What is plagiarism? To plagiarize – to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
How Plagiarism Emerged
Requirements for the uniqueness of an academic paper existed even before the era of the Internet. But the teachers had to use only their memory and erudition to recognize possible plagiarism in students’ essays. If a student brazenly ripped off a text from a well-known monograph and tried to pass this hack as a course study, the teacher fired it in 99.9% of cases. But if the student managed to find a little-known article on the topic, the risk significantly reduced.
In general, in the pre-Internet era, it was possible to tear apart other people’s texts in whole paragraphs. The main thing was to mix thoroughly with paragraphs from other books and articles. Of course, you could not copy from articles of well-known authors, even if the material has remained relevant, specific stylistics gives out borrowings.
With the advent of the Internet, two problems appeared:
1) Hubs of essay samples – everything is clear, the teachers were sick and tired of getting frank plagiarism. Also, finished work from the network is easy to recognize even without special programs, because in most cases it is poorly written, with washy phrases.
2) Simplification of information retrieval – students began to compile texts using online sources. In fact, using the Internet to write term papers yourself is not prohibited. Who cares where you got the text, the main thing is the references. But a student is such a cunning creature that directs all the forces of his intellect to minimize labor costs. And in the process of increasing the amount of useful information in the network every year, for students, the need for copying library materials, as well as for scanning them, rewriting or reprinting, decreased significantly.
That is, before the era of informational Internet abundance, the student, even stupidly compiling the texts, still worked. And now, the info on any topic can be pulled from the network and then in a couple of hours, shuffle these pieces, achieving a pretty tolerable imitation of independent research.
By the way, undergraduates writing custom works used this method especially actively in 2000-2007. Golden times! Term paper for half a working day – easy peasy. The theoretical part of the diploma in a day? Will do within three hours! The main work of the student was to write the introduction and conclusion according to the template, as well as to generate conclusions. But then came an era of antiplagiarism!
Era of Anti-Plagiarism
Prior to the invention of specialized programs for bringing plagiarists to clean water, particularly meticulous teachers pushed lines from abstracts, term papers, and diplomas into the search engines. But the matter was rather dreary and did not guarantee the detection of privatized inserts if they were interspersed with a rewrite. For example, if a student inserted someone’s article as the head of a diploma, and the teacher checked only a couple of lines from the “honest” paragraph, the freebie went unpunished.
The first program to automatically identify conjugated pieces of text in multi-page works – Anti-plagiarism – appeared in 2007. She was directed not so much against freeloading students as against arrogant dissenters-plagiarists. Several major scandals brought to the public discussion a shameful fact for Russian science; a bunch of dissertations is stupid, arrogant, graceless plagiarism.
But the political use of the program almost immediately receded into the background. Teachers, joyfully rubbing their hands, began to spread rot on freeloaders. The students groaned. Custom students writing coursework and diplomas to order began to generate tons of hatred for inventors. Oh, if only at least 1% of diarrheal rays reached the authors of the Anti-Plagiarism! They wouldn’t get off the toilet for years!
Then more and more programs began to appear, but, however, with a special specialization: to analyze the uniqueness of web content. These are the programs of the portals Advego, Text.ru, ETXT, Content-Watch, and others. But to run the training works, the good old Anti-plagiarism with the bases of scientific works is used. Although nothing can prohibit your scientific adviser from driving away from the work under several anti-plagiarism programs with sadistic pleasure. After such a run, the chances of concealing copy-paste and even a high-quality rewrite tend to zero. The chances will increase if you use automatic services to unify the text, for example, Plagiant – according to the developers, their algorithms can bypass almost all plagiarism search tools).
How to deal with anti-plagiarism?
The fact is that some programs are of little use for analyzing the uniqueness of academic work. If your supervisor uses them, there is a high chance that he will simply bring you down. Arguably proof of your innocence may help. But in order to defend their innocence, it’s necessary to present the specifics of the program, which is used to verify the work.