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Plagiarism and the Ways to Avoid It

A critical issue faced by scholars publishing their articles in academic journals is that of plagiarism. Academic journals are increasingly relying on plagiarism detection software and rejecting articles outright if found to be plagiarized. So, what exactly is plagiarism? Plagiarism means “to take and use thoughts, writings, or inventions of others as one’s own.” In other words, copying another person’s ideas, text, or any other creative work, and presenting it as one’s own constitutes plagiarism. The use of others’ ideas and text word-to-word from different sources of information and then claiming it as one’s own document without citing the original sources is considered as a malpractice in the field of academic research.

Plagiarism mostly occurs when students tends to copy information from various sources of journals and articles while preparing their own paper. Many students find it difficult to write well even an academic essay or report and they Google everything from various websites, gather information, and present it as their own project, as it would save their time. However, by committing such an act, a student never learns anything on his own and merely copies other person’s work; thus, there is no possibility for further improvements. The process of improvement and becoming more proficient in this area requires much practice and hard work on the part of the student. To counteract the difficulty of writing in an academic manner, the student should take notes on all texts which they source and read. This will therefore provide them with their own unique written notes to rely on and reduce the risk of them writing in the same style as the academic text which they have read. As the students replicate this process again and again, they will find that their writing skill has improved massively over a significantly short period of time. This will therefore give the student the confidence to rely on his/her own unique individual wording of key principles and concepts of the research which he/she previously found difficult to understand. Learning to write in one’s own words paves way for creative thinking and develops a skill to communicate effectively, academically, socially, and professionally. In an academic research, building on the knowledge and ideas of others is very important, and the best way to escape from plagiarism for students is by developing the skill of writing in their own style.

There are four forms of plagiarism: direct plagiarism, self-plagiarism, mosaic plagiarism, and accidental plagiarism. Direct plagiarism means using another person’s ideas word-to-word without giving proper citations. Self-plagiarism implies repeating your own previous work as a part of current paper without appropriate permission. Mosaic plagiarism means quoting another person’s work without quotation marks. It also refers to replacing words in another’s work with synonyms while maintaining the same overall structure and meaning. Accidental plagiarism involves forgetting to cite sources, misquoting sources, or paraphrasing sources without giving appropriate credits.

Plagiarism is considered as an unethical practice and should be avoided at all costs. The reason behind avoiding plagiarism is to check one’s capability and understanding of the concept thoroughly that helps in exploring new ideas, thoughts, and opinions. By merely copying someone else’s inventions and writings word to word, one cannot progress academically, and it becomes difficult to differentiate the inventions or creative text made by different people.

To avoid plagiarism, one should understand the concepts, ideas, and thoughts thoroughly by reading books or any other sources from where the information is gathered and rewrite this information in one’s own words; this is known as paraphrasing, in which one develops his or her own thoughts and opinions about the subject. Another way to avoid plagiarism is by quoting sentences, where certain words or direct sentences can be mentioned in the quotation; this clearly shows the content that has been copied. A direct quote is a quote in which you have used the exact words from someone else’s work; it is useful in supporting an argument or establishing a point of view.

Citing is another effective way to avoid plagiarism. Citing means that you state where you found the information so that others can find the exact information again. There are various style guides on how to cite correctly, for example, MLA (Modern Language Association) style, which is mostly used in texts surrounding literature, languages, and art. APA (American Psychological Association) style is mostly used in texts on social and behavioral sciences, and Chicago Manual of Style is frequently used in historical writings. CSE (Council of Science Editors) style is used in science-based texts. This also entails the addition of the author(s) and the date of the publication or similar information. Referencing is one of the most important ways to avoid plagiarism; it includes reference page or page of works cited at the end of the research paper. Referencing ensures that your are crediting the work done by other researchers.

The use of the above approaches will definitely help to ensure that your article is free of plagiarism and does not get rejected by the journal.