports need to reflect the nature of any sanctions that may be able to be applied. An earlier section underlined the limited extent to which actions in criminal and even civil law are likely to be feasible.

The most common contexts are employment (where contracts may envisage such measures as dismissal, demotion, delayed promotion, and reprimand and notation), registration and licensing (where debarment may be feasible, or more likely reprimand and notation), enrolment (where cessation and denial of credit may be available), and professional membership (where debarment or reduction of status may be possible). Given the prevalence of plagiarism, even of serious cases, it is noteworthy that few instances of the more severe forms of sanction are reported. The role of moral suasion should not be overlooked; but neither should it be over-estimated.

This leads to the question of the content, and the effectiveness, of Codes of Conduct, such as that of the AIS (Davison et al. 2004b). The current version of the Code does not appear to address all of the elements identified in this paper. It includes the statement that "plagiarism is a very serious academic and professional offense" (p. 10). The AIS Guidelines for a Victim make similar statements: "plagiarism is a grievous act" and "plagiarism is fraud" (Davison et al. 2004c, p. 17).

The problem with these excessive statements is that the seriousness of plagiarism is highly variable. The statements are true, at most, of only the most serious forms. Moreover, the accusation of a criminal offence would in many cases be incorrect, and is so serious that it could conceivably provide a basis for a defamation action by the alleged plagiariser against the persons and/or organisations that uttered the accusation. The interests of all parties will be best served by addressing questions of plagiarism very carefully. The substantial amount of value in the AIS Code is at risk of being dissipated because of the excessive phrasing of some parts of it.

9. Conclusions

The research method underlying this paper is weak: a body of theory has been extended, through a combination of a literature survey and reflection, and boundary-conditions have been tested by means of a case study and a vignette, both of which are coloured by the author's direct personal involvement. This is a far from sufficient approach to reliably reveal previously hidden truths. On the other hand, a considerable body of evidence has been marshalled to suggest anomalies in conventional approaches to plagiarism by academics.

Extreme forms of plagiarism justifiably earn the opprobrium of all members of a profession. What may be refered to as 'plagiarism of authorship' or 'appropriation of entire works' does occur, and the perpetrators need to be confronted. However, "there are some dramatic cases in which word-for-word plagiarisers have been exposed and penalised, but there are plenty of contrary cases in which plagiarisers have fashioned successful careers ... for example Martin Luther King, Jr" (Martin 1994).

A decade ago, Martin (1994) examined the tension between the naive, standard view that plagiarism is rare, and the realistic/cynical, revisionist recognition that it is commonplace. To the concept of 'institutionalised plagiarism' that Martin identified, the Internet and Web have added 'copy-and-paste plagiarism'. Railing Lear-like against the iniquity of the storm will achieve nothing. We need to articulate a mature conception of plagiarism, distinguish the bad from the good, encourage appropriate behaviours, and impose sanctions on the seriously bad.

Author's Declaration

The author of this paper has participated in panels with two of the three authors of the AIS Code, and has co-authored with two of them on matters related to this paper. I did not, however, directly participate in the preparation of the Code.


AHA (2003) 'Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct', American Historical Association, May 2003, at

Anderson J. (Ed.) (1998) 'Plagiarism, Copyright Violation and Other Thefts of Intellectual Property' McFarland & Co, 1998

Baskerville R. (1999) 'Investigating Information Systems with Action Research' Commun. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 2, 19 (October 1999), at

Biggs J. (1999) 'Teaching for quality learning at university' Oxford Uni. Press, 1999

Boehm D.C. (1998) 'Well-Designed Assignments:  A Third Solution', Kairos 3, 1 (Spring 1998), at

Bone A. (2000-2003) 'Plagiarism: a guide for law lecturers' UK Centre for Legal Education, at

Brynn K. (2002) 'When Did Plagiarism Become a Crime?' History News Network, 18 March 2002, at

Davison, R.M. (2000) 'Professional Ethics in Information Systems: A Personal Perspective' Commun. AIS 3, 8 (April 2000) 1-34, at

Davison, R.M., Clarke, R., Langford D., Kuo F.-Y. & Smith H.J. (2003) 'Information Privacy in a Globally Networked Society: Implications for IS Research' Commun. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 12, 22 (October 2003) 1-39, at

Davison, R.M., Kock, N.F., Loch, K.D. and Clarke, R. (2001) 'Research Ethics in Information Systems: Would a Code of Practice Help?' Commun. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 7, 4, (July 2001) 1-39, at

Davison R.M. & Kock N. (2000-) 'ISWorld Page on Professional Ethics', at

Davison R.M., Martinsons M.G. & Kock N. (2004) 'Principles of Canonical Action Research' Infor. Syst. J. 14 (2004) 65-86

Davison R.M., Munro M.C. and & Straub D.W. (2004a) 'Introduction to the AIS Code of Research Conduct' Commun. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 13, 1 (January, 2004) 1-8, at

Davison R.M., Munro M.C. and & Straub D.W. (2004b) 'AIS Code of Research Conduct' Commun. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 13, 1 (January, 2004) 9-16, at

Davison R.M., Munro M.C. and & Straub D.W. (2004c) 'Guidelines for a Victim: Dealing with Plagiarism' Commun. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 13, 1 (January, 2004) 17-24,

Decoo W. (2002) 'Crisis on Campus: Confronting Academic Misconduct' MIT Press, 2002

Dempsey G.C. (1999) ' Revisiting Intellectual Property Policy: Information Economics for the Information Age' Prometheus 17, 1 (1999) 33-40

DMOZ (2004) 'Plagiarism', Open Directory Project Reference Pages at

George J.F., Beath C., Davison R., Heales J. & Munro M. (2003) 'Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Member Misconduct to the AIS Council' Commun. Assoc. Infor. Syst. 11.2 (January, 2003) 54-78,

Harris R. (2002) 'Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers' Virtual Salt, at

Hart M. & Friesnaer T. (2004) 'Plagiarism and Poor Academic Practice - A Threat to the Extension of e-Learning in Higher Education?' Electronic J. of eLearing, 2, 1 (March 2004), at

Heales J. et al. (2002) 'Academic Plagiarism in the IS Community' Report prepared for the AIS Executive Committee, June 2002

Heales J. (2003) 'Plagiarism - An Overview of the Literature', in George et al. (2003) 59-65

Hexham I. (1992) 'On Plagiarism and Integrity in Scholarly Activity' Humanist: Humanities Computing 5, 4 (3 April 1992), at

HHN (2003) 'Plagiarism', History News Network, Resource Page, at

Hilden J. (2002) 'A Legal Remedy for Plagiarism? Rethinking the Ambrose and Godwin Plagiarim Scandals' FindLaw February 7 2002, at

Howard R.M. (2001) 'Forget about Policing Plagiarism; Just Teach' The Chronicle of Higher Education, 16 November 2001

Howard R.M. (1998) 'Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism' Book Review of Mallon T. (1989), Kairos 3, 1 (Spring 1998), at

Hunt R. (2002) 'Four Reasons to be Happy about Internet Plagiarism' Teaching Perspectives (St. Thomas University) 5 (December 2002), at (2004) 'Excerpts from Ethics Codes on Plagiarism', at

Kock N.F. (1999) 'A Case of Academic Plagiarism' Commun. Assoc. for Comp. Machinery 42, 7 (July 1999) 96-104

Kock, N.F. and Davison, R.M. (2003) 'Dealing with Plagiarism in the IS Research Community: A Look at Factors that Drive Plagiarism and Ways to Address them' Management Infor. Syst. Qtly 27, 4 (December 2003) 511-532, Abstract at

Larkham P.J. & Manns S. (2002) 'Plagiarism and its Treatment in Higher Education' J. of Further and Higher Education 26, 4 (November 2002) 339-349

Mallon T. (1989) 'Stolen Words' Harcourt, 1989

Martin B. (1994) 'Plagiarism: a misplaced emphasis' J. Infor. Ethics 3, 2 (Fall 1994) 36-47, at

Martin B. (2004) 'Plagiarism: policy against cheating or policy for learning?' 4 February 2004, at

Northwestern (2003) 'How To Avoid Plagiarism' Undergraduate Academic Conduct Committee, Northwestern University, 2003, at

ORI (1997a) 'ORI Model Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct' Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, February 1997, at

ORI (1997b) 'ORI Addresses Issues In Inquiries and Investigations' Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, February 1997, at

ORI (2003a) 'Handling of Misconduct' Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at

ORI (2003b) 'ORI Model Policy for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct' Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at

Randall M. (2001) 'Pragmatic Plagiarism: Authorship, Profit, and Power' Uni. of Toronto Press, 2001

Reynolds M.F. (1992) 'Selle v. Gibb and the Forensic Analysis of Plagiarism' 32 College Music Symposium 55 (1992), at

Rothstein E. (2002) 'Plagiarism That Doesn't Add Up' The New York Times on the Web, March 9 2002, at

Spender D. (2004) 'Plagiarism and Plausibility' Address to the UTS Academic board, University of Technology, Sydney, 21 April 2004, at

Standler R.B. (2000) 'Plagiarism in Colleges in USA' at

Stoerger S. (2002-) 'Plagiarism', at

Vaidhyanathan S. (2001) 'Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity' NYU Press, 2001

Bibliography: Reports on Specific Cases

Cases are identified in Standler (2000), Heales (2002) and Stoerger (2002-).

The following informative and accessible reports were extracted from Stoerger (2002-):

HNN (2002-) 'How the Bellesiles Story Developed' History News Network, at (re Michael Bellesiles, History, Emory University, 2002)

HNN (2002-) 'How the Goodwin Story Developed' History News Network, at (re Doris Kearns Goodwin, History, Harvard)

Jacobson J. & Wilson R. (2001) 'Texas A&M Fires Professor on Charges That She Plagiarized Colleagues' Work' The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 10, 2001, mirrored at (re Mary A. Zey, Agriculural Economics, Texas A & M, College Station)

ORI (2003) 'Handling Misconduct: Case Summaries' Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at

Overland M.A. (2003) 'Indian College Head Quits Under Fire' The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 7, 2003, at (re Balwant Singh Rajput, Physics, Kumaun University, India)

Sabo E. (2003) 'Mending Misconduct' The Scientist, November 5, 2003, at (re Ilya Koltover, Engineering, Northwestern University)

Schemo D.J. (2002) 'Many on Campus Disdain Historian's Practice' New York Times, January 15, 2002, at (re Stephen Ambrose, History, New Orleans)

Steinberg J. (2003) 'New Book Includes Passages From Others' The New York Times, May 31, 2003, at (Brian VanDeMark, History, United States Naval Academy)

Author Affiliations

Roger Clarke is Principal of Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra. He is also a Visiting Professor in the E-Commerce Programme at the University of Hong Kong, Visiting Professor in the Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W., and Visiting Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the Australian National University.

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