Lack of academic integrity has frustrated the attainment of educational objectives especially in tertiary institutions in recent times.



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Towards Curbing Plagiarism in Higher Institutions of Learning: The Strategic Role of the Library


Idiegbeyan-ose, Jerome; Ifijeh, Goodluck; Sugun-Adeniran, Chidi, Esse Ugwunwa, Owolabi, Sola and Aregbesola Ayooluwa.


1. Lack of academic integrity has frustrated the attainment of educational objectives especially in tertiary institutions in recent times. Perhaps, one of the most prevalent fraudulent practice among students, academics and researchers today is plagiarism. This paper examines the concept, nature and intricacies of plagiarism. It notes the devastating effects of plagiarism on the individual, academic institutions and the society at large. The paper argues that libraries by their assigned and inherent functions have a strategic role to play in curbing plagiarism. The roles include awareness creation, teaching of referencing and citation skills, information literacy programmes among others. The paper concludes with further recommendations for dealings with the menace of plagiarism.






2. Higher institutions all over the world are battling with the plaque of plagiarism. Management and designated authorities of institutions are concerned with the need to device means to curb these ugly trends.

For instance in Nigeria, the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities in 2012 contacted the United Kingdom (UK) based academic integrity software company called Turnitin for discussions and technical collaborations on dealing with plagiarism. Today, many universities in Nigeria have access to Turnitin system and they can now conduct originality checks of diverse publications to ensure genuine intellectual contributions to scholarship (Idiegbeyan-ose, Nkiko and Osinulu 2016). The Nigerian experience appears to be the trend around the world. However, the conduct of originality checks has not considerably reduced the occurrence of plagiarismin institutions; though it has created some levels of awareness (Idiegbeyan-ose, Nkiko & Osinulu, 2016).


3. Plagiarism is a threat to the founding philosophy of research which is to arrive at new facts or get additional information to the existing one; plagiarism if not curbed will hinder the main aim and objective of universities- that is to solve the problem of mankind through research. Alluding to the research function of tertiary institutions especially Universities, Agu, Olibie and Anyikwa (2009) explained that higher institutions are supposed to produce research findings and innovation that will contribute to the advancement of nations. Plagiarism has become a great risk to the attainment of this objective. This paper therefore examines the concept and intricacies of plagiarism and the vital roles libraries could play in curbing this ugly trend.



4. According to Berlinck (2011), “plagiarism has come to occupy a greater space in society, probably due to access to electronic documents.” Plagiarism is interlinked with other fraudulent practices like “copy and paste”, “inadequate referencing, etc. According to the Ethics Committee of Editors of the British Journal of Surgery, ‘plagiarism rangers from the unreferenced use of others’ published and unpublished ideas, including research grant applications to submission under “new “authorship of a complete paper, sometimes in a different language. This can occur at any stage of writing, such as planning, research, writing, or publication; this applies to both print and electronic versions of articles” ( Skandalakis & Mirilas, 2004).





5. According to Masic (2012), the word plagiarism emanated from the Latin word “Plagium” meaning “Kidnapping a man”, which implies stealing another person’s work and presenting it as yours, whether intentionally or intentionally. According to Maxel (2013), in spite of the differences in definitions of plagiarism, the general understanding about plagiarism or copyright infringement is that it happens when the materials that have been written need creativity, or lack originality, poor reference or citation of materials utilized, non- acquisition of authorization from the original authors, extension of materials that are not original. Plagiarism is a scholarly deceptive in nature, unscrupulous, lacks uprightness, encroaches on copyright laws and legislation, and encourages a procedure of moral decay in academics, and all types of scholarly work.


6. The act of using other individuals’ work as an original work of lecturers, students and other persons in academia like its new is plagiarism and copyright infringement. The act of plagiarism is generally not acceptable worldwide; conventionally, untruthfulness of any shape is disregarded by everyone. Office of research integrity (2011) opined that “a source used in writing accordingly; this will boost and promote honesty and integrity in the academic world. Paper must be acknowledged even if the content is paraphrased or summarized rather than directly quoted”. Proper citation and acquisition of proper permission from original authors of a work, likewise words verbatim from previously used works should be cited and quoted.



7. Looking at the increasing incidences of plagiarism and its consequences on intellectual property rights and academic integrity, there is need to quickly find solutions to the emerging trend. Gibson and Chester- Fangman (2011) posited that though it will take the involvement of all stakeholders to deal with the problem of plagiarism, the library has a major role to play. Libraries are involved in intellectual property creation, accessibility, protection and preservation. Plagiarism negates the protection of intellectual property rights. It therefore poses a great challenge to libraries. Burke (2004) opined that in dealing with plagiarism, libraries should not only be concerned with detection; they should also take proactive steps in preventing occurrence of plagiarism. Prevention measures range from information literacy and correct citations campaigns, research clinics and advocacy programmes. Specifically, in preventing and detecting plagiarism, libraries could play the following roles:

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