Plagiarism in Report Writing

The submitting of someone else’s text, such as books and Web pages, as your report (including when you have been given an assignment to create Web pages) is prohibited. Submitting even a single part of such text is also prohibited, unless all requirements for quotation, including a clear statement of the source of the text as explained later, are met. Submitting a report that fall into the categories described above is regarded as being the equivalent of cheating in an examination (copying other candidates’ answers or from materials that examinees are not allowed to bring into the examination venue) and falls under misconduct. If such misconduct by a student comes to light, they will be subject to severe punishment, including the discontinuation of use of his or her Waseda-net ID (*), the cancellation of his or her registration with the course involved as well as all other courses that he or she is taking in his or her department/graduate school at the time, and suspension from university. Therefore, great care must be taken when a report is submitted.

If you quote certain part of someone else’s text or quote such text by summarizing it without losing its identity in your report, you must specify the source of such text and clearly state that it is not your own text. In quoting texts, there are other rules you need to observe. If you submit your report without observing those rules, you can be accused of plagiarism, which is an infringement of the Copyright Law.

Listed below is a set of simple rules that will prevent you from committing misconduct when you quote text. For details refer to the “Copyright” section in Chapter 3 “Information Ethics” and Chapter 6 “Basics of Report and Paper Writing” of Academic Literacy 2013 (which can be downloaded from the Media Network Center Web page).

[Requirements That Must Be Met to Make Quotations Legal]
  1. Quotations must clearly be distinguished from the quoting author’s own statements.
    (Example) All quotations are enclosed in quotation marks.
  2. For each quotation, its source must be specified.
    (Example) Relevant bibliographic information such as the quoted author’s name, the title of the book, paper, or article, and the page number(s) involved, as well as the name of publishing company and the date of publication is clearly provided.
  3. In terms of quantity, quotations must be subordinate to the text of a report.
  4. Quotations must be necessary.

Even if the note “Free use is allowed” has been added to the text quoted, particularly that in Web pages, the act itself of “submitting text that is not your own as if it were your own” falls under plagiarism (piracy). News of newspaper publishers/news agencies, or Web pages of government offices, as well as Web dictionaries and other writings are often used in creating reports. However, if you use them without meeting requirements for citation, such as failing to specify the source, you can be accused of plagiarism (piracy). Great care must be taken when submitting a report.

Media Network Center, Waseda University