As it is known, plagiarism is a form of imposture. Whether it is by intention or not, stealing someone else’s work or not citing the original authors correctly is considered a crime. It is the practice of using someone else’s work and saying that you thought of it first or created it. Although there are unclear guidelines and rules between copying and thorough research, a student’s research is required to acknowledge the author of certain phrases, words or data that have contributed to the originality of the student’s material.
It is clear that plagiarism is a serious offence with some dire consequences and must be avoided at all costs. However, paraphrasing and re-quoting of a material are important as it allows one to add their own ideas and statements too.
Before you study the consequences of plagiarising work, first understand the categories of plagiarism.
- Direct plagiarism
It is a process when a student copies word to word of another person’s work without citing the author. This is most common in assignments where one student does the work, and other students just copy this work because maybe they did not complete theirs on time or did not find enough information.
It means copying work done by yourself before. E.g. submitting statements of an assignment handed to another professor without his or her permission, or handing in the same assignment to different professors without their permission.
- Mosaic plagiarism
This is where the writer copies words from an author without quotation marks or citing the author of the phrases and statements. Sometimes the writer may quote the author in a wrong way (wrong author to a quotation, etc.)
Being accused of any of these types of plagiarism can be frightening. That is why all the diligent students are extra careful when it comes to citing quotes and information from their papers. The consequences are severe and may end your academic career and effectively ruin your life.
- Removal from position
The first consequence of plagiarising work is the removal from the position you may have been holding previously. If it is a minor case of plagiarism, you will only get a warning. However, you will have to explain to the professor why you plagiarised work. Here, you can argue that it was accidental. For cases where most of the paper or the entire assignment was copied, you will get more severe consequences. If you are a student, it means that you may fail the course or get expelled from school. There is also a chance that you will lose your job if you are working.
A great example is that of Marie-Louise Gumuchian who got fired from CNN because they found that she had plagiarised over 128 times. Her firing also included coverage by CNN and a declaration that they had deleted all the stories written by her that were plagiarized.
As a working professional, you are expected to know better than to put a client’s company at risk with your written content pieces. Thus your removal from the role especially if it has happened several times before.
- Ruined reputation
If you are a well-recognised author or individual in society, your reputation will get destroyed. When you are accused and found guilty or improper citations, it will stick with you. Students expelled from their colleges or universities, as a result, may have trouble being accepted to other educational institutions. These accusations are likely to follow you from one job to another, and you will have trouble getting a job at all.
- There may be legal consequences
On rare occasions, your plagiarism cases may have more severe consequences of having a tough time getting work. It is vital for you to understand the copyright laws and have issues following them. Failing this, the consequences can be grave – the author even may be sued to a prison sentence if the case is deemed a criminal offence. This is specific to people who write for a living like journalists who are always likely to have copying issues. It would be wise to use plagiarism checker after writing your paper to make sure that it is unique. These simple programs may help you avoid serious problems. If you write often, you are required to be more careful because you do extensive research and may face challenges finding the right authors for each piece of information.
- The loss of lives
Sometimes, if an individual does not do thorough research, there is a great chance that they will plagiarise erroneous material. If the study conducted was medical, it could easily lead to the loss of life. This is the type of plagiarism that is particularly heinous. In the medical field, according to a report released in 2013, the most common type of plagiarism is self-plagiarism which has led to a lot of duplication of the same material in the media. These unethical research methods are having serious consequences in the medical profession. It is difficult to compare research from different people because so much of the information is copied from one source and authors claim to have conducted experiments themselves.
Avoiding plagiarism is easy. It requires authors to understand and follow the proper citation methods required from each paper. With proper citation, it is easy for them to give credit to the source. While there are some cases of accidental plagiarism, severe cases can be deemed intentional. Students need to take advantage of the different software available online that help them check plagiarism instances in their work. At the very beginning, for new writers, avoiding plagiarism may seem difficult. However, with time, it gets easier as they learn how to cite properly and research better.