The term plagiarism derives from the Latin word “plagiarius,” meaning “kidnapper” or “abductor.” Although plagiarism is difficult to define in a few words, it can be viewed as the stealing of another person’s ideas, methods, results, or words without giving proper attribution. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), UK, has defined plagiarism as “the unreferenced use of others published and unpublished ideas.”
Researchers and authors should follow the ethical code of good scientific practice, based on the principles of honesty and integrity. Original thought is valued highly in the scientific world and preventing plagiarism from preserves its sanctity. Paraphrase and summary are the two most important ways to avoid plagiarism. Paraphrase means to express someone else’s ideas in your own language and to summarize means to write down the essence of someone else’s work. Following are some of the common advice to avoid plagiarism:
- Acknowledge the original source of idea, text, pictures, artwork, or illustration right below it.
- Text-copied verbatim must be enclosed within quotation marks.
- Even when paraphrasing has been carried out, it is essential to properly acknowledge the original source.
- If part of the own previous publication is used, it must be clearly disclosed in the covering letter to the editor.
- Written permission is required to use any published table, figure, picture, artwork.
- If one feels that he/she has used somebody else’s idea or text unintentionally without appropriate referencing, one should immediately write to the journal editor and seek advice.
- Before submission, run your manuscript through plagiarism check websites to avoid the embarrassment of being caught plagiarizing later.