JIPMER
Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research

Definition & types of Plagiarism

DEFINITION

“Plagiarism is the copying or paraphrasing of other people’s work or ideas without full acknowledgement” – University of Oxford, United Kingdom

FORMS OF PLAGIARISM

Plagiarism has been observed to occur in various forms as given even in the presence of citation to original source.

1.       Verbatim copy of another person’s work without use of quotation mark

Unacceptable version: Essential medicines are defined as those drugs that satisfy the health care needs of the majority of the population.1

Acceptable version: Essential medicines are defined by World Health Organization as “those drugs that satisfy the health care needs of the majority of the population”.1

Explanation: Verbatim reproduction of a sentence or a paragraph must be given within quotes

2.       Copy of another person’s work with interchange of a few words or voice of the sentence or poor paraphrasing of sentences – also called as Mosaic Plagiarism

Original content from the source: A major step towards rational use of medicines was taken in 1977, when WHO established the 1st Model List of Essential Medicines to assist countries in formulating their own national lists. The present definition of rational use was agreed at an international conference in Kenya in 1985. In 1989, the International Network for the Rational Use of Drugs (INRUD) was formed to conduct multi-disciplinary intervention research projects to promote more rational use of medicines. Following this, the WHO/INRUD indicators to investigate drug use in primary health care facilities were developed and many intervention studies conducted.

Unacceptable version: In 1977, an important step towards rational use of medicines was taken and the 1st Model List of Essential Medicines was established by WHO to assist countries in making their own national lists. The current definition of rational use was accepted in International conference in Kenya (1985). The international network for the rational use of drugs (INRUD) was formed in 1989 to conduct research projects for the promotion of rational use of medicines. WHO and INRUD indicators were developed and many studies were conducted.1

Acceptable version: Although the concept of rational use of medicines originated way back in 1977 with the introduction of the 1st WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, it took 8 years to frame a definition for rational use of medicines in 1985, at an International Conference in Kenya. The slow growth of this concept highlighted a definite need to promote research in rational use of medicines, resulting in the formation of the International Network for Rational use of Drugs (INRADs) in 1989. INRUD along with WHO promoted research in rational use of medicines and also developed the assessment tools for studying drug usage patterns which can be used by other researchers especially in a primary health care setting. This resulted in an increasing number of studies being conducted in the field of rational use of medicines.1

Explanation: The writer must first study the source, understand the concept and frame his sentences in his own words. Merely changing few words, changing voice from active to passive or vice-versa, and poor paraphrasing does not absolve one from the issue of plagiarism.

3.       Using the style of another authors work in your own manuscript – Style Plagiarism

While writing a review article or a review of literature, there can be a tendency to select one good article and construct the review following the same headings or flow of ideas. This results in a significant portion of the review resembling the structure of the single source from which the review has been constructed. Such a manuscript lacks originality in its style. Even though the writing need not be exactly similar to the source article, this can still be considered as plagiarism since the style of the manuscript resembles that of the original author.

Content from an original Source:

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Review of Current Trends.

Oman Med J. Jul 2012; 27(4): 269–273.

Introduction: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is probably one of the oldest diseases known to man. It was first reported in Egyptian manuscript about 3000 years ago. In 1936, the distinction between type 1 and type 2 DM was clearly made. Type 2 DM was first described as a component of metabolic syndrome in 1988. Type 2 DM (formerly known as non-insulin dependent DM) is the most common form of DM characterized by hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and relative insulin deficiency. Type 2 DM results from interaction between genetic, environmental and behavioral risk factors.

Epidemiology: It is estimated that 366 million people had DM in 2011; by 2030 this would have risen to 552 million. The number of people with type 2 DM is increasing in every country with 80% of people with DM living in low- and middle-income countries. DM caused 4.6 million deaths in 2011. It is estimated that 439 million people would have type 2 DM by the year 2030. The incidence of type 2 DM varies substantially from one geographical region to the other as a result of environmental and lifestyle risk factors.

Lifestyle, Genetics, and Medical Conditions: Type 2 DM is due primarily to lifestyle factors and genetics. A number of lifestyle factors are known to be important to the development of type 2 DM. These are physical inactivity, sedentary lifestyle, cigarette smoking and generous consumption of alcohol. Obesity has been found to contribute to approximately 55% of cases of type 2 DM. The increased rate of childhood obesity between the 1960s and 2000s is believed to have led to the increase in type 2 DM in children and adolescents. Environmental toxins may contribute to the recent increases in the rate of type 2 DM. A weak positive correlation has been found between the concentrations in the urine of bisphenol A, a constituent of some plastics, and the incidence of type 2 DM.

Pathophysiology: Type 2 DM is characterized by insulin insensitivity as a result of insulin resistance, declining insulin production, and eventual pancreatic beta-cell failure. This leads to a decrease in glucose transport into the liver, muscle cells, and fat cells. There is an increase in the breakdown of fat with hyperglycemia. The involvement of impaired alpha-cell function has recently been recognized in the pathophysiology of type 2 DM. As a result of this dysfunction, glucagon and hepatic glucose levels that rise during fasting are not suppressed with a meal. Given inadequate levels of insulin and increased insulin resistance, hyperglycemia results. The incretins are important gut mediators of insulin release, and in the case of GLP-1, of glucagon suppression. Although GIP activity is impaired in those with type 2 DM, GLP-1 insulinotropic effects are preserved, and thus GLP-1 represents a potentially beneficial therapeutic option. However, like GIP; GLP-1 is rapidly inactivated by DPP-IV in vivo.

Screening and Diagnosis: Tests for screening and diagnosis of DM are readily available. The test recommended for screening is the same as that for making diagnosis, with the result that a positive screen is equivalent to a diagnosis of pre-diabetes or DM. Although about 25% of patients with type 2 DM already have microvascular complications at the time of diagnosis suggesting that they have had the disease for more than 5 years at the time of diagnosis. It is still based on the American Diabetic Association (ADA) guidelines of 1997 or World Health Organization (WHO) National diabetic group criteria of 2006, which is for a single raised glucose reading with symptoms (polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia and weight

Content with style plagiarism from the original source: Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Review of Current Trends

Introduction: Diabetes mellitus, which is an ancient disease dating back up to 3000 years ago, continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in current times. In 1936, type 1 and type 2 DM were differentiated and it was in 1988 that type 2 DM was first described as a component of metabolic syndrome. Type 1 diabetes mellitus is due to inadequate production of insulin whereas type 2 DM, the most common form of DM, is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency.

Epidemiology: Diabetes mellitus is a major health care problem world-wide. Around 366 million people had DM in 2011; it is estimated to be as high as 552 million by 2030. In every country the burden of diabetes mellitus in increasing. This is more especially in developing countries. Mortality due to diabetes mellitus is also high. In 2011, around 4.6 million people died due to DM and it is estimated to go as high as 439 million by the year 2030. Several factors contribute to the growing incidence of type 2 DM and this varies from one region to the other due to environmental and lifestyle risk factors.

Lifestyle, Genetics, and Medical Conditions: Life style factors and genetics are a primary cause for type 2 DM. These are sedentary lifestyle, smoking and consumption of alcohol. Further, obesity contributes to 55% of cases of type 2 DM and is one of the major cause for type 2 DM in children and adolescents along with environmental toxins. Bisphenol A, a constituent of some plastics is also associated with type 2 DM. Many genetic studies have shown an increase susceptibility and resistance to treatment among patients with DM who possess certain mutations in the genes coding for insulin receptor and certain drug metabolizing enzymes.

Pathophysiology: In type 2 DM, although the production of insulin is present, there is a relative inaction of insulin at various sites. It can be described as a relative insulin insensitivity as a result of insulin resistance. Decreased glucose entry into cells and an impaired alpha cell function causes hyperglycemia occurs especially after a meal that does not get suppressed. The gut hormones, incretins, is also impaired in type 2 DM. However, their insulinotropic effects are retained and this aspect may be used in drug development for type 2 DM. However, the enzyme DPP4 rapidly breaks down incretins and the duration of action is short in-vivo.

Screening and Diagnosis: The tests used for screening are the same as those used for making a diagnosis. If a person is positive during a screening test, he can be considered to have pre-diabetes or DM.  A person is said to be diabetic if there are (as per the American Diabetic Association (ADA) guidelines of 1997 or World Health Organization (WHO) National diabetic group criteria of 2006) raised values on two occasions, of either fasting plasma glucose (FPG) 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dL) or with an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), two hours after the oral dose a plasma glucose 11.1 mmol/L (200 mg/dL).

4.       Use of metaphors or analogy that has been used by the original author in the same context – Metaphor plagiarism

Authors may use metaphors to creatively explain their concept and it is an expression of their creativity. When such a metaphor is used by another author in his/her own manuscript in a similar context, without giving due credit to the original author, it is considered as plagiarism of metaphor.

Original content from source: A red blood cell is like a truck. They both transport essential supplies from one place to another through a system of passageways. The RBC can only carry so much oxygen. Need the truck (RBC), truck driver (hemoglobin) and load (oxygen) to work. Increasing oxygen without enough trucks doesn’t work.

Newby TJ and Ertmer PA, Instructional analogies and the learning of concepts.  Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994)

Unacceptable version: The physiological role of red blood cells (RBC) and haemoglobin in the transport of oxygen can be compared to a truck that transports essential supplies from one place to another through a system of roadways.  The capacity to transport goods is limited by the availability and capacity of trucks.  Only in the presence of truck (RBC), truck driver (hemoglobin) and load (oxygen) there can be an effective transport of oxygen to various parts of the body.  Increasing oxygen without increasing RBCs will not be effective just like increasing load, without increasing trucks.

Acceptable version: The physiological role of red blood cells (RBC) and haemoglobin in the transport of oxygen is best explained by Newby et al1 as “A red blood cell is like a truck.  They both transport essential supplies from one place to another through a system of passageways.  The RBC can only carry so much oxygen.  Need the truck (RBC), truck driver (hemoglobin) and load (oxygen) to work.  Increasing oxygen without enough trucks doesn’t work.”

5.       Copying the idea of an original author and claiming it as your own – Idea plagiarism

Although certain information are well known or considered as general knowledge, formulation of a unique and novel idea to use the information in a certain way can get published as a literature. If a person who has read that published literature, uses that idea to publish it as his/her own idea without making it clear to the readers the original source of the idea, it is considered as plagiarism.

Eg: Original source: xxxxxx et al. Indian J Clin Pharmacol. 2014; 2(4): 69–73: The importance of rational use of medicines in a developing country such as India has been stressed by many independent workers and organizations such as World Health Organization. The focus of attention has always been on the prescription pattern by the treating physician and health care policy of the hospitals. However, in addition to self-medication by general population by use of over the counter medicines, a major contributor for irrational use of antibiotics are the pharmacy stores which are manned by untrained staffs who prescribe antibiotics by a mere guess work based on sales pattern without any knowledge regarding the use of medicine. An assessment of burden of irrational drug use must also include instruments to measure the contribution of these unskilled staffs prescribing antibiotics in local pharmacy stores of that region.

Unacceptable version: Irrational use of medicines has led to increase in drug related morbidities. Several factors contribute to rising antibiotic resistance including irrational prescription by physicians and self-medication. Further, an additional hidden factor which mostly goes unnoticed by investigators is the role of unskilled staffs working in local pharmacies who prescribe antibiotics irrationally based merely on sales pattern and a feeble experience.

Acceptable version: Irrational use of medicines has led to increase in drug related morbidities. Several factors contribute to rising antibiotic resistance including irrational prescription by physicians and self-medication. Further, as described by xxxxxx et al1 an additional hidden factor which mostly goes unnoticed by investigators is the role of unskilled staffs working in local pharmacies who prescribe antibiotics irrationally based merely on sales pattern and a feeble experience.

6.       Plagiarism using patches of content from various sources

Content from many sources can be taken as ‘cut copy paste’ and patched up to form a single manuscript. Such instances occur during preparation of a review of literature for a thesis or a review article. Some author may even attempt to paraphrase the sentences though not adequately. This is not acceptable since there is no originality in the manuscript and the contents are just a collection of work done by others. An ideal way to write a review of literature or a review article is to read the source articles, understand the concepts, interpret and write your understanding in your own words. When it is necessary to use contents verbatim, proper quotation must be used and made clear to the readers regarding the original source of the content.

 7.       Plagiarism of entire content of an entire and submitting the same as one’s own original work:

This constitutes a very serious form of plagiarism where original contribution to a manuscript is minimal to zero. In this method, a person may take an article published from the internet or elsewhere and submit the same under his/her name.  In certain instances, articles published in other languages such as Chinese / Japanese may be translated to English and published in an alternate journal.

8.       Self-plagiarism and Auto-plagiarism – Use of previously published or submitted work for a new project:

Self or auto-plagiarism is a common occurrence and often debatable. Although the definition of plagiarism deals with use of another person’s content, when an author uses his/her own content in a newer project it is also considered as unacceptable and the term self or auto-plagiarism is used. This is often an issue for those researchers who work in the same field for many years to decades.

However, it is not acceptable for the following reasons:

  1. Violation of copyright – Very often, the copyrights are held with the publishers for the manuscripts published in a journal or book. Even the author cannot reuse the content in a fresh project without obtaining copyrights from the publisher.
  2. Questionable credentials – Publication of a manuscript using previously published contents increases the publication count and this in turn reflects upon questionable academic credits compared to others.

USEFUL LINKS ON PLAGIARISM

  1. Council of Writing Programme Administrators – http://wpacouncil.org/positions/WPAplagiarism.pdf
  2. University of Oxford – http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/academic/guidance/skills/plagiarism#
  3. Indiana University -  http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml
  4. Legal aspects of Plagiarism in USA – http://www.rbs2.com/plag.pdf
  5. Plagiarism. A students guide to recognizing it and avoid it http://ww2.valdosta.edu/~cbarnbau/personal/teaching_MISC/plagiarism.htm