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Uncovering the Reality of Plagiarism

Posted by Janett Perry on Jan 25, 2010 7:47:00 AM
light bulb book2 150x150 resized 600A recent report about the University of Nottingham states that instances of plagiarism within the school have risen nearly 700% since 2004.  The records filed through the Freedom of Information act seem to highlight an alarming increase in students submitting plagiarized work.

The University of Nottingham, however, argues that the perceived statistic is not due to an increase in plagiarism, but rather an increase in plagiarism detection capabilities. 

In 2006, the university invested in plagiarism detection software, enabling professors to easily cross check a student’s submitted work with a variety of extensive databases.

Even though the number of cheating students may have held steady throughout the decade, catching more students with modern technology could account for the 700% increase. 

One could also argue that since 2004, increased access to Internet resources has equipped students with an easier path to plagiarism.

In either case, plagiarism is a reality at universities and detecting duplicate content is the first step to stopping it. The same plagiarism problem that universities face is mirrored within the working world.

Publishers, research institutes and media firms are beginning to open their eyes to the reality of plagiarism.

Even if these industries haven’t noticed plagiarism in the past, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been occurring right under their nose.

Over the past decade, many high profile cases reinforce the notion that plagiarism is a constant reality, and not a ‘here and there’ occurrence. 

One such case, Jayson Blair of the New York Times, uncovered a history of repeat instances of plagiarism from other publications.   Although the case became big news in the light of media coverage, in reality the plagiarism was undetected and ongoing for a long period of time.  Since then, increased access to Internet resources most likely means even more cases of undetected plagiarism.

Although it is alarming when rampant statistics or extreme cases of plagiarism are revealed, we can rest assured that knowing the reality of the situation is far better than being in the dark. 

Whether a business has 1000 employees or is a one man operation, it has become due diligence to verify the originality of any submitted works.  The reality of plagiarism allows us to move forward; in industries like publishing it makes the difference between a reputable and untrustworthy publication.


Gant, Will. “Plagiarism up 700% at University.”  Impact Magazine 20 Jan. 2010