Is this plagiarism?

+12 votes

The profile for John "Rock" Smith is nearly all copy and paste. 

Probably post-merge, there are two sections to this biography. The source is actually listed - among several named sources in the first section of Sources. The copy & paste continues beyond the first section - through the listing of the children, grandchild, and great-grandchild at the end. 

The biography is 99% copy & paste from the work of Jim Liptrap, titled Rock Smith.  Nowhere does Jim's name appear.  There is no indication of a direct quotation - no quotation marks, no indentation, and no blockquote tags (recommended).

Is this plagiarism?

Edit: Aug 16, 2016  Copy & Paste has been summarized, linked, and removed.  Thank you all for taking the time to answer.

WikiTree profile: John Smith
in Policy and Style by Cynthia B G2G6 Pilot (140k points)
edited by Cynthia B

2 Answers

+12 votes
Best answer
Yest it's plagiarism because it copies and pastes without attribution. That said it is probably not intentional plagiarism. I think people regularly cut and paste stuff they find on the internet into their own offline family file then that file gets uploaded as a gedcom to wikitree without people even thinking about what they're uploading.  I haven't looked at the "Before you upload" help text in awhile but we should encourage people to review their file for this kind of thing before they upload a gedcom AND we should strongly encourage (require?) people to read before you upload before they upload  

Even if it were quoted and attributed, it would also be against wikitree's style guide about copying text. So it should be removed and replaced with original writing. Or converting to a chronology or something. And the original web site should be listed somewhere as a source.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (919k points)
selected by Cynthia B

Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "stealing and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions" and the representation of them as one's own original work.[1][2]


I think and I'm sure many will disagree that as long as you don't publish what you've c + p for profit, you have little to worry about

+5 votes
I  think the question of plagiarism would depend on the amount being quoted and whether it is referenced. In this case I would suggest not plagiarism.

That said, whether the source constitutes evidence is another matter.
by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (283k points)
In academic writing, plagiarism doesn't depend on how much you quote, it's all about whether you have correctly cited the original.  In fact it's not even about quoting, even if you paraphrase someone's work, but don't cite the original, then it can still be plagiarism.

The other issue is that in Wikitree we are encouraged to write original material not copy and paste or transcribe large sections of text.
I wasn't approving of the copy and paste. Nor do I believe it is asequate evidence.

You are, of course, strictly correct about plagiarism (I was considering copyright issues as well). This material is cited adequately in my view. Not so sure about WT involving academic writing. :-)

Related questions

+20 votes
3 answers
476 views asked Jun 9, 2016 in Policy and Style by Cynthia B G2G6 Pilot (140k points)
+10 votes
3 answers
290 views asked Jun 15, 2016 in Policy and Style by Cynthia B G2G6 Pilot (140k points)
+14 votes
4 answers
371 views asked Jun 25, 2019 in Policy and Style by Sally Douglas G2G6 Mach 3 (37.8k points)
+9 votes
2 answers
224 views asked Mar 4, 2019 in The Tree House by Matt Engdahl G2G6 Mach 1 (14.8k points)
+19 votes
2 answers
187 views asked Dec 30, 2018 in The Tree House by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (536k points)
+9 votes
6 answers
279 views asked Jun 19, 2018 in Policy and Style by Jerry Dolman G2G6 Pilot (182k points)
+8 votes
2 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright