The U.S. National Academy of Sciences defines plagiarism as follows: “In plagiarism, an author presents as his or her own ideas, language, data, graphics, or even scientific protocols created by someone else, whether published or unpublished, without giving appropriate credit” . The material plagiarized might be a description, an idea, a hypothesis, an observation, data, a graph, an interpretation, or a conclusion.
There is more than one type of plagiarism. Most people are familiar with the form of plagiarism that consists of “verbatim [word-for-word] lifting of passages without enclosing the borrowed material in quotation marks and crediting the original author” . A less well known form of plagiarism is “mosaic plagiarism.” This occurs when you take phrases or ideas from an original source and intersperse them with your own phrases or ideas without distinguishing between the original and new material and without giving credit to the original source.
The consequences of plagiarism are many. The author:
Damages his or her credibility and integrity.
Violates copyright law.
Could face legal consequences, including possible expensive fines.
May not be allowed to publish in that journal or all journals in that field for a certain period of time.
Could face academic penalties, such as denial of tenure, grants, or promotions.
Could face correction or retraction of the plagiarized article.
Iverson C, Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, et al, eds. American Medical Association Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 9th edn. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1998; based on: National Academy of Sciences. Responsible Science: Ensuring the Integrity of the Research Process. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1992.
Iverson C, Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB, et al, eds. American Medical Association Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors. 9th edn. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1998; based on: Some Notes on Plagiarism and How to Avoid It [handout]. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University.
In the rare instance in which the original author said something so memorable and important that you don’t want to change a word, a direct quote would be appropriate. Otherwise, look at what the original author said, think about what your readers want to know about it, and put it in your own words. (And of course, don’t forget to cite a reference to the original.)
Request an iThenticate account from the library by emailing RML-Help@mdanderson.org. iThenticate is an online plagiarism checker.
Until a manuscript is accepted for publication, the authors are the copyright holders. After a manuscript is accepted, many journals require that the authors transfer copyright to the owner of the journal (e.g., a publisher, professional society, or institution). Some journals automatically return certain rights to the author upon signing of the copyright transfer agreement—for example, the right to post the article on the author’s personal or institutional web site. Other journals, rather than requiring authors to transfer copyright, require them to grant the journal an exclusive license to publish. Because of the wide variety of publishing agreements, authors should carefully read each agreement to ensure that they understand what rights they do and do not retain.
If you transferred copyright for your previous work to the publisher or someone else, you cannot reuse anything but short quotes (in quotation marks) from the previous work without getting the copyright holder’s permission. If you wish to reuse large portions of a previously published work, you must obtain permission from the author or publisher. Obtaining permission is simple. Many publishers use Copyright Clearance Center or have their own online systems for requesting permission.
Most publishers will allow authors to submit dissertation material or preprints for publication. This includes publishers like Springer and Elsevier.
A conflict of interest is a “significant financial interest or outside relationship that the Institutional Official (IO), in consultation with the Conflict of Interest Committee (COIC), determines could directly and significantly influence (or be perceived to directly and significantly influence) the employee’s performance of the employee’s Institutional Responsibilities, including patient care or the design, conduct, and/or reporting of Research.” There is a conflict of interest team to assist MD Anderson authors. Questions? MD Anderson authors can find help through the Conflict of Interest Inside webpage.