E-Content Management and Development: Hijacking Plagiarism on the High Sea of Cyber-Intellectualism

Victor Counted, West Africa Theological Seminary (Nigeria)

Full paper: www.kon.org/urc/v11/counted.html

Abstract Daily, we see the unethical hijacking of e-contents in the “high sea” of intellectualism–of materials, literature, and other resources of worth–without regard to its original proponent. Upon reflection on the ethics of ownership and place of ethics in research, we seek a solution to this act of infringement, which for centuries has been of knotty problem. The Internet with its TCP/IP network protocols can facilitate data transmission and easily scan selected parts of works that become instances of plagiarism.

My motivation is personal, having being a victim of this villainous act. A few years ago, I purchased a book that had interspersed in it the exact ideas I posted on my blog. For this reason, I answer some ethical questions, share perspectives, and then proffer possible solutions that could be helpful in curbing this intellectual fraud.

This paper offers novel ways of avoiding a “copy-and-paste” practice by applying the research questions of “What,” “Why,” and “How”:

  1. WHAT is the ethics of ownership in research?
  2. WHY has the reuse of someone else’s data become a practice among researchers and students of the developing world?
  3. HOW can we as educators, researchers, panelists, research bodies, scientists, IT experts, internet users, writers, and scholars fight this academic squalor that has eaten the fabric of our very own academic excellence?

Introduction Plagiarism. The act of taking someone’s words or ideas as if they were your own. It is obvious that some people supplement their lean books with the work of others. But could it be true, like Burton (2001) postulated, that “We can say nothing but what hath been said” (p. 144). Could it be possible that words might have been written by someone unknown? Clifton Fadiman (1963) in his argument opined, “We prefer to believe that the absence of inverted commas guarantees the originality of a thought, whereas it may be merely that the utterer has forgotten its source” (p. 87). But what really is plagiarism? Wilson Mizner (2007), a US Playwright, once presented a rib-tickling suggestion: “When you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research” (p. 234). The question on the minds of many is what really is the template of plagiarism?

Read the full paper: www.kon.org/urc/v11/counted.html