Substantial, Verbatim, Unattributed, Misleading: Applying Criteria to Assess Textual Plagiarism

Substantial, Verbatim, Unattributed, Misleading: Applying Criteria to Assess Textual Plagiarism

Wilfried Decoo (Brigham Young University, USA and University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-801-7.ch015

Abstract

This chapter examines how to measure textual plagiarism more precisely, using as basis the four criteria of the American-based Office of Research Integrity’s definition of plagiarism: to what extent is the reuse of someone else’s text substantial, (nearly) verbatim, unattributed and misleading? Each of these criteria is studied in its variables, leading to the proposal of a scale. Next the implications for the verdict are discussed. This criterion-based approach does not claim to offer an easily workable solution in all cases, but at least stresses the need to achieve greater consensus and impartiality in assessing alleged plagiarism. Indeed, such cases are often handled very differently in terms of disclosure, assessment, and decision-making. For the sake of fairness, an allegation as serious as plagiarism requires the establishment and acceptance of more solid criteria.

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