Trip Gabriel has argued in her news article that universities are witnessing widespread plagiarism since an increasing number of students assume that the online material is accessible for everyone.
As she has pointed out, using correct citation is a safe way to avoid plagiarism; however, according to some plagiarism specialists, nowadays students are so accustomed to sharing information in cyberspace that they simply take advantage of the digital technology, copying sentences directly into their papers without taking the copyright issues seriously.
Surveys conducted by Donald McCabe (2006-2010) have shown the moral decline on plagiarism. This prevalent phenomenon can be explained through many reasons. Sarah Brookover has powerfully stated that the new concept of intangible texts should take the blame for high rated plagiarism as reading webpages – a non-physical action – will increase a false sensation of “this [belongs] to me”. The challenge of authorship (Blum, 2009) is another visible reason: the glorious idea of individualism developed in Enlightenment Age and the awareness of intellectual property rights are both fading away. Criticisms over Helene Hegemann’s first novel, Axolotl Roadkil, have generated the public concern that young adults tend to regard the mixture of old and new sources as “art of cut and paste” (Zeitung, 2010) rather than misdeed of copying. Last but not least, the strict academic writing standards (Wilensky), and the unwillingness to create compositions (Dudley) share the responsibilities for reported college plagiarism cases.
Gabriel, T. (2010, August 1) Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age. New York Times, A1.