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Avoiding Plagiarism: A Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers

Avoiding Plagiarism: A Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers

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After writing what feels like an excellent article, you’re ready to share it with the world. But hold your horses, you haven’t checked for plagiarism yet! For the uninitiated, plagiarism essentially means copying one’s work without giving proper credit. Plagiarism checks may not sound important, but it is always better to conduct them, just to be on the safer side. After all, plagiarizing too much could end in legal repercussions.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

It is common to accidentally plagiarize during the writing, editing, or even publishing processes. Thankfully, there are several ways to lower those odds, such as:

  • Checking for similarities between your own work and your reference materials once you’re done writing. It sounds simple, and it is. Sure, it may be a bit of a hassle, but again, better safe than sorry.
  • Making sure you credit all the appropriate authors in your article. Including the proper authors could potentially turn a plagiarized text into a cited one, so always credit the author(s)!
  • Reminding yourself that other authors may assume that you are the original writer if you don’t properly credit the original author(s). This could potentially get very messy if more and more people credit you for the wrong thing. Worst case scenario, you may end up being summoned to court.

Detecting Plagiarism

When you’re gathering and rewriting information from several articles, it can be hard not to accidentally plagiarize. Things only get harder after you’re done writing because you’ll have to go through all the reference materials again and hope that you manage to detect all of your accidental plagiarism. Below are some ways to help with the latter issue:

  • Read through all your reference materials first before you start writing.
    Consider taking notes too so that you won’t have to flip through all the materials again just to double-check on some information you’re unsure of.
  • Make sure to use materials from valid sources.
    This is important since any information from valid sources will usually remain constant. The last thing you want is to realize that you accidentally plagiarized incorrect information because you gathered the materials from a mishmash of sources.
    If you ever feel like a writer is using another person’s work without giving them proper attribution, then it is always wise to stop using the material and report it to your editor/publisher.
  • Use proper punctuation and grammar while paraphrasing
    By using the appropriate quotes, parentheses, and other punctuation marks, you will be able to considerably minimize the chances of plagiarism. That aside, the punctuations will also allow you to easily locate which texts need to be prioritized when you’re on the hunt for accidental plagiarism.
    If there are any texts that seem directly ripped and pasted from another material, then that is where grammar comes in. Though paraphrasing may allow the text to not feel plagiarized, it should not come at the cost of unreadability. Be sure to use proper grammar when you reword the texts you’re referencing. Remember, you’re trying to make your readers enjoy reading your article, not hate it.

Conclusion

By taking the time to properly understand what plagiarism is and how to prevent plagiarizing the work of others, you are directly helping yourself and your writing career grow to greater heights.

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