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28 Guidelines at a Glance on Avoiding Plagiarism

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The following guidelines are taken from "Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing" by Miguel Roig.Guideline 1: An ethical writer ALWAYS acknowledges the contributions of others to his/her work.

Guideline 1: An ethical writer ALWAYS acknowledges the contributions of others to his/her work.

Guideline 2: Any verbatim text taken from another source must be enclosed in quotation marks and be accompanied by a citation to indicate its origin.

Guideline 3: When we summarize others’ work, we use our own words to condense and convey others’ contributions in a shorter version of the original.

Guideline 4: When paraphrasing others’ work, not only must we use our own words, but we must also use our own syntactical structure. 

Guideline 5: Whether we are paraphrasing or summarizing we must always identify the source of our information.

Guideline 6: When paraphrasing and/or summarizing others’ work we must ensure that we are reproducing the exact meaning of the other author’s ideas or facts and that we are doing so using our own words and sentence structure.

Guideline 7: In order to be able to make the types of substantial modifications to the original text that result in a proper paraphrase, one must have a thorough command of the language and a good understanding of the ideas and terminology being used.

Guideline 8: When in doubt as to whether a concept or fact is common knowledge, provide a citation.

Guideline 9: Authors of complex studies should heed the advice previously put forth by Angell & Relman (1989). If the results of a single complex study are best presented as a ‘cohesive’ single whole, they should not be partitioned into individual papers. Furthermore, if there is any doubt as to whether a paper submitted for publication represents fragmented data, authors should enclose other papers (published or unpublished) that might be part of the paper under consideration (Kassirer & Angell, 1995).

Guideline 10: Authors who submit a manuscript for publication containing previously disseminated data, reviews, conclusions, etc., must clearly indicate to the editors and readers the nature of the previous dissemination. The provenance of data must never be in doubt.

Guideline 11: While there are some situations where text recycling is an acceptable practice, it may not be so in other situations.  Authors are urged to adhere to the spirit of ethical writing and avoid reusing their own previously published text, unless it is done in a manner that alerts readers about the reuse or one that is consistent with standard scholarly conventions (e.g., by using of quotations and proper paraphrasing).

Guideline 12: In the domain of conferences and similar audio-visual presentations of their work, authors should practice the same principles of transparency with their audiences. 

Guideline 13: In addition to standard practices of ethical scholarship, authors must be mindful of readers’ expectations, applicable issues related to intellectual content rights (i.e., copyright), and, especially, the need to always be transparent in our work when reusing material across the various dissemination domains.

Guideline 14: Because some instances of plagiarism, self- plagiarism, and even some writing practices that might otherwise be acceptable (e.g., extensive paraphrasing or quoting of key elements of a book) can constitute copyright infringement, authors are strongly encouraged to become familiar with basic elements of copyright law.

Guideline 15: Authors are strongly urged to double-check their citations.  Specifically, authors should always ensure that each reference notation appearing in the body of the manuscript corresponds to the correct citation listed in the reference section and vice versa and that each source listed in the reference section has been cited at some point in the manuscript. In addition, authors should also ensure that all elements of a citation (e.g., spelling of authors’ names, volume number of journal, pagination) are derived directly from the original paper, rather than from a citation that appears on a secondary source. Finally, when appropriate, authors should ensure that credit is given to those authors who first reported the phenomenon being studied.

Guideline 16: The references used in a paper should only be those that are directly related to its contents. The intentional inclusion of references of questionable relevance for purposes such as manipulating a journal’s or a paper’s impact factor or a paper’s chances of acceptance, is an unacceptable practice.

Guideline 17: Always cite the actual work that is consulted.  When the published paper cannot be obtained, cite the specific version of the material being used whether it is conference presentation, abstract, or an unpublished manuscript. Ensure that the cited work has not been subsequently corrected or retracted.

Guideline 18: Generally, when describing others’ work, do not cite an original paper if you are only relying on a secondary summary of that paper. Doing so is a deceptive practice, reflects poor scholarly standards, and can lead to a flawed description of the work described.

Guideline 19: If an author must rely on a secondary source (e.g., textbook) to describe the contents of a primary source (e.g., an empirical journal article), s/he should consult writing manuals used in her discipline to follow the proper convention to do so. Above all, always indicate to the reader the actual source of the information being reported.

Guideline 20: When borrowing heavily from a source, authors should always craft their writing in a way that makes clear to readers which ideas/data are their own and which are derived from sources being consulted.

Guideline 21: When appropriate, authors have an ethical responsibility to report evidence that runs contrary to their point of view. In addition, evidence that we use in support of our position must be methodologically sound. When citing supporting studies that suffer from methodological, statistical, or other types of shortcomings, such flaws must be pointed out to the reader.

Guideline 22: Authors have an ethical obligation to report all aspects of the study that may impact the replicability of their research by independent observers.

Guideline 23: Researchers have an ethical responsibility to report the results of their studies according to their a priori plans. Any post hoc manipulations that may alter the results initially obtained, such as the elimination of outliers or the use of alternative statistical techniques, must be clearly described along with an acceptable rationale for using such techniques.

Guideline 24: Authorship determination should be discussed prior to commencing research collaboration and should be based on established guidelines, such as those of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

Guideline 25: Only those individuals who have made substantive contributions to a project merit authorship in a paper.

Guideline 26: Faculty-student collaborations should follow the same criteria to establish authorship. Mentors must exercise great care to neither award authorship to students whose contributions do not merit it, nor to deny authorship and due credit to the work of students.

Guideline 27: Academic or professional ghost authorship in the sciences is ethically unacceptable

Guideline 28: Authors must become aware of possible conflicts of interest in their own research and to make every effort to disclose those situations (e.g., stock ownership, consulting agreements to the sponsoring organization) that may pose actual or potential conflicts of interest.