Accidental Plagiarism: Understanding and Avoiding It

November 14th, 2020

Reading time about 13 min

Plagiarism uses someone else’s work as one’s own without giving due acknowledgment to the original author. Out of the most common types of plagiarism, unintentional plagiarism is the most widespread.

Unintentional plagiarism occurs when a writer fails to follow scholarly procedures and accidentally copies parts of work that have already been composed.

It is seen as a lack of proper conduct and research necessary to undertake topics and is seen as a lack of appropriate academic preparation. One can describe accidental plagiarism as not giving due acknowledgment or citation without an explicit intent to cheat.

While accidental plagiarism is counted as ignorance rather than a willful and deliberate flouting of rules, it is still plagiarism. Hence, every punishment that applies to intentional acts of plagiarism applies to accidental plagiarism as well.

Hence, students need to be aware of the potential dangers of accidentally plagiarizing and learn how to avoid it.

What Gives Rise to Accidental Plagiarism?

With the advent of the internet and numerous articles existing on one topic, it is relatively easy to paraphrase unintentionally. While doing research, one may like certain parts and paraphrase it. However, if the student does not have a good understanding of the topic and an excellent grasp of the language, it can lead to plagiarized content.

Therefore, to avoid it, one should first understand the topic clearly and prepare them for writing. Another essential thing regarding this is that often student keeps looking at the material and paraphrases it simultaneously. It can degrade the work a lot; because, in this way, the writer does not understand the concept blindly using synonyms to paraphrase the whole thing.

So, it is always better to first understand the whole thing, comprehend the concept and the idea behind it, and then putting it down in pen and paper for the audience to read in one’s word. One’s word does not mean flowery language and ornamented words. The language should be simple yet unique enough to hit the audience.

accidental plagiarism, reading book

One of the fundamental responsibilities as a student is ensuring proper instructions are followed and original work is submitted. Hence, these behaviors, such as copying someone else’s work or not giving proper credit and acknowledgment, are unacceptable and can be highly detrimental to their careers.

What Are the Effects of Accidental Plagiarism?

1.      Academic:

Thorough checking is done to ensure that there is no plagiarism present in someone’s academic work. Any student who is caught plagiarising faces disciplinary actions and other punishments like deduction of marks, and if it is more serious, it can even lead to suspension or expulsion. Thus, not only their student-life but also their careers are affected severely.

2.      Legal:

The publication of copyrighted material without prior permission of the original author can lead to serious legal actions. Often it is monetary compensation, but sometimes, one can also initiate judicial trials.

accidental plagiarism, Gavel on Notes

3.      Professional:

When professionals are found copying their work from other sources without proper citation, their current work is dismissed, and their reputations are ruined. Their future job prospects are also reduced.

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

Hence, avoiding plagiarism is not only important but necessary for writing original articles.

1. Cite Sources:

Citing sources for an article, statistics, or picture that has been used in writing reports is the best way to avoid plagiarism. It is also important to stay loyal to the article’s tone and what it wants to say.

2. Paraphrase Carefully:

Using information from other materials and write in one’s own words does not count as plagiarism. However, one has to cite sources and stay true to the actual article.

3. Use Quotation Marks:

Always use quotes when copying sentences from another document.

4. Use A Plagiarism Checker:

The best way to stop accidental plagiarism is to use a plagiarism checker. One can run the assignments through these tools. They provide a comprehensive plagiarism report highlighting the percentage of plagiarism and supply links and URLs from where the work copied. The complex algorithm of these tools helps them detect almost any kind of plagiarism with high accuracy.

What to Do if Accused of Plagiarism?

Many people tend to think that their future is ruined and that they don’t have any chance of proving their innocence if accused of plagiarism. But mainly in instances of accidental plagiarism, chances of justification are high.

Previous works and behavior are also taken into account. A clean record increases the chances of not getting penalized by a thousand folds. One can also put forward the reasoning that the facts presented are common knowledge and do not count as plagiarism.

Sometimes sentence structures, previous track records, and research can prove that the plagiarism was unintentional. These efforts also demonstrate the students’ sincerity to prove their innocence.

Use a Good Duplicate Content Detector

While writing the content, one must be careful to avoid plagiarism and use a useful plagiarism checker. If one is a part of the administration, they should ensure none can trick and pass away with a paper having copied content.

Hence, choosing the best copy content detector in the market is the apt option that one can have. The free plagiarism checkers can lure the users a lot. However, one should not compromise with the quality of a write-up because one is responsible for the institute’s reputation as an administrator.

As a student, one is accountable for their career. Therefore, the best solution, in this case, is to ensure that the writer or the administrator chooses the best that gives them accurate results that can’t be questioned easily.

Another essential thing to consider is user-friendliness. If the checker is not user-friendly, it becomes difficult for people to go on with that checker and keep their customer loyalty. After considering all these factors, one can say that Copyleaks is an excellent tool for all because none can question its accuracy. At the same time, it is relatively user-friendly.

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