Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Copy and paste for uncomedic error

Plagiarism in academic circles are considered as one of the highest blasphemy (just below falsifying data). Used to be this is about not acknowledging information sources but the "Ctrl+C" and "Ctrl+V" function in most writing softwares has extended the odd quotes to large swathes of work lifted ad verbatim from the original source (with/without attribution).

 It is not acceptable behaviour.

Anyone teaching at an institution of higher learning will tell you that "copy-paste" term papers are pretty par for the course. The students claim that they are overworked, don't quite understand what is the objective of the paper (and hence stuffed everything possible in it in hopes to garner some mercy points) and all kinds of excuses ("I didn't have time to do the paper properly since my cat died and I'm in mourning." is my personal favourite) to justify their action.

Identifying plagiarised paper of most student is actually pretty easy; just look for islands of flawless sentences in a sea of awkwardly written prose or perfect English sentences from students who could barely identify themselves in said language. Softwares like turnitin makes proving academic dishonesty that much easier.

What are the consequences of citation amnesia? It ranges from suspension, paper retraction or to even stepping down from being the defense minister. Karl-Theodore zu Guttenberg, a charismatic and youthful politician from aristocratic lineage (with the courtesy title of Baron), was alleged to have plagiarised significant portions of with Doctorate of Law thesis. Four years after granting him the degree, the University of Bayreuth withdrew his PhD.

The moral of the story is: If you lie, don't get caught.


en_me said...

salam singgah jer.. ehehe

Snuze said...

Salam kembali kepada jurugambar handal di sana!

me the martian said...

see, he had the decency to step down. kalau kat sini...ceh, jgn harap!

Snuze said...

Exactly! Pity though; it looked like he has good ideas and was shaking things up for the better.

Feet of clay ...