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Referencing & Plagiarism Awareness: 4. What is plagiarism?

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is passing off someone else's work as your own.

For example:

  • failing to cite an author whose book or article you have quoted from in your assignment

  • copying and pasting text from the Internet into your assignment without indicating the source (but please see the box below for further information on acknowledging sources and Unacceptable Academic Practice)

  • copying some or all of a friend's essay into yours

  • buying an essay online or from another source

Find out more about what the University considers to be plagiarism and what happens if you plagiarise, in the Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice.

Aberystwyth University. (2019) Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice. Available at: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/academic-registry/handbook/regulations/uap/ (Accessed: 22 July 2020).

Unacceptable Academic Practice

Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of material taken from other sources (whether on the internet or in print media). This is 'Unacceptable Academic Practice'; whereas the copying of material from the internet (with acknowledgement) is an example of 'Poor Academic Practice'. The latter is likely to result in low marks; whereas the former calls for further disciplinary measures to be taken.

However, just identifying the source - for example, by including it in a bibliography - does not necessarily negate the possibility of plagiarism. If passages from the source are not clearly identified - usually by the use of 1) quotation marks; and 2) a reference - and distinguished from the student's own words, then this would constitute a case of plagiarism. It doesn't matter whether such a failure to clearly identify source material occurs intentionally or unintentionally: UAP investigations do not determine intention, only whether or not plagiarism has occurred.

Find out more about what the University considers to be plagiarism and what happens if you plagiarise, in the Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice.

Top tips on how to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism by translation

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Plagiarism through translation can include:

  • Having someone else translate your work from your first language into your second language (a kind of co-plagiarism)
  • Translating your own previously submitted work (a kind of self-plagiarism)
  • Translating someone else's work and presenting it as your own work
  • Paraphrasing another's words in translation and presenting it as your own work

If you use a source originally in English and paraphrase in another language (or vice versa) for your work, this is treated as paraphrasing and should be referenced according.  See How to paraphrase for further guidance.

Find out more about what the University considers to be plagiarism and what happens if you plagiarise, in the Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice.

Aberystwyth University. (2019) Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice. Available at: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/academic-registry/handbook/regulations/uap/ (Accessed: 22 July 2020).

Self-plagiarism

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Recycling of data or text in more than one assessment, when this is explicitly not permitted by the Department will be viewed as Unacceptable Academic Practice: Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice : Academic Registry, Aberystwyth University.

If it is permitted by your Department and you re-use any part of a previous assignment you have written for another module or course in your current work, you must acknowledge this, otherwise it is known as self-plagiarism.

How to insert citations into your assignment

Referencing examples

Internet Plagiarism

Information that is found online and freely available should be cited unless it is common knowledge.

What is Common Knowledge?

Events, facts and information that can be found in a number of places and known by those studying a particular topic.

Examples;

  • The sky is blue.

  • Boris Johnson is the British prime minister.

  • World War One began in 1914.

If in doubt then cite!

How to insert citations into your assignnment

Plagiarism by Contract Cheating

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Contract cheating can entail:

•    Paying someone else to write your assignment, then submitting it as your own work.
•    Purchasing materials from an essay mill and incorporating them into your assignment without acknowledgement.
•    Collaborating with other students, friends, or family members in order to complete work that is submitted as your own.

Contract cheating usually (but not always) involves a commercial transition. It is the most serious form of plagiarism and is subject to severe penalties. Engagement with essay mills can also leave students vulnerable to blackmail and identity theft.
Find out more about what the University considers to be plagiarism and what happens if you plagiarise, in the Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice.
Aberystwyth University. (2019) Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice. Available at: https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/academic-registry/handbook/regulations/uap/ (Accessed: 22 July 2020).