Avoiding Plagiarism

Welcome to my second blog post.

The first post talked about ensuring that your paper fitted the scope of the particular journal that you submitted to. Being out of scope is one of the top two factors in immediate rejection. However, the other factor is even more crucial. You must avoid plagiarism!

Plagiarism – Publication Suicide!

Probably every author knows what plagiarism is: it’s copying word for word without acknowledgement, right? Well, yes, that, and more. Our journal submission page outlines Turnitin's advice on what constitutes plagiarism. This blog reduces these to three overarching types. Plagiarism is a practice that is not acceptable in any journal. Avoiding plagiarism is the cardinal rule of academic integrity because plagiarism, whether intentional or unintentional, is, predominantly, presenting someone else’s work as your own. The IAFOR Journal of Education immediately rejects any submission with evidence of plagiarism.

Plagiarism without any form of acknowledgement or referencing, particularly using someone else’s direct words, is where "yes" is applicable to the description of plagiarism as copying word for word. This form of copying applies to any form of media, including websites. Yes, it is still plagiarism to copy from Wikipedia! In the time that I have been Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the IAFOR Journal of Education this form of plagiarism has, thankfully, been relatively low.

But I put the author and date!

HOWEVER, copying word for word and only putting an author name and date is also plagiarism. This is happening far too frequently, particularly in literature reviews, where an author’s argument or research findings are copied word for word from a text and then, in brackets, (Author, Date). Direct quoting requires quotation marks and a page number in the reference. This form of plagiarism is best avoided by paraphrasing rather than copying. In the last five issues that I have published, over 50% of articles submitted have been rejected for this form of plagiarism, where sentences and often whole paragraphs have frequently been copied word for word.

Plagiarism? Can’t be! They’re my words!

The last form of plagiarism is still copying word for word, but not copying someone else's words. This is copying your own published work. This is self-plagiarism, where you use your own previously published work in another submission. It doesn’t happen as frequently as the first two, but it does still happen. It is not acceptable academic practice to use material that you have already had published (which includes in conference proceedings) in a new submission. You should not use your previously published words and you should not submit about the same data unless it is used in a completely new way.

Every paper submitted to the IAFOR Journal of Education is monitored through the use of plagiarism screening software before it is sent to the issue editor for checking in terms of being review worthy. Please, make the likelihood of your paper moving through the process from me to the editor more likely by avoiding plagiarism of any form.


Dr Yvonne Masters
IAFOR Journal of Education

Posted by Publications