Part 1 of this article appeared in the December issue of the HSLS Update, and listed resources about copyright, ownership and fair use. Part 2 will explore resources to assist in ethical authorship and avoiding plagiarism.
Attribution is giving “intellectual credit” to an author’s work, words, or ideas that appear in another published or unpublished work. Not only is attribution a requirement of copyright law, it is “widely regarded as a sign of decency and respect to acknowledge the creator by giving him/her credit for their work.”1 Authors give attribution by using citations, references, footnotes and/or bibliographies. This process is also referred to as citing.
The reason authors cite is to allow the reader to locate information that is quoted or paraphrased from the work of other scholars, enabling the reader to verify interpretations, arguments or findings, and to explore the topic further.2
Authors are expected to provide attribution when they:
- quote or paraphrase
- borrow ideas
- reference another work, including their own
- use facts published as part of another’s original research
- use or adapt images, tables, and lists created by another
Authors are also expected to cite when someone else’s work was essential in formulating their ideas. Information from government sites and other works within the public domain should also be cited when copied or paraphrased.3
It is sometimes necessary for authors to request written permission from the copyright holder before citing. Permission is required under the following circumstances:
- when fair use is exceeded
- when information from unpublished works or data [i.e., correspondence letters, emails, data sets, lab notes, etc.] is used
- when copying or adapting an image, list, photograph, etc. from another’s work.
Respiratory Care’s “Preparing the Manuscript” provides useful examples of publishers’ expectations of citing with permission.
Plagiarism is when an author fails to cite appropriately. To avoid plagiarism, it is important to understand its definition and its relationship to academic integrity. University of Pittsburgh Policy 11-01-01: Research Integrity provides the following definition: “Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.”…“Research Misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism…. Plagiarism in any scholarly publication constitutes misconduct …”
Plagiarism can take many forms, including self plagiarism, sharing plagiarism, skipping plagiarism, “slabbing” plagiarism and “snipping” plagiarism.4-5
Plagiarism may be deliberate and intentional, as when one author copies another author’s work and passes it off as their own. Or plagiarism may be unintentional, resulting from careless paraphrasing and or citing of source material.6
To cite appropriately and to avoid plagiarism, explore the helpful suggestions and resources below:
Keep a careful record of sources by using bibliographic and writing management resources:
Refer to the publication style manuals listed below:
- AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors
- Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles–MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Falk Library Reference (BF76.7 .P83 2010)
Consult HSLS e-books on Writing and Research, including:
- Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing
- How to Write, Publish, & Present in the Health Sciences: A Guide for Clinicians & Laboratory Researchers
- Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers.
Become familiar with University of Pittsburgh’s guidelines:
- Guidelines for the Responsible Conduct of Research, Office of Research Integrity, University of Pittsburgh, January 2007
- Academic Integrity: Student Obligations, Office of the Provost, Suggested Code, University of Pittsburgh
- Guidelines on Academic Integrity: Student and Faculty Obligations and Hearing Procedures, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh, Effective September 2005 Reprinted August 2009
Be aware of guidelines for publishers and editors:
- Publications and Ethical Guidelines and Statements for Other Organizations, American Medical Writers Association
- Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Writing and Editing for Biomedical Publication, International Committee of Medical Journal Editors
Take a tutorial:
- Avoiding Plagiarism, University Library System, University of Pittsburgh
- Avoiding Plagiarism, English Literature Program, University of Pittsburgh
- How Do I Cite Sources?, Plagiarism.org
1Attribution (copyright), Wikipedia.
2A Guide to Citing Sources in Classics General Guidelines & Frequently Asked Questions, Department of Classics, Haverford College.
3What is a citation?, Plagiarism.org.
4McKillup S, McKillup R. An assessment strategy that pre-empts plagiarism. International Journal for Educational Integrity 3, no. 3 (Apr 2007):18-26.
5Duplicate publications or submissions: an ethical misconduct. [Editorial] J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol 26, no. 22 (2010):139-142.
6Guide to Plagiarism and Cyber-Plagiarism, University of Alberta Libraries.
~ Charles Wessel