Skip to Main Content

Anti-Plagiarism Guide for Faculty, Staff and Students: Defining Plagiarism

Providing anti-plagiarism sources for students, staff and faculty

Anti-Plagiarism Guide



This guide defines plagiarism and provides students with resources which will help them better understand how to use research materials in a responsible fashion. For additional information on intellectual property matters, including copyright and fair use, see our Copyright Resource Guide.

Plagiarism Defined

According to the WPA (2003), "plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledg­ing its source." 

Plagiarism often comes about when writers fail to cite borrowed source material in their own works. However, it can also happen when a writer copies or otherwise inappropriately reuses his or her own previous work within a new work. This is called "self-plagiarism" or "auto-plagiarism."

Plagiarism is an act of intellectual fraud. It is considered unethical in academic and other professional settings. Students can avoid committing plagiarism and maintain academic integrity by engaging with sources in a responsible fashion, such as taking notes and using either APA or MLA citations in their work.

For OU's definition and stance on plagiarism, see your student handbook or the statement on academic honesty.

Ten types of Plagiarism

10 Types of Plagiarism Exist

Note: Cheating and plagiarism preferences are listed below in order of their severity as judged by instructors themselves.

  1. CLONE: An act of submitting another’s work, word-for-word, as one’s own.
  2. CTRL-C: A written piece that contains significant portions of text from a single source without alterations.
  3. FIND–REPLACE: The act of changing key words and phrases but retaining the essential content of the source in a paper.
  4. REMIX: An act of paraphrasing from other sources and making the content fit together seamlessly.
  5. RECYCLE: The act of borrowing generously from one’s own previous work without citation; To self plagiarize.
  6. HYBRID: The act of combining perfectly cited sources with copied passages—without citation—in one paper.
  7. MASHUP: A paper that represents a mix of copied material from several different sources without proper citation.
  8. 404 ERROR: A written piece that includes citations to non-existent or inaccurate information about sources.
  9. AGGREGATOR: The “Aggregator” includes proper citation, but the paper contains almost no original work.
  10. RE-TWEET: This paper includes proper citation, but relies too closely on the text’s original wording and/or structure.  


Retrieved from

Library Guru

Profile Photo
Danielle O'Barto
Gangwish Library
Ottawa University
1001 S. Cedar St.
Ottawa, KS 66067

Additional Discussions of Plagiarism

We recommend the following resources for additional definitions and descriptions of plagiarism. These rescources also offer sound advice on how to avoid plagiarism.

Is It Plagiarism?

When to Cite Sources

How Not to Plagiarize

Plagiarism: What It is, How to Avoid It

Plagiarism Apps

Did you know that there are apps that can be downloaded to your phone, that can help you to avoid plagiarism?

Copyleaks is a Cloud-based plagiarism detector that can be downloaded to your mobile phone


Plagiarism Checker and Plagiarism Checker X are Android Apps for your mobile phone