Plagiarism (from the Latin for kidnapper) is the presentation of another’s work as one’s own. The term, "plagiarism" covers everything from inadvertently passing off as one’s own the work of another because of ignorance, time constraints, or careless note-taking, to deliberately hiring a ghost writer to produce an examination or course paper. This range of possibilities is spelled out in more detail in the following list of examples.
Cheating is the unfair or dishonest acquisition or use of information in order to gain an advantage. This includes but is not limited to unauthorized use of information from another person’s paper, quiz, or exam; buying/borrowing, or selling/loaning quizzes, exams, or papers; unauthorized use of opened textbooks, notes, or other devices during a quiz or exam. It is the responsibility of each student to consult with faculty about the study aids and materials that are permissible.
Material should not be attributed to a source from which that material was not obtained. That is, one must not pass off primary sources as if they had been consulted when in fact, the material in the oral presentation or written work is based upon a secondary source. All primary and secondary source material must be properly identified and cited.
As scholarly writers, we are expected to acknowledge our indebtedness for ideas, phrases, sentences, data, computer code, charts, diagrams, figures, images, and longer verbatim quotations by citing our sources. Sources can include, but are not limited to, course readings, lectures, websites, interviews, and other students’ work. The necessity to cite sources extends to both published and unpublished work. Writers prepare for the necessity of proper source citation by taking careful notes on exact wording and spelling, page numbers, and source identification, including any material found on the internet. It is particularly important to present verbatim quotations exactly as they are in the original sources, including any errors. Paraphrases require documentation, and they must be a true restatement of the original rather than simply a rearrangement of the words in the sources. There are a number of methods of documentation. The form of the reference list or bibliography or footnote style may vary by discipline. There are a number of style manuals that describe the documentation rules for various academic disciplines. Some are in the reference collection at the library; many are online. Please the Hampshire College library for assistance on citing sources via the associated link.
Unacknowledged Use of Work Produced by Others
Presenting papers or sections of papers (including any material found on websites) bought, borrowed, or stolen from others as one’s own is the most blatant form of plagiarism. Plagiarism can also extend to buying, borrowing, or stealing data, images, or computer code and presenting it as one’s own. There is no acceptable excuse for this behavior, including ignorance.
Unacknowledged Multiple Authors or Collaboration
The notion that intellectual work is and should be a lonely and fiercely independent enterprise is sometimes overemphasized. At Hampshire College, students are encouraged to collaborate on work for courses, work for Division II, and even Division III “independent projects.” For example, students are encouraged to have better spellers look at their work if that is necessary, and faculty members show drafts of their work or discuss their ideas with colleagues. In almost any book or article, writers in footnotes and references lists recognize their indebtedness to colleagues who have criticized their work. Students, too, should acknowledge the assistance of their collaborators. In joint examinations or class projects, the contributions of each member of the group should be made clear and every member of the group should have an understanding of the whole project. All collaborators should be clearly acknowledged and cited on each individual’s work. Students should consult with their faculty about the expectations and limitations about collaboration specific to each course.
Unacknowledged Multiple Submission
Students are expected to generate original work in response to each assignment, unless the faculty member setting the assignment has expressly stated otherwise. Using the same paper or assignment, or portions thereof, for several purposes without prior approval (for example, submission of a paper to several classes or publication in several scholarly journals) is generally considered to be unacceptable.
Data fabricated or altered in a laboratory experiment or field project is an instance of academic fraud. Though it is not plagiarism per se, falsification of data is a clear violation of the ethics of scholarship.
A repudiation of plagiarism in all its forms is shared by all academic disciplines. However, there is some variation between disciplines regarding the methods and norms for acknowledging and citing sources within that discipline. These are best discussed with the faculty in the context of specific courses of projects. Ignorance of expectations around proper citations of sources and collaborations is not an excuse.