Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 311–322

Plagiarism: Words and Ideas

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11948-008-9057-6

Cite this article as:
Bouville, M. Sci Eng Ethics (2008) 14: 311. doi:10.1007/s11948-008-9057-6


Plagiarism is a crime against academy. It deceives readers, hurts plagiarized authors, and gets the plagiarist undeserved benefits. However, even though these arguments do show that copying other people’s intellectual contribution is wrong, they do not apply to the copying of words. Copying a few sentences that contain no original idea (e.g. in the introduction) is of marginal importance compared to stealing the ideas of others. The two must be clearly distinguished, and the ‘plagiarism’ label should not be used for deeds which are very different in nature and importance.


Academic dishonesty Academic integrity Academic misconduct Cheating Copyright infringement Ethics Intellectual property Research misconduct 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Materials Research and EngineeringSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Institute of High Performance ComputingSingaporeSingapore

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