Plagiarism: What exactly is it?

The Indiana University Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, (henceforth referred to as the Code), states that students may be disciplined for several different kinds of academic misconduct. These include cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, interference, and, of course, violation of the rules.

In particular the Code states:

Plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else's work, including the work of other students, as one's own.
Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged, unless
the information is common knowledge. What is considered "common knowledge" may differ from course to course.


a. A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of another person without acknowledgment.

b. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever:

1. Directly quoting another person's actual words, whether oral or written;

2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories;

3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories of others, whether oral or written;

4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or

5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others in the form of projects or collections without acknowledgment.

(quoted from Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct,
Part II, Student Responsibilities, Academic Misconduct, By action of the University Faculty Council (April 28, 2009) and the Trustees of Indiana University (June 11, 2009).)

Plagiarism isn't just about writing papers!

The purposes of Indiana University include the advancement of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the promotion of the general well-being of society. As a community, we share a dedication to maintaining an environment that supports trust, respect, honesty, civility, free inquiry, creativity, and an open exchange of ideas.

Individual rights are best protected by a collective commitment to mutual respect. A student who accepts admission to Indiana University agrees to:
  • Be ethical in his or her participation in the academic community,
  • Take responsibility for what he or she says and does,
  • Behave in a manner that is respectful of the dignity of others, treating others with civility and understanding, and
  • Use University resources and facilities in appropriate ways consistent with their purpose and in accordance with applicable polices.
Every Indiana University student is responsible for reading and understanding this Statement, as well as other expectations identified by individual schools or organizations relevant to an academic major, professional field, or on-campus residence.