What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of stating or implying that another person’s work is your own. You commit plagiarism if you:

  1. Submit a paper to be graded or reviewed that you have not written on your own.
  2. Copy answers or text from another classmate and submit it as your own.
  3. Quote or paraphrase from another paper without crediting the original author.
  4. Cite data without crediting the original source.
  5. Propose another author’s idea as if it were your own.
  6. Fabricating references or using incorrect references.
  7. Submitting someone else’s presentation, program, spreadsheet, or other file with only minor alterations.

This is not a definitive list – any action which misleadingly imply someone else’s work is your own can constitute plagiarism.

Sometimes the boundaries can be ambiguous, but read the OWL Avoiding Plagiarism Web site for a good discussion on the boundary between using other people’s research and plagiarism.

What is Academic Integrity?

Academic Integrity is one of the four Penn State Principles. As stated in Policy 49-20:

“Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, the University’s Code of Conduct states that all students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts.”

— http://www.psu.edu/ufs/policies/47-00.html#49-20

Behaviors which violate the University’s Code of Conduct would be violations of Academic Integrity. Examples include plagiarism as well as copying on an exam, submitting the same assignment to multiple courses without permission and others. For more information, see the Penn State Office of Student Conduct.

A Note on Copyright and Digital Media

A related topic to plagiarism is respecting copyright for digital media. If you wish to include digital media from another source (e.g. audio, video, graphics files, and large data sets), you should ensure you have appropriate permissions to use them. Citation may not be enough.

You can learn more at these links below. When in doubt, link, but don’t copy.

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