Revisiting the Plagiarism

‘Cheating is a choice, not a mistake’- Anonymous

lagiarism in its most simple form means to copy paste someone else’s work and represent it as your own. Plagiarism is not only morally and ethically incorrect but it’s a theft a crime. . The holy prophet (PBUH) abhorred theft crimes and prescribed harsh punishments for it. It is surprising to note that that in our Muslim dominated country, the instances of this form of misconduct among scientific community is on the rise. It is therefore, the duty of our editorial board to educate our readers about this crime.
A recent survey by Turnitin, the market leader for detecting plagiarism, has outlined various types of plagiarism1

  • Let’s visit each type with a hope that our readers will develop a better understanding of the topic.

1. CLONE: It happens when a published paper is copy pasted with-out changing a word. Exceptions to this type of plagiarism are instances where the authors have mistakenly uploaded their work on HEC or any other repository while checking it for plagiarism. If such a paper is checked second time, a 100% similarity will be displayed. It is important for new users of turnitin to be aware of this issue and always uncheck this option while performing plagiarism check. Also make sure not to give your manuscript to anyone for plagiarism checking who might do the same mistake. In past turnitin used to entertain retractions of such erroneous repository submission, not anymore. Only solution now is to rewrite. In our experience this is one of the biggest problems faced by authors who submit thesis based manuscripts.

2. CTRL-C: It is another common mal-practice where the author simply changes a few values in results or a few words here and there from a single source. We have rejected one paper where entire article was plagiarized
from a single source and only the values in results were changed.
3. FIND-REPLACE: This is very similar to the above mentioned one. Only difference is that in this type, words or even entire phrases are changed but the essential content of the source is retained.
4. REMIX: As the name suggests, content is copied from various sources and is re-phrased and fit together.
5. RECYCLE: This is an example of self-plagiarism where one uses his own previous work without proper citations and presents it as something new.
6. HYBRID: It is similar to remix; only difference is that the citations are removed to make it look original.
7. MASHUP: Similar to remix and hybrid.
8. 404 ERROR: This type includes misquotations. This is also a very common mal-practice. In this type the author fabricates the results of published data and cites it usually in the discussion part to justify his results.
9. AGGREGATOR: This happens when the copy pasted and re phrased manuscript contains proper citations. Entire work is plagiarized, just like in CTRL-C
10. RE-TWEET: Similar to Aggregator. The readers are encouraged to visit the turnitin website to get a better idea of each type of plagiaism. The editorial team of Journal of Pakistan Dental Association hopes that this editorial will help improve their understanding of the subject and that they will exercise maximum caution.
Plagiarism and academic misconduct was also a hot topic at a recently concluded conference in Iran on publication ethics2

  • This conference was a joint venture with Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), UK. The readers are encouraged to visit the website of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences and read the full report of the conference.

Dr Arshad Hasan
Associate Editor

2 Jawaid SA. Second International Conference on Publication Ethics organized by Shiraz University of Medical Sciences (Shiraz Iran December 4-5, 2014). Pak J Med Sci 2015;31(2):251-262.