Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College

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Plagiarism

The long history of the Honor Code at Wheaton College is indicative of the uniqueness of its faculty and students who have worked hard to maintain high standards of academic integrity.

We should all be aware that we are part of a wider community of scholars, and it is the exchange of ideas, information, concepts and data that make the advancement of knowledge possible. However, just as we expect others to acknowledge the ideas that we have worked hard to develop, we must also be careful to recognize the people from whom we borrow ideas.

There are several reasons why we should acknowledge our borrowing from the work of others. We do this certainly to show our gratitude, but also in order to provide our readers with the opportunity to consult our sources if they wish to review the evidence, consider other interpretations or determine the basis for the cited material. Moreover, we can determine the author's own originality and insight only in the context of appropriately identified sources. The citation of relevant background material is also evidence that the author has tried to become familiar with the views developed by others in the field.

Authors who fail to acknowledge their sources are, at the very least, guilty of being ignorant about the ethics governing the wider community of scholars; at the worst, they are guilty of blatant dishonesty. In any case, plagiarism in any form constitutes a serious violation of the most basic principles of scholarship, and cannot be tolerated.

Plagiarism can take many forms, from the inadvertent passing off as one's own the work of another due to ignorance or carelessness, to the hiring of someone else to write a paper or take an examination. The most common forms of plagiarism:

  1. Submitting papers, examinations or assignments written by others is perhaps the most blatant form of plagiarism.
  2. Word-for-word copying of portions of another's writing without enclosing the copied passage in quotation marks and acknowledging the source in the appropriate scholarly convention is equally unacceptable.
  3. The use of a particularly unique term or concept that one has come across in reading without acknowledging the author or source, while less blatant, is also a form of plagiarism.
  4. The paraphrasing or abbreviated restatement of someone else's ideas without acknowledging that another person's text has been the basis for the paraphrasing is a form of academic dishonesty.
  5. False citation: material should not be attributed to a source from which it has not been obtained.
  6. False data: data that has been fabricated or altered in a laboratory or experiment, although not literally plagiarism, is clearly a form of academic fraud.
  7. Unacknowledged multiple submission of a paper for several purposes without prior approval from the parties involved is a violation of the ethics of scholarship.
  8. Unacknowledged multiple authors or collaboration: while collaboration is entirely appropriate in many instances, the contributions of each author or collaborator should be made clear. In cases where collaboration is not permitted, such collaboration is a form of academic fraud.

While students have the responsibility of avoiding any form of plagiarism or academic dishonesty, it is the task of the faculty to clarify for students what these responsibilities are. Although the most general forms of plagiarism are clear, Wheaton recognizes that the precise manner in which these guidelines are implemented may vary across disciplines. For this reason, it is extremely important that individual faculty members and departments make explicit what their expectations are about academic honesty and integrity. Faculty members also have the responsibility of making use of the Honor Code procedures and reporting violations of these when it is necessary to do so.

Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgment, right to privacy and right to determine the form, manner and terms of publication and distribution.

Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access, and trade secret and copyright violations, may be grounds for sanctions against members of the academic community.

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