Plagiarism is the wrongful appropriation, stealing and publication of someone else’s language, thoughts, ideas, expressions, creations, etc. and their representation as one's own original work, without crediting the author and/or without the author’s permission.

Two Principles Differentiate Plagiarism and Copyrights

  • Copyright infringement is selling another's work or commercially exploiting it without the proper rights to do so. Copyright laws protect the item and not the idea; they are valid and upheld in a court of law.  Copyrights expire 70 years after the author’s death.

  • Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s ideas, even if the idea is explained in different words, without crediting the author.  Plagiarism is not dealt with in a law court, however, it is considered stealing and is punishable in professional, education and commercial frameworks.

Plagiarism in Academia

The term “literary plagiarism” in academia refers to presenting another’s work as one’s own.  Use of freely accessible online materials exacerbates the phenomenon.

Plagiarism may be purposeful or accidental.

One might purposely or accidentally include part or all of authored material in their course and academic work (including presentations) without referencing it.  This may occur because he does not know that he needs to acknowledge copied material or how to do it.  Authors should be aware that they cannot copy their own published data and illustrations without citing them (self plagiarism).

Regardless of why the material was plagiarized, it is a clear violation of academic ethics.  In the Technion it is listed as a violation in the Student Discipline Statutes (paragraph 15 and the same as for undergraduate studies). 

Citation Rules

One must cite the information source of copied material; that includes any idea or text taken from a book, journal, article, lecture, website, movie, radio or television program, computer program, brochure, song, letter, advertisement, announcement, etc., even if the copied material is reworded.

It is crucial that others can check ideas presented in scientific writings; therefore the author must provide clear citation information allowing others to easily find the sources.  To do this:

  • Exact quotations must be in quotation marks and referenced in the Bibliography.

  • Ideas that are reworded must also be referenced.

Programs that Search for Plagiarism in Students’ and Oneself's Work

Although the internet has made plagiarism easier, it also provides tools (computer programs) in English and in Hebrew to discover it.  The programs scan a student's work and point out if information from an internet source has been copied.  The quality of the assessment depends on the quantity of data available to the program. Authors can also check their own manuscript for oroginality. Some of the programs are free such as:


The iThenticate program is used by many publishers to check articles before publication: Nature, Elsevier, IEEE and others. Each user must pay for using this program.

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