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Academic ethics

Academic ethics
Well, the last subject I want to talk to you about is one of the most critical in academic world. And this is what we call academic ethics. You might say, what are ethics? Well, it can vary among different subject areas. For the academic, what we’re talking about here is simply rules of good conduct that are related particularly to publications which we have to accept and we have to follow. In this sense, when we talk about academic ethics, on the other side of this is how we avoid violations. How do we avoid becoming unethical in what we do? In academic ethics what we’re doing here is to try and make sure everybody attempts to publish work in an ethical manner.
So, what does this mean? So, for example, if we are using someone else’ work, if we are actually looking at what they produced in a book or a paper or a pamphlet, then we have to be very careful that we don’t falsify this, that we don’t, for example, say someone actually said this or did that they in fact didn’t. I have found myself reading papers where I have been quoted, but I know I never said that. So falsification then is something to be avoided. Secondly, as a consequence of falsification, alteration,
you have to be very, very careful. If you’re quoting somebody, then you use inverted commas. That’s the first thing. And secondly, the quotation is accurate. As a result of that, normally you are expected to give not only the source of the quotation, but also the page number. So, if somebody wants to check that the author actually said this, then the reference is accurate. And you can go back and check yourself. The third point is one of the greatest problems in academia, and that is plagiarism. Plagiarism is a polite word, but what it really means is stealing other people’s work and not attributing it.
So for example, if you take a chapter from someone’s book, or if you take a section from someone’s thesis, then you have to attribute it. You have to say this was taken from this book, this page, by this author. If not, it’s plagiarism. I mean, you’ve stolen somebody’s work. Normally, plagiarism is a problem. And it’s almost a sin. If you’ve been accused of plagiarism, then normally it will remain with you for your academic career. So this must be avoided at all costs. So if you’re going to cite somebody’s work, make sure that the citation is accurate.
If it’s a citation and an actual quote from somebody, then remember not only do you have to give the name of the person, the book of article, but you have to give the page numbers, so you can go back and check it for yourself. One of the problems here, I think with plagiarism is that people used to get away with it. You can’t do this now because virtually every educational staff establishment will have a computer program, which they run through your paper. And they can tell immediately how much of that paper has been taken from other sources, and they know whether or not you have acknowledged it. These computer programs are becoming much more sophisticated, so don’t do it!
It’s much easier to actually attribute it to someone, rather than try and pass it off as your own work. How do we avoid these violations? You know, we have standards for academic evaluation. One of the standards would certainly be a computer program which runs your work through the program. And it can tell immediately if there’s been borrowing from other authors. That doesn’t matter too much in the sense that providing you attributed it. You’ve been honest. Of course, if the amount of borrowed material is too great. For example, if fifty percent of your article was borrowed from somebody else, even if you attribute it, they would say, well, no, we can’t accept that as it is too high.
And that judgment of how much you can borrow is something which different universities interpret differently. But the bottom line is you must attribute it. Norms of academic connotation simply means that again anything you annotate has to be accurate. For example, you might say, devise a new table for your work, and the information from the table, but you must put at the bottom. This was derived from John Smith op.cit. So what it means, although the information is yours, though the information is new, the approach has been used previously by this person. Norms of academic citation, we’ve already have spoken about these. What this means whatever you’re citing somebody’s work, there is a standard for that, and it must be accurate.
Academic research is one area where you expect honesty and transparency. In this sense, then from your early stages as a student, as a undergraduate student, one of the things you have to inculcate, one of the things you have to develop then is to avoid temptation. Do not become a plagiarist. Make sure any piece of work which you use belong to somebody else is properly attributed, is properly referenced. And if it’s a quotation, then it’s within inverted commas with page numbers. I cannot tell you how important these things are, because clearly if you violate these standards, then you’re going to have more than a black mark on your career.
You’re likely to prevent future development of your career, because you always have this accusation of being a plagiarist.
Avoided it: there is no need for it. Thank you very much.

In this video, you will know the importance of academic ethics in your research career and how to avoid academic plagiarism.

By the end of this section, do you know what behaviors in writing papers belong to academic plagiarism? What key points do you must keep in mind to avoid the academic plagiarism?

Please feel free to comment in the discussion area.

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