Plagiarism Management: Challenges, Procedure, and Workflow Automation

Angelos Rodafinos
Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning  •  Volume 14  •  2018  •  pp. 159-175
Aim/Purpose: This paper presents some of the issues that academia faces in both the detection of plagiarism and the aftermath. The focus is on the latter, how academics and educational institutions around the world can address the challenges that follow the identification of an incident. The scope is to identify the need for and describe specific strategies to efficiently manage plagiarism incidents.

Background: Plagiarism is possibly one of the major academic misconduct offences. Yet, only a portion of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) appear to have well developed policies and procedures aimed at dealing with this issue or to follow these when required. Students who plagiarize and are not caught pose challenges for academia. Students who are caught pose equal challenges.

Methodology: Following a literature review that identifies and describes the extent and the seriousness of the problem, procedures and strategies to address the issue are recommended, based on the literature and best practices.

Contribution: The paper alerts academics regarding the need for the establishment of rigorous and standardized procedures to address the challenges that follow the identification of a plagiarism incident. It then describes how to streamline the process to improve consistency and reduce the errors and the effort required by academic staff.

Recommendations for Practitioners: To ensure that what is expected to happen takes place, HEIs should structure the process of managing suspected plagiarism cases. Operationalization, workflow automation, diagrams that map the processes involved, clear in-formation and examples to support and help academics make informed and consistent decisions, templates to communicate with the offenders, and data-bases to record incidents for future reference are strongly recommended.

Future research: This paper provides a good basis for further research that will examine the plagiarism policy, the procedures, and the outcome of employing the procedures within the faculties of a single HEI, or an empirical comparison of these across a group of HEIs.

Impact on Society: Considering its potential consequences, educational institutions should strive to prevent, detect, and deter plagiarism – and any type of student misconduct. Inaction can be harmful, as it is likely that some students will not gain the appropriate knowledge that their chosen profession requires, which could put in danger both their wellbeing and the people they will later serve in their careers.
academic integrity, plagiarism, higher education, cheating, policy, procedure
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