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Plagiarism in Academia

Elletta Sangrey Callahan Professor of Law & Public Policy Whitman School of Management Syracuse University

Nearly all colleges and universities approach student and faculty plagiarism as wholly separate concerns (but see, for example, Quinnipiac University's expression of shared values at http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1046.xml). With reference to students, plagiarism is typically addressed within a policy addressing a range of academically dishonest behaviors. Some institutions, such as Gustavus Adolphus College (see http://www.gustavus.edu/academics/general_catalog/current/index.cfm?pr=acainfo), the University of Virginia (http://www.virginia.edu/honor/pledge.html and http://www.virginia.edu/honor/intro/explain.html), and the United States Military Academy (West Point) (http://www.usma.edu/Committees/Honor/Info/main.htm#two) have honor codes. Traditionally, this approach involves unproctored examinations, a written honor pledge, a student-run procedure for resolving cases, and the expectation that students will report observed academic dishonesty. A majority of colleges and universities have adopted a "modified honor code" or "academic integrity policy," although the "honor code" label may be used. These policies vary substantially, but plagiarism coverage is ubiquitous. See, for example, the policies of Eastern Washington University, http://www.ewu.edu/x4326.xml; Rutgers University, http://ctaar.rutgers.edu/integrity/policy.html#Plagiarism; and Wittenberg University, http://www4.wittenberg.edu/academics/academicintegrity/definitions.html (select "honor code" from the menu on the left). Institutional policies addressing faculty plagiarism exhibit greater consistency. This is due, in large part, to regulatory requirements associated with government-sponsored research. See, e.g., College of Charleston, http://www.orga.cofc.edu/pol-proc_misconductaaf.shtml; Cornell University, http://www.policy.cornell.edu/CM_Images/Uploads/POL/vol1_2.html?CFID=3500680&CFT OKEN=10550854; and the University of Colorado at Boulder, https://www.cusys.edu/policies/Academic/misconduct.html. A plagiarism allegation made by my colleague Ernest Wallwork, which illustrates several potential avenues for recourse, including publishers, is described in the article available at http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2005/01/06/bc_professor_recycled_ ideas_society_finds/. The Center for Academic Integrity (CAI), http://www.academicintegrity.org/, is an excellent resource, particularly for student-related issues. The student policies referred to above, and many others, are linked to the CAI website. The Council of Writing Program Administrators (WPA) "is a national association of college and university faculty with professional responsibilities for (or interests in) directing writing programs" (http://www.wpacouncil.org/about). The WPA distinguishes plagiarism from "misuse of sources" and requires intent to establish the former. See http://www.wpacouncil.org/positions/plagiarism.html.

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