The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Olusola Oyewole, has lent his voice against plagiarism, describing the practice as academic fraud. The Vice-Chancellor stated this during the College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT) Seminar held recently. The Vice-Chancellor, who was represented at the occasion by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Felix Salako, described plagiarism as an ugly development in academics, which is both ethically and morally wrong. According to him, plagiarism erodes originality of ideas and is punishable by either suspension or expulsion and that the determination of the University to fight plagiarism led it to subscribe to Turnitin, a software developed to check plagiarism.

Delivering the lecture titled, Mitigating the Practice and Peril of Plagiarism: Turnitin Before Turning Out, Professor Isaac Daniel of the Department of Plant Breeding and Seed Technology of COLPLANT, said plagiarism had several definitions, quoting Wikipedia as “wrongful appropriation, stealing and publication of another author’s language, thought, ideas or expression and the representation of them as ones own original work”. According to him, in the many definitions that exist, one thing that runs through all the definition is ‘not attributing or giving credit to the original work’.

Emphasizing the gravity of the offence, he said plagiarism is both an ethical and civil offence because it bordered on false claim, as made on authorship of a material due to the fact that the audience and owner of the original work were losing something. The Don also identified another form of plagiarism that is commonly referred to as self-plagiarism or recycling fraud, which is awhereby
researchers rephrase or republish their own work without acknowledging that he/she was doing so.

He classified self-plagiarism into four types namely: duplicate publication, partitioning of one’s study into multiple publication, text recycling and copyright infringement. Professor Daniel said in a bid to mitigate against the dangers of plagiarism, many software tools had been developed; to detect and help institutions formulate policies to fight the evil of plagiarism. According to him, Turnitin, which the University had been subscribed to, is a cloud-based software that offers 24/7 online service by comparing text to a large capital base of digital content which helps in generating originality report to guide the judgment on plagiarism. It has over 11,000 institutions subscribing to it from 126 countries.

He recommended that in the process of forming of FUNAAB’s plagiarism policy, every research document should be subjected to Turnitin while a Senate committee should be made to design and implement the policy with membership drawn from the academia, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Intellectual Property Right (IPR) and the legal units, as he called for regular trainings on plagiarism. The Dean of COLPLANT, Professor ‘Goke Bodunde said that the Seminar was organised to sensitize, educate and inform members of the academic community of thedanger of plagiarism with a view to curbing the ugly trend such that publications of academics in the University would be respected and the institution’s integrity would be preserved.

Last Updated on July 10, 2014 by admin

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