How some American students may view copying words as required – The blogs and opinion pieces of 2010

Summer 2010 had many blogs and opinion pieces on plagiarism, primarily at the university level or about the creation of new knowledge. Some bloggers focused on the use of another’s words without the customary quotation marks; others, on the failure to cite words, ideas, or facts. To see the versions of these opinion pieces and the responses, see these URLs:

·         For plagiarism as a “big deal,” see “What's the big deal about plagiarism?

·         For more on this, see “Plagiarism Is Not a Big Moral Deal” by Stanley Fish

·         For whether it is something else, see “Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age”


Consider these implications with copying of another’s words without listing clearly the source:

1.      Frequency has consequences: it increases credibility of having many people agree. Cloning text on the Internet is easy and it creates the illusion that many people agree.

2.      Verifiable and usable information is essential to be able to make good (or even good enough) decisions in such areas as business, voting, and personal finances.

·         What happens when we no longer can trace the source of information to determine whether we want to trust it?

·         What happens—as news reports show it has happened—when individuals can anonymously enter into a public database information that is in their private interests or the private interests of the company they work for?

·         What happens when the risk is removed from making statements? If you put your name on it and you have a reputation where you earn money from your work, you will be careful with what you say is true.



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