Plagiarism, much like the phenomenon of ghostwriting, has evolved and expanded in popularity over the past few decades. Plagiarism involves stealing other people’s ideas without acknowledging the authors correctly. In the age of the prime value and importance of intellectual property, plagiarism is seemingly becoming a widely recognized disease of the academic community. Although some may believe that punishments for plagiarism in education are too strict, it appears that they are justified by the need to prevent plagiarism. The present paper will seek to explore the negative consequences of plagiarism in order to show that severe punishments and the resulting reduction in plagiarism have a beneficial effect on education.
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The first consequence of plagiarism is that it violates the intellectual property rights of authors. The contemporary society exists in the era of the increasing value of non-material goods. Carrillo shows that knowledge is a critical factor driving the development of contemporary society, stating that “the scale and depth of the current shift to knowledge-intensity in human activities are unprecedented” (20). Hence, ideas introduced by scholars are essential, as they represent changes and advancements in science and other major areas of thought.
To come up with valuable ideas, scholars conduct research studies that require significant financial and non-financial resources, both financial and non-financial. One might argue that punishing students in any way for simply not mentioning the author of a quote or a passage is excessive and that it should not be considered an academic offense. However, given the time and effort that scholars put into researching relevant topics and writing scholarly works, respecting their intellectual property rights is a necessary form of courtesy.
Another significant adverse consequence of plagiarism is that it halts the development of thought in science and education. When students use other people’s ideas as their own, they do not apply their analytical skills to interpret this information and build knowledge from it. These unethical actions support the decay of the core purpose of the scientific sphere, which is based on innovations and continuous development.
World Intellectual Property Organization states that efforts for protecting intellectual property contribute to creativity and idea generation, thus facilitating new knowledge creation (22). In response to this, some students might argue that proper referencing is time-consuming and that they could use the time spent on building reference lists and including in-text citations in research. However, there are numerous resources that provide information about different citation styles, as well as online tools that make referencing quick and easy.
Lastly, rules in academic institutions influence students’ understanding of appropriate behavior. When plagiarism is not punished, it can cause students to believe that it is acceptable in the scholarly sphere, thus leading to unprofessional behavior in the future and threatening their career. Some scholars argue that students in schools and colleges should not be held responsible for plagiarism to the same degree that professional scholars are, as they are still young and learning.
This is the wrong way to look at things, as the culture of being respectful towards other’s work and ideas should be cultivated from the very beginning of one’s academic career. In addition, if students learn the required referencing style early on, it will be easier for them to include correct citations in their future scholarly work.
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To summarize, plagiarism in education has significant negative consequences for students and the entire scholarly community. It violates intellectual property rights, undermines the development of knowledge, and leads to unethical and unprofessional behavior in the future. Punishing students for plagiarism encourages them to respect other people’s work and analyze information to generate new knowledge, thus having a positive influence on the development of our society. Therefore, severe punishments for plagiarism are justified and should be used by academic institutions to prevent misconduct.
Carrillo, Francisco Javier. “Knowledge-Based Development as a New Economic Culture.” Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, vol. 1, no. 15, 2015, pp. 15-31.
World Intellectual Property Organization. What is Intellectual Property? N.d. Web.