What a dirty word, nobody wants to say it, I can only whisper it, accusing someone of it puts you out on a ledge, and many historians, authors and journalists have lost face, credibility and jobs because of it. Ever heard of Stephen Ambrose?
Let’s get it out of the way right up front, as defined by Reference.com:
pla·gia·rism – noun – The unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work, as by not crediting the author.
The Internet has evolved into a free-wheeling mash up of content that goes mostly unchecked, but as a manager of two corporate blogs, I have to be acutely aware of the dangers of paraphrasing, rearranging, not attributing . . . see, I still can’t say it.
Here are 10 steps to help avoid plagiarism that I recently shared with our guest and potential guest bloggers, most of whom are employees:
- No plagiarism, as defined above
- We are all creative people with unique thoughts, leverage it and don’t be afraid to express yourself
- We are not all writers, however, so find a writing partner willing to help you develop your ideas
- Use quotations indicating text from an outside source, and attribute the quotation to its original author
- Paraphrasing is ok, but don’t just rearrange or replace words, and in either case, add value to the original idea with your own original ideas
- Common knowledge facts need not be attributed, but obscure facts must
- The use of graphs, pictures, and illustrations are not immune to this process, be sure to properly attribute
- Copyrighted material may only be posted with permission of the owner
- Write unique blog articles and share information to build credibility with potential customers and drive traffic to our websites, plagiarism hinders any chance of our mutual success
- Have fun please, this is your chance to be the author you always knew you were, and develop business to boot
What is your experience with the “P” word in the business world? Is there anything missing from the list above?