What Consequences Should You Expect if You Plagiarize?

Plagiarism is a serious issue that can have serious consequences. If you are a student, writer, researcher, academic, or any other kind of creator, plagiarism is a threat to your future and career. Are you familiar with the potential plagiarism consequences if you commit plagiarism? In this article we will look at the ethics of plagiarism and the plagiarism consequences that you can face if you commit plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism and Why is it Unethical?

Before we can talk about plagiarism consequences, we need to understand what plagiarism is. Plagiarism is, simply put, taking credit for the original work of someone else. Plagiarism can also include recycling your own work without acknowledging that the work has already been submitted or published somewhere else. Plagiarism can take many forms. When most people think of plagiarism, they imagine someone copying and pasting text word-for-word from another paper into their own, or paying someone else to write an article for them. This is a form of plagiarism, and is known as direct plagiarism. However, there are also other forms of plagiarism that are common and just as unethical. These include paraphrasing plagiarism, where a writer takes someone else’s work and changes one or two words or phrases, and mosaic plagiarism, where a writer takes sentences or passages from the work of multiple other people and combines it into a “mosaic.”

Regardless of whether plagiarism is committed on purpose or accidentally, it is no different from stealing the work of someone else. Often, students and researchers think that plagiarism consequences will not be harsh because it is not against the law to plagiarize. But the effects of plagiarism include harm to the original author, damage to the reputation of the person who commits it, and damage to the academic institution or journal that prints the plagiarized work. Let’s look at some specific plagiarism consequences to understand exactly what committing plagiarism can mean for a student, researcher, or writer.

What are the Plagiarism Consequences in College?

Plagiarism consequences vary depending on the context in which plagiarism is committed. Students who commit plagiarism in college can expect the following plagiarism consequences.

● Receiving a failing grade on the assignment. If you are caught committing plagiarism, you will generally automatically fail the assignment that you plagiarized. Regardless of whether the plagiarism is committed intentionally or not, if it is possible to detect, then it will result in an F.
● Failing the class. If you were caught plagiarizing in a class, your professor or department head can fail you for the whole term, resulting in an F on your transcript.
● Facing a disciplinary hearing. For very serious cases of plagiarism, you may be called in front of a disciplinary board for a hearing. Such a hearing will go on your academic record, and you will have to explain why you plagiarized to a committee, who will then decide your fate.
● Cancellation or revocation of financial aid. If you plagiarize, you can lose your scholarship or grant funding. If you have received grant funding for research and are found to have plagiarized the work relating to the grant funding, you can even be banned from ever receiving funding from that organization or its affiliates again.
● Expulsion. You might be expelled from your university, which can derail your entire career.

Plagiarism consequences can vary according to the severity of the offense, whether it was committed once or multiple times, and whether it was for funded research or just a term assignment. Regardless, the effects of plagiarism in college can have lasting or even permanent damage on the academic careers of students.

What are the Plagiarism Consequences in Academia and Research?

Plagiarism consequences for researchers and academics can be just as severe, if not more so, than plagiarism consequences for college students. They include, but are not limited to:

● Being forced to retract published research. If you are an academic or researcher and are found to have plagiarized published work, the journal that published it may retract it, which can damage your reputation. Other journals will also be more reluctant to publish your research in the future.
● Cancellation or revocation of research funding. Just like students can lose their scholarships, if you are an academic or researcher who has received funding for your research and you plagiarize, you can lose future funding. You may have to repay what you have already received, and you may be blacklisted from receiving future funding. If you plagiarize research that is funded by the government or another public institution, it can easily end your career.
● Loss of tenure. Tenure is extremely difficult to earn for a professor, and its loss can spell the end of a career in academia. It is also unlikely that any reputable organization will hire a professor who lost their tenure, so even finding work outside of academia can become difficult.
● Criminal prosecution. Depending on the type of plagiarism you commit, you can be prosecuted for copyright infringement if you are caught plagiarizing. Copyright infringement penalties can include large monetary fines of up to $150,000 USD or even jail depending on the jurisdiction.

How Can You Avoid Committing Plagiarism?

Considering how terrible plagiarism consequences are, you want to avoid committing plagiarism regardless of whether you are a student, an academic, or a researcher. Fortunately, there are many solutions to help you avoid committing plagiarism. The most popular and most effective is to use a plagiarism checker like this tool from Enago. Plagiarism checkers can compare your writing to millions of other articles and make sure you haven’t unintentionally committed any of the types of plagiarism. If you use a plagiarism checker before submitting your writing to your college or an academic journal, you will be able to fix any problems before you publish. Reference managers can help as well, in addition to strategies like note-taking and citation management. Make sure you take advantage of all of the tools available to you so you can avoid any negative plagiarism consequences and maintain the integrity of your work at all times.