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Vol.5, Issue 1, 2019, pp.135-163 Full text

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Web of Science: 000472606700009

Irena Vassileva
Affiliation: New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria

Mariya Chankova
Affiliation: South-West University, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Contributor Roles:
Conceptualization; Project Administration; Supervision: I.V. (lead);
Investigation; Methodology; Validation; Writing original draft; Writing – review and editing: I.V., M.C. (equal);
Resources; Formal Analysis, Data curation, Visualization: M.C. (lead);

This contribution probes into the attitudes towards plagiarism in academia as it details the results of a questionnaire study within the larger framework of a joint Bulgarian-German research project on plagiarism in academia. The questionnaire focused on investigating the scope of the notion of plagiarism as Bulgarian academics understand it and second, looking into the availability of a system of support to prevent transgressors and/or sanctions for transgressing academics across Bulgarian universities. The results of the questionnaire suggest that while there appears to be a consensus among Bulgarian academics about the different facets that make up the notion of plagiarism, the reported attitudes towards plagiarism practices vary greatly, reflecting a non-uniform perception of what constitutes an offense. It also shows a deep dissatisfaction with existing anti-plagiarism regulatory systems in Bulgarian scientific institutions.

Keywords: academic plagiarism, perceptions, anti-plagiarism policy

Article history:
Submitted: 6 December 2018;
Reviewed: 7 February 2019;
Revised: 25 April 2019;
Accepted: 1 May 2019;
Published: 1 June 2019

Citation (APA):
Vassileva, Irena, & Chankova, Mariya (2019). Attitudes Towards Plagiarism in Academia. English Studies at NBU, 5(1), 135-163.

Copyright © 2019 Irena Vassileva and Mariya Chankova

This open access article is published and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. If you want to use the work commercially, you must first get the authors' permission.

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Open Data
Data for this study are available under a CC-BY 4.0 license at Mendeley Data.
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This study was financed by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, as part of a larger project entitled: "Text Plagiarism in the Social Sciences vis-à-vis Ethical Aspects and Common Practices" and realized within the framework of the Research Group Linkage Programme of the foundation in the period of 01.01.2017 - 30.06.2018.
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Open Review

1. Reviewer's name: Marga Stander, Sol Plaatje University, South Africa
Publons Reviewer Profile
Review Verified on Publons
Review Content:
This topic is extremely important for academic integrity amongst academics as well as students. More research in this regard is necessary and measures should be taken to guard against plagiarism and also against perpetrators. This fact is made clear in the manuscript. Plagiarism is something that is not ‘taught’ as such and the do’s and don’ts are learned as we go along. A major concern is the fact that many academics are not aware of all the facts regarding plagiarism and are often guilty of plagiarizing themselves. An even greater concern is that they have to assess their students’ writing and if they are not fully equipped in this regard, they are not contributing to the solution of this problem. In fact, they are contributing in creating a bigger problem, not only for students, but also for academics. It then becomes a case of the blind leading the blind. This sentiment is also expressed in this manuscript.

Plagiarism amongst academics does not only appear in Bulgaria, but is a global issue. This is often the last thing academics are concerned about when teaching their students. This paper highlights many of these concerns and is an important contribution to a very wide and general problem in most academic institutions all over the world. This manuscript highlights academics’ attitudes towards plagiarism, which shows that most academics, at least in Bulgaria, are aware of the problem, but fail to deal with it due to various reasons. It also highlights the fact that there is a desire for anti-plagiarism measures, but because of a lack of expertise and trust in the academic institution, nothing is being done. Clear legal guidelines are another factor that anti-plagiarism measures are not introduced. These facts are also true for most institutions over the globe.

This manuscript creates an awareness about plagiarism amongst academics and the consequences it may have in the teaching and learning of students at higher institutions. Similar studies in this regard need to be conducted, in conjunction with authoritarian structures in implementing anti-plagiarism measures and ensuring legal procedures regarding perpetrators of plagiarism. Furthermore, research on intervention strategies on how to avoid plagiarism is necessary to create awareness and provide assistance to both academics and students.

2. Reviewer's name: Jordan Canzonetta, PhD, Syracuse University, NY, USA
Review Verified on Publons
Review Content:
This piece has the potential to contribute to a gap in scholarship related to how academics in higher education encounter plagiarism in Bulgaria. The paper is well-organized, and the methods are legitimate; the conclusions logically follow the data, but the questions asked of participants are sometimes based on the authors' views on how plagiarism should be dealt with. The researchers must account for the deeply complex (and messy) inconsistencies that impact plagiarism in academia without glossing over them. Furthermore, the researchers must account for views that challenge the assumptions upon which several of their claims were made (especially regarding text-matching software). The literature review must include more nuanced views on several aspects of the article. I would encourage the authors to consider why they have taken such a hard line and punitive attitude toward plagiarism, when they admit how complicated the cultural and academic transitions are in Bulgaria, and how woefully undereducated their participants seemed to be on the subject of plagiarism (which can help reduce the problem). These suggestions are meant to challenge and productively encourage the authors to dwell in messiness that entails doing work on plagiarism.

Handling Editor: Stan Bogdanov
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