Why is plagiarism unacceptable?

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rom a legal perspective, any unauthorised reproduction (total or partial) of a work (no matter what kind or in what format) can be subject to legal proceedings (Code de droit économique, Livre XI "Propriété intellectuelle", Titre 5). That is also true when the sources used come from documents available on ‘Open Access’ (Thys, 2009, p. 35).

Within the context of university education

  • Plagiarism is an obstacle to the development of the spirit of personal and critical reflection which the university wishes to foster.
  • Plagiarism directly hinders one of the essential missions of university education, in other words educating students and assessing what they have learned. This evaluation focuses notably on personal written work. It is thus essential to be able to measure precisely what is the personal contribution of students in their texts.
  • Plagiarism is incompatible with carrying out a scientific or academic activity, where it is indispensable to be able to situate each and every contribution. In the university academic and scientific environment it is thus considered as a serious breach of ethics. On the other hand citing sources in an appropriate manner enables quality documentary research to be highlighted.

In professional life

  • Participating in the production of academic or scientific knowledge notably involves taking into account the results of previous work and measuring its value and impact, in order to provide it with an extension and continuation. It thus involves inscribing oneself in a chain of knowledge production, which justifies the necessity of making explicit reference to the works consulted.
  • Providing the proof of what is being written and offering the reader the means of verifying the information used in a work are indispensable to giving credibility to a text, a project, an argument, etc.

It is not just about simple respect for the author, but well and truly a basic element in the mechanism of how academic and scientific knowledge is constructed, in the same way as not falsifying data, for example.

Relevant and quality references, presented according to the regulations in force in the different disciplines, are thus signals of the professionalism expected and valorised by the university institution.