Crib from one book, it’s plagiarism: crib from twenty, it’s research?

Not much to do with law & religion but…

I keep an occasional eye on the Referrers box on the Site Stats to see which websites are picking up our posts. This week I was surprised to see a referral fromplagiarism

I hadn’t seen that one before; but out of curiosity I visited the site and found that it offers a method of checking a text for plagiarism: you paste in the text and the system crawls the web to see if it can find any matches. So, presumably, some academic from somewhere had been checking a piece of work to see if the author had been nicking other people’s stuff off the Internet and found that said author had been plagiarising L&RUK. I still don’t know whether to feel annoyed or flattered – but it raises the question in my mind of what, precisely, constitutes plagiarism anyway? Continue reading