Plagiarism, Misrepresentation, and Exploitation by Established Professionals: Power and Tactics

  • Brian Martin
Reference work entry


Many academics and other professionals are implicated in plagiarism, misrepresentation, and exploitation, yet research about this is limited compared to the large body of research on student cheating. In what can be called competitive plagiarism, academics, judges, politicians, journalists, and others use the words and ideas of others without adequate acknowledgment. Misrepresentation occurs when professionals inflate or manufacture their credentials and achievements in curricula vitae, job applications, and media releases. Intellectual exploitation involves taking credit for the work of others in a routine fashion. Examples include ghostwriting and managers taking credit for the writings and ideas of subordinates. This sort of exploitation fits the normal definitions of plagiarism but this label is seldom applied; it can be called institutionalized plagiarism.

Understanding the persistence of intellectual exploitation can be understood by examining the tactics commonly used by plagiarizers to reduce outrage over their actions. These include cover-up, devaluation, reinterpretation, official channels, intimidation, and rewards. Powerful plagiarizers have access to most or all of these techniques, whereas student plagiarizers usually can use only cover-up and reinterpretation. The existence of institutionalized plagiarism depends on a lack of questioning of exploitative systems.


Senior Academic False Allegation Formal Complaint Senior Scholar Junior Colleague 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank Tracey Bretag and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on a draft of this chapter. Many individuals have aided my understanding of the issues over the years, especially those who have told me their personal stories involving plagiarism and exploitation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Humanities and Social InquiryUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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