Is Plagiarism Getting Caught?

September 10, 2022

If you steal from one author its plagiarism; if you steal from many its research.” –Wilson Wizner (1876-1933), American playwright.

Plagiarism, for the uninitiated, means using someone else's work without giving them proper credit. In academic writing, plagiarizing involves using words, ideas or information from a source without citing it correctly or giving credit.

What was once a rare medicine has now become daily bread? With reference sources like Wikipedia available at the press of computer buttons, plagiarism has become daily bread for journalists, authors and writers of research theses for doctorates. One of the latest in-depth reports on the subject is excerpted below.

Romania's plagiarism hunter becomes the hunted (06/09/2022)

Bucharest (AFP) – Romanian journalist Emilia Sercan has made it her mission to expose plagiarism at the country’s highest levels. But her latest investigation of whether the prime minister passed off other people's work as his own in his doctoral thesis has made her the target of a deluge of threats and leaked intimate photos she says are aimed at silencing her.

Sercan has exposed some 50 cases of plagiarism involving the great and good over the last seven years, showing ministers, prosecutors and judges breaking the rules when publishing books, scientific articles or PhD theses.

The latest to come into her crosshairs is Romania's premier, former general Nicolae Ciuca. In mid-January 2022, she published an investigation in the independent media outlet PressOne, accusing Ciuca of using plagiarised content in 42 pages of his 138-page 2003 doctoral thesis on military science. Since then the journalist has been the victim of a barrage of insults and hate speech on social media to the point where Sercan said she feels "in danger". "Never before have I felt targeted in such a way," said the 46-year-old writer and academic, who has filed two complaints to the police over the threats.

Ciuca, a retired four star general who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, leads the ruling National Liberal Party (PNL) after being cherry-picked by President Klaus Iohannis. The 55-year-old premier has rejected the accusations, saying he respected the academic rules of the time. "I didn't plagiarise," he insisted.

Sercan previously received a death threat in 2019 after revealing cases of plagiarism in PhD theses in the country's police academy. A Bucharest court later sentenced a rector and his deputy, who pressured a subordinate into threatening her, to a three-year suspended jail term.

But, this time stolen intimate photos taken by her fiance some 20 years ago have been used to attack her. Shortly after Sercan sent police screenshots of the images, the screenshots were published by a website in neighbouring Moldova and quickly ended up on 74 other sites, she said. Sercan accused the authorities of having "orchestrated a kompromat operation" to try to discredit her. Prosecutors opened a criminal case, but Sercan said the investigation seems to be making no progress. "They are using their power to cover their tracks and push me into silence."

Ten press freedom organisations, including Reporters Without Borders and Committee to Protect Journalists said they are "disturbed by the harassment" of Sercan -- who is also a professor of journalism at the University of Bucharest -- and have called for a thorough investigation.

"All this support meant a lot for me, but not for the Romanian prosecutors, it seems," she added, saying she was "furious and frustrated" by the lack of action. The journalist said members of the premier's party accused her of "having chosen the wrong moment" to reveal the plagiarism, and of wanting to destabilise the state with war raging in neighbouring Ukraine.

A new education bill abolishing the independent body responsible for investigating plagiarism has also angered government critics. It would also place a time limit of three years on prosecution of cases of academic misconduct.

Romania is seen as one of the most corrupt countries in the EU, and academic fraud held a particular place in its post-Communist history, with many of the country's elite accused of using it as a shortcut to power and prestige. Professor Ciprian Mihali of the University of Cluj, a specialist on the subject, said the problem has its roots in "the proliferation of universities between 1990 and 2000 after the fall of the communist regime." PhDs became the key to reaching the upper echelons of power and "we have had to deal with the development of a real plagiarism industry," he said."It's a whole line of production and networks" allowing "incompetent people to rise to vital positions" and to stay there despite criticism.

Another Romanian prime minister, Victor Ponta, was accused of plagiarism by the scientific journal Nature in 2012, but refused to step down. He was eventually forced to resign in 2015 after massive anti-corruption protests rocked the country. A few months later, the Ministry of Education stripped him of his law doctorate and he later lost a court battle to have it restored.

The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response, in the format given below, is welcome (Pl. scroll down a bit). Once again, welcome to reason.



Also read:





By John B Monteiro
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Leave a Comment

Title: Is Plagiarism Getting Caught?

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.