Plagiarism in scientific research and how to prevent it? –

Plagiarism used to be a big problem in scientific research. Before the advent of free and accessible plagiarism detection tools, people actually stole their colleagues’ work and published it on their behalf.

As you can probably imagine, this seriously harmed the progress of scientific research as plagiarists undermined the real researchers. It’s incredibly difficult to prove that an idea came from you because there’s no physical evidence. It becomes a question of “You said, he said”.

However, this is no longer the case, in the digital age research papers are stored online as soon as you create them and copyright laws themselves are very advanced. Dates on digital documents make it easy to prove who wrote what and when.

Combine that with plagiarism detectors and it becomes almost impossible to commit plagiarism and get away with it. Of course, plagiarism also has serious consequences. The greatest consequence is primarily the loss of your academic career and the destruction of your reputation.

Unfortunately, this also applies to accidental plagiarism. It is therefore important for researchers to be able to identify and remove plagiarism in their work.

types of plagiarism

Counterfeiting comes in many forms, but there are four main categories under which all others fall. These four types are as follows.

1. Direct/literal plagiarism

This is duplicating another source word for word and then claiming it is yours. That means you don’t credit the original author and try to pass off the work as yours.

2. Self Plagiarism

This occurs when you use some of your own past work, but without making it clear that it is past work. Essentially, you are trying to credit a single work twice, which is wrong.

Any ancient works you use should be clearly cited and identified as such.

3. Mosaic/patchwork plagiarism

Probably the most insidious type of plagiarism. It means you take small bits and pieces of other works, paraphrase them, and then put them together in a coherent way.

This type of plagiarism is quite difficult to detect and that is why it is so insidious. However, AI plagiarism checkers can also detect such plagiarism, so they are not untraceable.

4. Accidental Plagiarism

The most harmless kind of plagiarism. If you forget to cite a source, or you confuse some sources with others and give an incorrect citation. It’s also about writing something eerily similar to someone else by some unusual coincidence.

It has the same consequences as regular plagiarism, so it needs to be checked and removed before submitting any work.

How to avoid plagiarism?

1. Research from multiple sources

Plagiarism first occurs when your research on a topic is limited to one or two sources. What happens is that you are swayed by their opinions and take on the issue and reflect that in your own writing, resulting in plagiarism.

Therefore, research using many sources is good, you get a more objective view of the entire topic and can form your own opinion. This, of course, leads to unique writing.

However, it also has an inherent pitfall. Keeping track of many sources can be difficult. But that can be fixed with good management.

2. Use a plagiarism check tool

Every time you finish writing a draft, run it through an online plagiarism checker. This way you can find out any possible plagiarism that you may have committed in your work.

Once plagiarism is detected, you can edit it, remove it entirely, or cite it so it doesn’t count as plagiarism. It is important to check plagiarism in this way, as it will have irreparable consequences.

If plagiarism is found in someone’s work after it has been submitted to a magazine, publishers blacklist the authors and inform other publishers of their crime as well. That means they can no longer get their work published in the major magazines, and that means their careers are practically over.

3. Follow the sources

To avoid accidental plagiarism, keep track of which ideas and data you got from which source. If you don’t follow this tip, simply following tip one will still lead you to accidentally commit plagiarism.

There are many ways to keep track of sources. For one, you could create an Excel spreadsheet listing sources and what key idea or data you pulled from them. Another possibility is to take notes while researching and instead of just noting down the ideas, also write down the names of the documents.

In this way, you will not find it difficult to create the bibliography of your own work.

4. Citing sources correctly

One reason for accidental plagiarism is misquoting. We know that there are several methods of misquoting. Some of them are as follows:

  • Citing the wrong author
  • Citing the right author but wrong work,
  • Don’t quote at all
  • Change citation formats in a paper.

These are some ways to misquote. If you followed tip number three and kept track of all sources, this step will be quite easy. If not, then you should buckle up and do it.

And don’t forget to add the bibliography at the end of the document. It should include all the sources you used in your work.

5. Use quotation marks and paraphrases

If you need to use text from another work, there are two ways to do it. Copy the text verbatim and enclose it in quotation marks. Then cite the work from which you took the text.

Make sure the quote is in the same format you’re already using. If you start changing the citation format while working, it can be classified as plagiarism.

Use paraphrases when you feel you need to use someone’s idea but it’s too difficult to articulate. Paraphrase the text in a way that makes it easier to understand, and then quote it. Paraphrasing something doesn’t mean it’s yours, it’s still taken by someone else. Quoting is therefore necessary to avoid plagiarism.


Plagiarism is an unethical act in which a person uses someone else’s work and claims that it belongs to them. During the non-digital age, plagiarism was a threat to researchers because their work could be stolen and they had no way of proving it belonged to them.

Nowadays, plagiarism can be easily detected with tools. Plagiarism checkers are widely available and mostly free to use. Catching plagiarism is very easy, and the consequences are also severe. Therefore, plagiarism should be avoided.

By following the five tips in this article, you can avoid plagiarism in your own academic papers.

Comments are closed.