What is this about?

Plagiarism is a form of research misconduct. It is defined, by the European Code of Conduct, asusing other people’s work and ideas without giving proper credit to the original source, thus violating the rights of the original author(s) to their intellectual outputs.” (1).

Why is this important?

Plagiarism denies authors the credit for their work, but it also gives the perpetrator unfair advantage over peers in terms of publications, researcher evaluations and career progression. It particularly violates the principle of honesty which is integral to research integrity1. Plagiarism is often described as a type of research misconduct which should be prevented and sanctioned in research integrity codes of conduct, statements and declarations. The Singapore Statement on Research Integrity states that Researchers should report to the appropriate authorities any suspected research misconduct, including fabrication, falsification or plagiarism, and other irresponsible research practices that undermine the trustworthiness of research” (2). Clearly, plagiarism involves deception. However, some have argued, in terms of ‘scientific integrity’, it might be less serious than fabrication and falsification and even some of the less frequently sanctioned ‘questionable research practices’ (3,4).

For whom is this important?

Researchers, Supervisors, Funders, Journal editors, Teachers

What are the best practices?


Educators are increasingly checking student essays and theses using plagiarism check software (see tools section below).

Publishers can also use similar software to undertake similarity checks on submitted manuscripts against published work and archived submissions. See the following page for more information.

There are, however, currently no known initiatives for funders to check plagiarism in funding applications.


  1. European Science Foundation, All European Academies. The European code of conduct for research integrity. Revised edition: European Science Foundation; 2011.
  2. 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity. Singapore statement on research integrity. Available at: Accessed March 2019
  3. Shaw D. The quest for clarity in research integrity: A conceptual schema. Science and engineering ethics. 2018:1-9.
  4. Grieneisen ML, Zhang M (2012) A Comprehensive Survey of Retracted Articles from the Scholarly Literature. PLoS ONE 7(10): e44118.

Natalie Evans contributed to this theme.

Latest contribution was May 29, 2019