Tag Archives: Plagiarism

You must always cite your sources

11 Aug

This ethical conduct applies even for non scientific authors like the columnists of the most famous news papers. This time an example of plagiarism comes from this part of the writing world (not always the scientists are to be stigmatized  for this bad habit) . Here is the case reported to us by the Southern California Public Radio KPCC 89.3:

Fareed Zakaria suspended from CNN, Time for plagiarism

The reaction of CNN who, as soon as the plagiarism has been unveiled in the columns of Time’s August 20th issue, checked the incriminated author’s blog, fired the non attributed excerpt and suspended the perpetrator, deserves to be noted. The reaction of these two great institutions of the press is sound and it insists on the importance of honesty even for the most famous bloggers.

By the way, I love Fareed Zakaria writings because of their eclecticism and their liberal approach of the world’s events and in the future I will continue to read his editorials which always enlightened me.

Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International...

Fareed Zakaria, Editor, Newsweek International was a featured speaker at Charles Schwab Institutional Impact 2007 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plagiarism is a bad action, self-plagiarism is even worst

17 Feb

Redundant publication is dishonest.

The ethical code of journalism as well as literature code of honor banish heavily plagiarism as it is an important, wide-spread, well known malpractice. Journalists and writers are not alone; Scientists also put plagiarism in the top list of deadly sins. A great amount of texts has been written up today on how to handle this matter. But beside we have to keep in mind that scientists love to meticulously write a multitude of sophisticated rules (i.e.guidelines). Then they write papers on how to respect these rules (check lists of items). Then even more papers are published on who didn’t respect these rules and the various pattern of disrespect (retraction notices). Then back again to the beginning for adding some precisions or extensions to the initial rules and then the virtuous circle start again. One of those numerous written rules, which scientists affectionate, is the rule regulating the plagiarism. In scientific publication plagiarism is one of the highest sin in the scale of misconduct and dishonesty. Specific soft wares are run by editors on the pre-publication materials in order to reduce the risk of plagiarism before editing an article. Plagiarism includes a sub-category: self-plagiarism. What do scientific researchers mean when putting next one to another such apparently contradictory and opposed two terms? That’s what I will try to explicit below, if possible with simple words. Self-plagiarism occurs when a scientist publishes two or more different articles based on the same set of data (even if he added a few new units in one of the paper, the principal core of the data is the same in the two papers) and the same research question (or a very light difference between the research questions in the two papers). Why is self-plagiarism dangerous for the community (and hence considered as a sin)? There are four main reasons: First, scientific publication stem from the unpaid work of volunteers (i.e. the scientific readers of the submitted paper intended to issue an approved version) and consequently self-plagiarism lead to unnecessary overload of work for this readers; Second, meta analysis now uses sophisticated statistical tools which will be biased if two different articles based on the same set of data for the same outcome are included (thus giving twice more weight to the results than they deserve in term of evidence); Third, academic evaluation based on the number of publication will be deceived when counting two-time the same work; And four there will be automatically a moral infringement with regard to the reader because each article is assumed to be original. Another scientific misconduct very near from self-plagiarism is the salami-slice publication. A searcher is culprit of salami-slice publication when he publishes in two episodes a work that would have been published in one (analyses and results are simple enough for one single paper) without warning the reader in none of the two publications. Now you have no excuse if you are caught in self-plagiarism misconduct or if you salami-slice your papers.

This image shows a salame.

Image via Wikipedia

Works consulted (but not plagiarized) to write this post:

Kassirer JP, Angell M. Redundant Publication: A Reminder. N Engl J Med. 1995 Aug;333(7):449-450. Available from:http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJM199508173330709.







Quoting directly, paraphrasing or summarizing?

3 Feb

How to quote your sources?

Quotation marks

Image via Wikipedia

voltaire, paraphrased
voltaire, paraphrased (Photo credit: stanrandom)

Research advances in an environment of scientific background which an honest researcher has the obligation to quote all along his paper.

But quoting responds to some rules that most of us follow without even thinking of it.

This Post intends to structure the act of quotation or citation in a scientific paper.

Article 1: the tag or the “signal phrase” that incorporate the quotation into your own text

Our results are confirmed by the work of other academic authors who ….

Article 2: the quotation of the source material

  • Direct quote of the source always requires quotation marks:

…wrote that butterflies “flutter their wings in a synchronistic movement that produces a subtle and unforgettable music”


  • Indirect quote of the source using a paraphrase, don’t require quotation marks:

found that butterflies synchronize their movement such producing a music which he qualifies as subtle and unforgettable


  • Indirect quote using a summary of the source, don’t require quotation marks:

…. described how butterflies flutter their wings

Article 3: the in text citation including in parentheses the last name of the quoted author and the year of the publication or the number of the reference:

  • (Herrera, 2009)


  • [3]

Article 4: the list of sources also called “references”, “bibliography” or “works cited” is placed at the end of the paper in alphabetic order or in order of appearance in the paper:

  • Herrera, A. (2009, July). Masters of Migration. Americas, (4), 57-63. Retrieved June 30, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 1742961721).


  • [3] Herrera, A. “Masters of Migration.” Americas 1 Jul 2009: Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 30 Jun. 2010.


Caveat: if you don’t respect these four articles here above you might be responsible of a plagiarism, which is a very severe misconduct for a scientist.

Learn more:

Documenting Sources


An Aid to Paraphrasing


Examples of paraphrasing: Good and Bad


Le savoir plagier et/ou le paraphrasage : copier sans se faire prendre ?


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