RationalWiki's 2019 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2019.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $4200Goal: $6000


From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
You betrayed the
Icon law.svg
To punish
and protect
Plagiarism is the use of others' material without proper attribution. There are very few places where it's accepted, though creationists and alties, among others, are notorious for plagiarizing from each other. Self-plagiarism (i.e. quoting yourself without pointing out that you've said it before) is seldom accepted either, though some people have made a career out of it.[note 1][note 2]

Plagiarism is stealing and, when caught, makes the plagiarizer look lazy and incompetent. Entire careers have beenWikipedia's W.svg ruinedWikipedia's W.svg over the practice. Please, please, please don't do it, even if your original material is in the public domain (And if you must, be sure always to call it please "research").

Also, having your boyfriend/girlfriend edit your paper for you (without double-checking what they did) is plagiarism too. Doubly so when the professor finds out that two pages of what they added for you are ripped directly from encyclopedias available online. Also, just because you never used a source that contains the exact same wording as yours doesn't make what you did original; it just means you and someone else both plagiarized the same person. Seriously – professors are not stupid.


Plagiarism and copyright are orthogonal. Plagiarism is about credit, copyright is about whether you're allowed to copy at all (“copyleft” licenses, like Creative Commons and the GNU Free Documentation License, exist specifically to restrict plagiarism without invoking copyright). There are no laws preventing people from plagiarizing or even completely copying works in the public domain (i.e. works that are not copyrighted), such as work by the United States government, formerly copyrighted works whose copyright expired, or works deliberately put into the public domain by whoever would have held the copyright, but giving credit is still a good idea due to ethical reasons (as opposed to the usual combination of ethical and legal reasons).

How to[edit]

This looks like a great place to start!

On the other hand, in order to avoid getting a failing grade for plagiarism, one can consult this website, or better yet, just do your own work.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Such as computer language "expert" Herbert Schildt, who has somehow managed to repeatedly rewrite the same book several dozen times to cover C, C++, or Java without ever changing a word or checking a fact.
  2. In a less egregious category, popular historian Stephen Ambrose has also occasionally had trouble distinguishing between his own material and that of others.