Six Common Types of Plagiarism in Academic Research


In recent years, the importance of integrity in research has been under the spotlight, with an increasing number of research institutions emphasizing the training of their researchers in this field. However, the issue of plagiarism in academic research has not gone away, and some recent statistics and events clearly underscore this.

In the computer world, a series of so-called “tortured phrases” helped a team of researchers uncover a new kind of fabricated research paper. Across India, attention has grown on the issue of hijacked journals, with fraudsters deceiving many early career researchers. It was recently reported that across Australia, more than one in ten college students submit assignments written by someone else, with new research suggesting that 95% of students who cheat this way are not taken. On that note, Copyleaks undertook a study earlier this year to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on global academic integrity. Their findings include worrying statistics, including the fact that, globally, the similarity score for academic submissions fell from an average of 35.1% to an average of 49.6% over the two time periods measured. . This includes a 31% increase in paraphrased content and a 39% increase in identical content. These figures also show that plagiarism does not occur in just one part of the research world, but affects experienced and early career researchers, as well as students themselves.

Despite all of this, there are many ways for the research community to encourage and support a culture of positive research integrity at all levels. By knowing some of the common signs of plagiarism and other unethical practices, institutions can help reduce the number of plagiarized or fabricated research articles.

So what are the most common types of plagiarism?

1. Paraphrase

It is the most common type of plagiarism and it is the act of the researcher or the student who reformulates a text in his own words, without citing their sources. Paraphrasing with correctly cited sources is not plagiarism. But when someone reads and uses different sources, extracts key points and ideas and rewrites them as if they were their own, it is paraphrasing plagiarism.

2. Patchwork or mosaic

Patchwork plagiarism is similar to paraphrasing – it is when the researcher or student copies and glues pieces of different text together to create new text. This includes reformulating pieces of the source material while retaining the structure of the original texts.

3. Word for word

Verbatim plagiarism occurs when a person directly copies text from a source and pastes it into their own research without properly citing the information. Even if they remove a few strange words, if the majority of the text is the same, it is still textual plagiarism. This can be avoided by citing the original source with quotes and using an in-text quote.

4. Source-based plagiarism

This type of plagiarism can occur in several ways. An incorrect quote is the key here; citing your sources is usually the first step in avoiding plagiarism. A quote is not enough on its own; the researcher or student must ensure that all sources are correctly cited. Most research areas or departments will have their own citation style, so make sure everyone follows the department citation style guidelines. Constituting a source or including inaccurate information about a source are also two forms of plagiarism. If done, it could mislead the newspaper’s readers into claiming that a trustworthy source supports the idea.

5. Global plagiarism

It is when the researcher uses someone else’s work while passing it off as their own.

6. Self-plagiarism

This is delicate and is often unintentional. The most serious type of self-plagiarism involves handing over an article that has already been submitted elsewhere – in this case, it is no longer a new or original work. Autoplagiarism can also occur when the researcher or student uses ideas or phrases from previous articles or work. institution policies and does not count as self-plagiarism.

How can you help your students and researchers avoid plagiarism?

There are several ways you can help your students, staff, and researchers avoid plagiarism and other bad practices. At Epigeum, we offer a number of programs on these topics that provide comprehensive training and may fit into a broader approach to research or academic integrity.

Our Research integrity The programs provide comprehensive training in research integrity at the institution level. The course identifies the principles and responsibilities required of each researcher throughout the research process, from planning to publication, providing practical advice on handling complex issues. The British edition incorporates the bond values ​​of the Concordat to support research integrity, while the Australian edition incorporates the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. This program can be adapted to support researchers working at all levels, with an approach designed to be accessible to postgraduates, postdoctoral fellows and early career researchers.

Our Academic integrity The program supports institutions in implementing a coherent and unified approach to integrity training. The program consists of five modules for staff and five modules for students. You can make sure that everyone in your university community is on the same page about best academic practices in their role.

Specifically for students, Avoid plagiarism is designed to ensure they follow best practices for SEO, paraphrasing, and using quotes. Students will gain a better understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and receive clear advice on proper referencing, quoting, and paraphrasing of other people’s work.


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