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What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the practice of presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their approval.In recent years, there has been a spike in plagiarism in the academic world, mostly due to the overdependence on Internet-based research.

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Accidental plagiarism

Plagiarism can be either intentional or accidental. Accidental plagiarism happens when your conveyed ideas are almost like the one written by authors within the same literary genre. Conversely, plagiarism is intentional when authors deliberately steal and assume the work of other people without acknowledging the original source, and then pass it off as their own.

How is plagiarism detected?

Plagiarism is not only a violation of academic integrity but also a serious obstacle to constructive research. Before indulging in an act of plagiarism, authors need to be aware that most reputed journals and publishers follow a stringent screening process. If you have copied writing from an already existing and published academic paper, it is likely to be highlighted during the process of screening; most scholarly journals use software like iThenticate® or Turnitin to scan plagiarized work upon submission.

Academic publishing is the eventual result of painstaking research through days, months, or even years. Academicians mostly refer to the existing body of literature in their research domain. However, in doing so, they must ensure that they assimilate and gather knowledge from such literature and then develop their own original research and conclusions. Only then can the new research help the advancement of that field of study.On the other hand, copyright violation occurs when authors use a considerable part of formerly published literature and present it as their own. The latter scenario not only affects the academic standard of the researcher but also raises questions about the extent to which scholars can depend on academic papers.

How can you avoid plagiarism?

While it is possible to avoid deliberate or intentional plagiarism by being a conscientious researcher, how can you avoid accidental plagiarism? Here are a few tips to help you produce academic writing with no plagiarism:

  • Express the main ideas using your own words. In case you consider it absolutely essential to add other authors’ opinions, paraphrase the text in the original source without altering the meaning and use a rich vocabulary. You can choose a suitable paraphrasing tool online to modify the same content and present it in a different way. However, it is recommended that you paraphrase manually to have the best results.
  • Use a plagiarism detector to check the amount of plagiarism in your content. That can help you detect your plagiarized content and then you can improvise as required. This is also the best way in which you can avoid unintentional plagiarism.
  • If you have to use text from an earlier work, place the exact words taken from that work with quotation marks, and then cite the original source. In this context, it is important to familiarize yourself with accepted citation rules.
  • Prepare a list of all the information sources you have used while writing your academic paper. That would help you keep track of your sources and enable you to guard against plagiarism.

In general, a text similarity below 15% is acceptable by journals, while any paper with a similarity greater than 25% is marked as high percentage of plagiarism. However, even when there is less than 15% similarity, the similar text should not be one big chunk of borrowed text.

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