ERIC Number: EJ988981
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec-10
Plagiarism in Grant Proposals
Markin, Karen M.
Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec 2012
It is not news that software exists to check undergraduate papers for plagiarism. What is less well known is that some federal grant agencies are using technology to detect plagiarism in grant proposals. That variety of research misconduct is a growing problem, according to federal experts. The National Science Foundation, in its most recent "Agency Financial Report," said allegations of plagiarism and data fabrication in grant proposals and reports had more than tripled during the previous 10 years. Agencies take such misconduct seriously because their reputations are on the line when they finance the research. They can and will impose penalties that could derail one's career. It is important for scholars to understand that copying information or text from someone else's grant proposal is considered plagiarism--just as if the document copied had been published in a scholarly journal--whether or not that proposal received money. And it is not just young scholars who need to take that lesson to heart. Plagiarism in grant proposals is happening among academics at all levels of experience, from assistant professors to seasoned full professors. Some faculty members are simply unaware that the practice constitutes research misconduct. In this article, the author presents some key points that may seem obvious to composition instructors but apparently are not obvious to faculty members writing grant proposals: (1) Do not forget to use quotation marks when copying text verbatim from a source. Many researchers neglect to insert quote marks when electronically copying portions of an electronic document into one of their own files, and then lose track of which words are their own; (2) Paraphrasing means restating a concept in one's own words. Just changing a few words does not qualify. Also, be sure to cite the original source of the idea; (3) Carelessness and time constraints do not excuse plagiarism. Leave enough time to review the proposal before submission to ensure a paragraph has not been pasted in without attribution. If students are assisting with proposal preparation, leave enough time to review their work as well; and (4) Additional guidance on avoiding plagiarism is plentiful. Universities that receive federal money must provide grantees with training in the responsible conduct of research. Take advantage of the training, which may consist of Web tutorials or workshops. The Web sites of university research-compliance offices also contain useful advice on plagiarism.
Descriptors: College Faculty, Educational Technology, Federal Aid, Grants, Periodicals, Web Based Instruction, Plagiarism, Computer Software, Program Proposals, Proposal Writing, Research Proposals, Public Agencies, Citations (References)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A