The current and less provocative term for using the words of others without proper citation is “unoriginality.” The more inflammatory term for using and taking credit for someone else’s work is “plagiarism.” Plagiarism is defined as literary theft and/or fraud; it is the ultimate academic offense, but the label is applied after the theft of intellectual product(s) has been discovered and its theft and fraudulent use have been adjudicated; faculty members and students are innocent until proven guilty. However, avoiding unoriginality is a required skill of scholars and is learnable; such learning is made easier through the use of iThenticate:
All faculty supervising theses and dissertations now have ready access to iThenticate. Supervisors can submit a paper for iThenticate analysis at any time and as many times as needed. In minutes the algorithm compares the paper of interest to a massive database of published material and produces a report of sources (individually numbered and color coded) that have similar wording. The report also gives an overall similarity score. A student and his/her advisor can review an analysis and locate areas that need to be paraphrased, put in quotes, and/or cited properly and thereby reduce the similarity score. By doing this process during the development of the document the student can learn to write in a way appropriate to his/her discipline and avoid unoriginality.
If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Thesis and Dissertation Services, 903-886-5967.