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SOCNET  August 2008

SOCNET August 2008

Subject:

Re: Plagiarism

From:

Joseph Trimble <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Joseph Trimble <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 6 Aug 2008 07:22:24 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (55 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Good day all. The principled and ethical conduct of research has become a strong interest of mine in recent years and thus has led to a few publications including an edited book. More recently my interest extended to include the whole gamut of scientific inquiry including the topic plagiarism. So with out much hesitation let me point you to the publication manual of the American Psychological Association where in Principle 8.11 (Plagiarism) it states unequivocally that, “Psychologists do not claim the words and ideas of others as their own; they give credit where credit is due. Quotation marks should be used to indicate the exact words of another. Each time you paraphrase another author (i.e., summarize a passage or rearrange the order of a sentence and change some of the words), you will need to credit the source in the text” (APA, 2005, p. 130).

The topic is one that causes me great concern and disappointment especially when I learn that close colleagues “stole” someone else’s intellectual propert; and sometimes they do it blatantly and without remorse. Incidences of plagiarism are increasing at all levels so much so that publishers are installing search software to identify key phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that might be published elsewhere. I publish a number of edited books with Sage Publications and thus recently I was informed of their new practice. What concerns me is the strong possibility that the search engine will identify my words, passages, etc. in earlier writings and thus I may be challenged or accused of “self-plagiarism;” this is an extremely complex ethical and moral topic that’s making its way around the faculty discussion groups at some colleges and universities. One of my esteemed professors at Harvard a long time ago certainly would have been accused of “self-plagiarism” as he often repeated himself in his books and articles; he admitted it to us. Writing, debating, and discussing ethics is difficult in countless ways but when we extend the discussion to include a topic like “self-plagiarism” it gets very murky indeed. I’m reminded of the words of an old anthropologist colleague of mine, Clifford Geertz who wrote,  “Most social scientific research involves direct, intimate, and, more or less disturbing encounters with the immediate details of contemporary life, encounters of a sort which can hardly but affect the sensibilities of the persons who practice it. An assessment of the moral implications of the scientific study of human life which is going to consist of more than elegant sneers or mindless celebrations must begin with an inspection of social scientific research as a variety of moral experience” (Geertz, 2001, pp. 22-23).

References

APA (2005). Concise rules of APA style. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Geertz, C, (2000). Available light: Anthropological reflections on philosophical topics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

In spirit,
--Joseph

Joseph E. Trimble, PhD
Professor of Psychology
Western Washington University
516 High Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
________________________________________
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Valdis Krebs [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 10:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Plagiarism

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

What is a "practical" definition, or recognition, of plagiarism in
academia?

Surely if a student copies a "white paper" from a web site and turns
it in as original work it is plagiarism and possibly copyright
infringement.  But what about whole paragraphs and definitions from
said white paper?  I know "short phrases", such as "social network
mapping" are not copyrightable, nor open to plagiarizing, as long as
they are not trademarked.  But what constitutes the "line in the sand"
for plagiarism?  I'm sure it varies, a freshman undergraduate gets
more leeway than a PhD thesis or a professor's work.

What is common practice?  Any help or guidelines would be appreciated!

Valdis

_____________________________________________________________________
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_____________________________________________________________________
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