Stephen Francoeur
Digital Natives, Scholarly Immigrants? -
Well, that makes sense. Of course, there is the notion that the Nation of Scholarship is also changing and maybe soon *we* will be the immigrants ;) - Pete's Got To Go
malus in se and mala prohibita... is plagiarism wrong in itself, or just because it is 'outlawed'? And what of IP?... - Pete's Got To Go
As I read that piece, it's saying that most college students don't understand the ethics of plagiarism--and has nothing to do with "digital natives," IP, or much of anything else. The piece could have been published two decades ago and said pretty much the same things (and been right, too). Or four decades ago... - walt crawford
Walt, I agree -- also, I see little evidence among my students that there is a "Nation of Scholarship" emerging to which the digital native has special membership. Using Facebook does not prepare anybody for electronic scholarship practices. - Mickey Schafer
The current ONLINE Magazine has a good article on the (lack of) brain-research evidence for revolutionary generational change (but some bigtime gurus make loads of money selling the concept, so...) Students failing to understand the reasons for original writing & good research: Nothing new, and a continual struggle. - walt crawford
It would be nice if the research on plagiarism within Writing Studies had been acknowledged. Rebecca Moore Howard's early work on patchwriting could have been useful to the conversation. The article references one of her books, but that's about it. Once again, the disciplines aren't talking to each other. So frustrating. - Katy S
Trying to avoid threadjacking, but: Seems to me the Online article (which I read last night) was arguing for "generational" differences--but ones that aren't age-related so much as recent-experience related. The author *wants* there to be big generational differences (she makes that clear)--but the evidence is a little weak. (And I agree that plagiarism and IP issues shouldn't be conflated.) - walt crawford
Walt - I agree. The article doesn't seem to make that distinction in the same way the blog post does. It's more a matter of differences in the way differences in technology change the way plagiarism is done. Also, the idea of plagiarism is a western cultural (and some would say capitalistic) concept. Different cultures have different ideas about appropriation and context in writing. But, that's another issue. - Katy S
The issue of bad teaching regarding what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, how other folk's' work is used in scholarly communication--properly and not--has nothing thing to do with generational issues. As an undergrad at 40 I faced the same issues as the student who mentioned the lack of instruction in the article. Everyone said it was bad, don't do it, etc. and I *understood* the multiple reasons for that (Western/capitalist) attitude but it still sure as heck did not help me understand how NOT to do it. - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer
And there--the cultural differences--are where IP might rear its ugly head. Cf. Tom Lehrer, "Lobachevsky" (spelling uncertain). The difference between research and plagiarism? For music, the difference between inspiration and copying? (Cf. Peter Schickele...) Not always simple questions. (I was about to say "Never simple questions," but since I've been ranting about universalisms...) - walt crawford
Certainly plagiarism is technologically easier to do nowadays but that too is not relevant to generational issues. - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer
And, oddly, it's not just that plagiarism is easier--it's that detecting (and, in my opinion, *over*-detecting) plagiarism is easier. (Over-detecting? When turnitin and other services yield results that, say, a sentence or two matches a source. If it's a paragraph or more, uncredited, that's a different story.) - walt crawford
Very true, Walt! But that is one topic I am going to try very hard to stay out of. - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer
Threadjack: Should I not have linked to this thread in a comment I just put on the original ACRLog post? - Stephen Francoeur
Doesn't matter to me, Stephen, but then my feed is public. Can't/won't answer for anyone else, of course. - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer
Is this is the Online Mag cite? -- "Digital Natives and Immigrants," Herther, Nancy K.. Online, Nov/Dec2009, Vol. 33 Issue 6, p14-21 - Joe
I'm going to try Turnitin this semester for the first time in the 10 years I've been at my current position. I've avoided it b/c it seems a bad model for dealing with scientific prose -- now, I'm curious to see how the program stacks up to my sense of what plagiarism may or may not be. - Mickey Schafer
Joe: That's the citation. And, of course, you can always move forward to my column... (Or, sigh, to Peter Jacso's final column, after 15 years.) - walt crawford
Mark -- you (and others) have made a good point about instructors failing to teach the "why" -- the cynical part of me suspects they don't know it or have absorbed the plagiarism-is-evil message without examining where it comes from. Purdue OWL used to have a great image that showed writing paradoxes encountered by new academic writers (like "say it in your own words" but "use expert sources"). I direct my students to this page (okay, shameless plug, but it's useful to an extent: But this is for my science students, and I suspect the feel of plagiarism is different in different disciplines. I don't blink when students give a nearly word for word definition of something (e.g.' Parkinson's is a neurological disorder characterized by bradykinesia, trembling, gait problems, and sometimes slurred speech") b/c those definitions are found again and again in the literature -- the key is to CITE the daylights out of them, especially at the undergrad level. But in the humanities? This, I am not so familiar with. - Mickey Schafer
Mickey - Will you be sending all papers through turnitin or just ones you suspect of plagiarism? Do you plan to tell students you are doing this? There are a lot of ethical implications to using programs like this one. One that concerns many people is that each paper submitted to Turnitin is then stored and used by the company. Basically, they are profiting from the students' work, often without their consent. - Katy S
Hi, Katy. I have every intention of telling students that I'm using it -- and I was planning on all work being submitted that way. There is a big push in my academic unit to go as paperless as possible, so I thought I'd try this out for one semester. I did know that Turnitin keeps the work -- it becomes part of the electronic record, and since one of the more common forms of cheating is to use another student's work, I am banking on this function to stall this practice. I am not aware of how Turnitin is using student work except for the archival function -- is there something else they are doing? Again, to some extent, I am not concerned about the "archival" part and hope to explain to students that virtually everything they do digitally is archived. There should not be publication concerns b/c this is classwork, though I don't know if there is a conflict with those who might be publishing work later. Jo Badge has a great citeulike page on e-plagiarism -- in that list is an article by someone discussing turnitin as an archive. - Mickey Schafer
The why and how are both really important. The classes I teach, we get students who - in the plaintive words of one - "took engineering so I wouldn't have to write essays!" They don't know what citing *is*, they don't know why it's important, they don't know when to do it, and they don't know how to do it. So if we just launch into "Remember to cite and your lecturers want you using APA" it's worse than useless. - Deborah Fitchett
Well, yes, it is an archive, but it is their archive that they use for their business. It isn't that they are publishing the students' papers, but they do profit from them. Rebecca Moore Howard, who I mentioned above, has created a number of bibliographies related to writing studies There are multiple bibs regarding plagiarism, including one for plagiarism detecting software: Aside from the issue I mentioned, my other problem with using it is that by doing so, we basically assume that all students are plagiarizers. It's a guilty before proven innocent [by Turnitin] situation. Personally, I don't agree with it. - Katy S
One of the pedagogical problems I have with Turnitin and similar services is that some faculty use it to avoid having to teach about citation and plagiarism themselves. Instead of dealing with the conventions of writing and citing within their respective disciplines, they avoid the hard work of teaching students how to successfully complete the assignments for their courses and simply let the software find potential offenders (I say potential b/c it doesn't recognize situations in which students are patchwriting or using other developmental stages of citation). - Katy S
Katy -- honestly, neither do I. But after a decade's refusing to use it with the intuitive claim that it won't work for my students, I feel like I owe the whole evidence-based movement something meatier. My plan is to give it a try for one semester and see what happens. I don't know that I'll submit an IRB for it (I don't know that I need to, but I'll check this out next week), but I'd like to get a sense of what students think (some of my students walked through metal detectors everyday during high school, so they're not unaccustomed to being mistrusted), and whether it's useful. - Mickey Schafer
Katy and Deborah -- I totally agree that there is a developmental process with citation use and scholarly writing, regardless the discipline. It's why I have one of the more lenient set of practices amongst my colleagues. I discuss unintentional versus intentional plagiarism, I give NG (no grade) instead of F when work comes in clearly plagiarized, but also clearly not intentionally so (probably what you're calling patchwriting). Students get to re-write, and they get a clear lesson about why we cite -- I explain that every sentence in a science paper is marked by intellectual history -- that history is known through citation (the behavior/practice). Demonstrating history is important for a number of reasons (don't need to explain them here:-)), etc. - Mickey Schafer
I'd love to find a short treatment of the philosophical/historical differences behind the various citation styles -- does anyone have a recommendation? - Mickey Schafer
Mickey, thanks for the shameless plug. I'm printing it & will look it over this evening (hopefully). Most of my writing is humanities-based but I do a lot of reading in the sciences, too, so hopefully I can find the boundary crossing/applicable material. - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer
Hope it works for you, Mark -- feel free to send comments my way! - Mickey Schafer
Mickey - check out this bibliography on citations: . The titles by Bazerman are about APA. The Connors' articles have a broader focus. There are several other articles covering citation history in the list, too. - Katy S
Thanks, Katy! - Mickey Schafer
Hi Maura! I think it is important to remind academics -- particularly the newest ones like grad students -- that undergrads are new to the process. A point that is less well represented and that we all tend to ignore is that the vast majority of our students don't want to become academics -- I think this becomes a kind of cultural problem b/c we tend to treat undergrads like newly conceived PhDs. My university is HUGE and the vast majority of my students, even those heading into med/grad school, are heading out into a professional world where copyright and IP are likely more important than plagiarism. I am trying to change my talk around the issue to one of attribution, a positive behavior with demonstrable benefits, and away from plagiarism as the organizing focus. - Mickey Schafer
In a meeting a tutor- who had just left legal practice- said that plagiarism was not an issue in 'real world' situations. - Pete's Got To Go
That's my experience, too, Pete. In fact, Walt Crawford remarked on a discussion on "self plagiarism" that only in academics is that a the real world, it's considered a smart survival strategy! (Did I get that close enough, Walt?) - Mickey Schafer
I can't get to the original article b/c it costs $$. Sigh. But the study referred to in the abstract sounds interesting, and not so different in results from one called "Your Brain on Google" which also found that adults who were more experienced searchers used more parts of their brains while using the net. - Mickey Schafer
Mickey: It's more than close enough. For freelance writers, reusing your own material is absolutely a survival strategy. Sometimes it's explicit (my Online column is typically based on Cites & Insights essays), sometimes just done. Usually, you're aiming at different audiences or in different media. And it's not plagiarism: It's creative recycling. - walt crawford
Which is not to say that I don't understand why creative recycling is frowned upon in scholarly articles and actual research. Different conditions for different kinds of writing. - walt crawford
One of the things I always loved about reading American Scientist is that the articles are written by the scientists themselves -- but for an educated lay audience. That is certainly an instance of creative re-purposing. Of course, there's no credit given for such activity (I don't think those kinds of publications count toward tenure, for instance), but they probably do segue into conferences or outreach. I used to make my advanced students write these articles -- until they rebelled about how difficult it was. Now, I trick them into doing the same by making them write each other blog entries explaining their research. - Mickey Schafer