Plagiarism vs. Authorship: Key Differences


Intellectual honesty and research accountability are among the core principles of academic writing. They’re supported by the culture and policies of educational institutions globally to assure the trustworthiness of science and research. In this article, we’ll discuss the concept of academic integrity through the notions of authorship and plagiarism.

What Is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a type of research misconduct that involves using someone else’s ideas as your own. The definition covers all types of works and contexts—from a basic college essay to publications that appear online and in print. Note that plagiarism isn’t limited to texts. Referring to any content created by someone else, including illustration, music, videos, tables, graphs, lectures, etc., you need to give proper credit to the original author.

Plagiarism is unethical. It undermines academic integrity and honesty. If you’re a student, you need to write original papers as it helps you to gain an in-depth understanding of the learning material and develop your own arguments. In case you need help with a paper, delegate the task to essay help online by essayservice professionals. They don’t tolerate any type of plagiarism and provide original papers with a free plagiarism report. You can also use it as a sample because the delivered draft gives a clear idea of how to use sources and produce original work.

Most Common Types of Plagiarism

Plagiarism can be intentional or unintentional. The former doesn’t require explanation. Copying someone else’s work without acknowledging the source is an obvious case of plagiarism. However, there are more subtle forms of it that cause confusion among people who are only starting their academic careers. They mistakenly believe that they’re allowed to paraphrase information or even use paragraphs from their own previously published work without citations. However, this violates the standards of academic writing. To avoid unintentional plagiarism and spot it in your own works and the writing of other people, you need to know its types.

  1. Word for word quotation without full referencing. You should always use quotation marks (or indentation if a quote is long) to indicate that you cite someone else’s work word for word. It helps the reader to identify which parts of the text are original and which are taken from outside sources. You should also provide full referencing each time you use direct quotes.
  2. Mosaic plagiarism. This type of plagiarism occurs when people take ideas and sentences from different works, combining them in the form of a “mosaic.” Yet, without proper referencing, it’s still plagiarism even if the result looks like an original text.
  3. Paraphrasing. If you use someone else’s work and change wording, it is still considered to be plagiarism. Ideas belong to their original authors even if they’re paraphrased. You should always acknowledge the author and refrain from giving misleading impressions presenting someone else’s work as your own. Citing and referencing will help you to use paraphrasing without committing plagiarism.
  4. Source-based plagiarism. Referencing can help you avoid plagiarism, but only if you use it correctly. If a writer uses the secondary source of information in their work but cites only the primary source, it’s plagiarism. Altering or omitting information might be misleading and distort the results of your work. Make sure you document only those sources that you’ve actually consulted.
  5. Auto-plagiarism. Auto-plagiarism, also known as self-plagiarism, refers to the practice of reusing your own work for the second time. Every new piece is supposed to be unique and original.

Why Authorship Matters

As the opposite of plagiarism, authorship supports trust and integrity in the academic community. It implies accurate and diligent acknowledgment of authors and reporting of sources, methods, and contributions. The two major components of authorship are contribution and accountability.

  1. Contribution. Authorship criteria may somewhat vary across different disciplines, but an author is generally defined as a person who has made a sufficient contribution to a scientific work to be given authorship.
  2. Accountability. A person credited as an author needs to understand the responsibility that comes with it. They’re accountable for the published work and its accuracy, even if it’s been co-authored.

Authorship should be transparent and open as it’s associated with scientific, social, and academic implications. Here are some common issues that surround authorship and can undermine scientific research:

  • including a “guest” author only to improve the chances of the work being published;
  • listing the head of a department as an author without their sufficient contribution to the study;
  • refraining from disclosing ghost authors who participated in research and writing;
  • inaccurate listing of all collaborators and their contribution in case of group authorship.

To Sum Up: Plagiarism vs. Authorship

Authors are responsible for submitting original and unique work and accountable for its content. Originality, accuracy, and validity are crucial elements of authorship and academic integrity. Plagiarism, on the other hand, is an act of dishonesty and misconduct. It is considered an offense in the academic community, which leads to serious penalties and can damage one’s reputation. You should always acknowledge the original authors of ideas, studies, and data that you use in your work and provide full referencing.