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About Plagiarism - PUBLISHING How to Handle BY PAT JANOWSKI...

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I F A BURGLAR MADE OFF withyour stereo, you would know what to do. But what if a professional colleaguestole yourwords? Plagiarism—the act of using someone else’s work without giving proper credit—is a crime of intellectual property, and one might argue that it is just as serious as a crime of real property. Yet the rules of what constitutes plagiarism and how it should be dealt with are not always clear. With that in mind, the IEEE Publication Services and Products Board (PSPB) has approved newguidelines for the IEEE that define different levels of plagiarism and set corrective actions to be taken for misconduct [see side- bar, “The Five Levels of Plagiarisrsf9. It used to be much more diffIcult to plagiarize than it is today. Another persotis work might have been copied laboriously by hand or, later, more easily with a Xerox machine; now someone’s words can be lifted quickly with a couple of mouse clicks. Electronic dissemination of information during the past few years has been an impor tant contributor to increased reports of plagiarism within the IEEE ssd elsewhere, The PSPll took action because of the dramatic increase in complaints, Fortunatel)c there are two sides to& mouse-click equa tion. “What allows people to cut and paste others’ work into their own also allows offenders to be found, almost as eas ily,” says Bill Hagen, the IEEE’s intellectual property rights manager in Piscataway, N.J., USA. Authors can now use powerful search engines to find with relative ease unsanc tioned use of their work—a nice way to say their work was plagiarized. “Authors were letting us know about more and more incidents of plagiarism,” says Hagen.
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