The problem of plagiarism is growing bigger and bigger in the present education system, not limiting itself to a specific region but all over the world. As Paldy (1996) has phrased, “the problem (of plagiarism) won’t go away”, leading it to emerge as a common and widespread problem. The notion of literary theft existed from time immemorial. It was first coined by Elizabethan playwright Ben Johnson at the beginning of the 17th century. Later with the advent of copyright laws, the right of authorship was confirmed, antagonizing the plagiarists. But in the recent world of the internet, the opportunity of plagiarizing others’ literary works have increased manifold.
It is an endemic in research
In research papers, the issue of plagiarism is endemic as there is constant stealing of information and ideas from different sources. There is also widespread usage of students’ work by members of the research scholars and taking credibility for research work done by someone else. There is no definite data portraying the scale and nature of the gravity of plagiarism, but this issue has to be checked as it poses threat to research integrity.
Plagiarism in the West
Plagiarism is a major concern in the West and is not just limited to few researchers but is widely present from undergraduates to PhD. As per a study, more than 50% of undergraduate and postgraduate research students have plagiarized at least once (Walker 1998). But as per the ranking given by Transparency International, New Zealand ranked highest in the Least Perceived Corruption Index (CPI). The reason behind such low plagiarism scores is the formulation and implementation of effective policies. It was first addressed by the US Congress in the 1980s’, followed by other European countries. It resulted in the regulation of charges of fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. In the west, especially in the USA, the plagiarized work of international researchers are more in ratio than local students. The former find it difficult to abide by the strictest of norms and policies regarding plagiarism in the US.
It is rampant in India
Several instances came out which proved its existence in higher education, among professionals. It started in the science field and gradually cropped up in other fields as well. According to Satyanarayana, most of the plagiarised materials are found in Indian journals which are seldom read or cited. Generally, plagiarism enters in research work as young researchers use other peoples’ work without acknowledgement. These plagiarized works are awarded without proper investigations, due to a cosy relationship with the examiner (Satyanarayana 2010). The recording and reporting of research work are dreadful in most Indian Universities. Some instances of highlighted plagiarized works are as follows.
- VC of Kumaon University B. S. Rajput and his colleagues resigned after they were found guilty of copying from a paper published by a Stanford scientist.
- The American Mathematical Society found Mahimaranjan Adhikary, a retired academician of Calcutta University, guilty.
- Pondicherry University VC, Chandra Krishnamurthy was accused of plagiarism for numerous articles (Gohain 2015).
Due to the lack of strict regulations with respect to plagiarism, there is a significant concern over plagiarism. India is adopting the policies from the West, especially New Zealand and the U.S. in curbing the menace of plagiarism.
- Gohain, M., 2015. Teachers, leaders stage protest demanding removal of Pondicherry University’s VC over allegations of fraud. Times of India.
- Paldy, L.G., 1996. The problem that won’t go away: addressing the causes of cheating. Journal of College Science Teaching, 26(1), pp.4–6.
- Satyanarayana, K., 2010. Plagiarism: a scourge afflicting the Indian science. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 131, pp.373–376.
- Walker, J., 1998. Student Pliagiarism in Universities: What are we doing about it? Higher Education Research and Development, 17(1), pp.89–106.