Raj Express’s Policy & Guidelines For Dealing With Plagiarism.
We define “plagiarism” as presenting someone else’s work as your own without giving them the due credit. This is literary theft. It is an act of fraud. At Raj Express, we consider this a serious and an unforgivable offence.
CASE – I: PLAGIARISM DETECTED BEFORE PUBLICATION
If plagiarism is detected before publishing the article/ story, then first of all we point this out to the concerned writer. Our policy and action procedure depends on wether the he/ she is a full time writer, guest writer, columnist or once in a while contributor.
Full Time Writer / Guest Writer / Columnist: Our team usually does a plagiarism check on a random but statistically significant number of articles every month for every writer. If the results are not satisfactory, we ask for a written explanation for the reasons behind such actions. If the explanation is not satisfactory to Raj Express Editorial Board [RAEB], a stern warning is issued. On further investigation, if we realise that the concerned writer has had a history of such acts, then a stringent action is taken ranging from re-writing the piece with attributions, docking one month’s salary to suspension.
Once in a while contributor: Depending upon the extent of plagiarism ranging from a couple of quotes/ sentences versus an entire paragraph/article. We either ask the him/her to re-write the article with attributions to blacklist after informing him/her based on RAEB’s recommendation. In any case, decisions of Raj Express Boards are final.
CASE – I: PLAGIARISM DETECTED AFTER PUBLICATION
If plagiarism is allegedly pointed out after publishing the article/ story, either by the internal team or by our esteemed readers who makes an accusation of plagiarism. Firstly, we discuss and take a call on wether the accusation is worth looking into or not. If the accusation is a general statement or a fact like “Sun rises in the East” is something we don’t need to investigate upon. We simply issue a statement saying that we have looked into the matter and it’s fine. On the other hand, if we detect that something is amiss, then we immediately issue a public statement on social media and on our website that we are taking this very seriously starting with taking down the piece. After which we investigate and publish the results on our website. Upon investigation, if the accusation carries some weight, we take down the story and put up an inquiry on the writers actions. Any necessary action ranging from ranging from re-writing the piece with attributions, docking one month’s salary to suspension or blacklisting once in a while contributor is taken after RAEB’s recommendation while keeping the key stake holders in the loop.
ATTRIBUTION/ ACKNOWLEDGEMENT GUIDELINES FOR WRITERS
While Formulating the attribution guidelines for this document. we have referred to https://www.plagiarism.org. However, whenever necessary, we have adapted, deleted, added material to suit the Indian scenario, and Raj Express’s ethos.
It is to be noted that attribution gives stories/ articles is credibility and a perspective. It tells our readers about how we have come to known, what we have written. Effective use of attribution is a matter both of journalism ethics and of strong writing.
What should be acknowledged:
Acknowledge whenever attribution strengthens the credibility of a story.
Acknowledge whenever you are using someone else’s words/ statements.
Acknowledge when you are reporting information gathered by researchers or other journalists/ reporters.
Acknowledge when you are not certain of facts.
Acknowledge statements of opinion.
When you wonder whether you should Acknowledge, Simply Acknowledge.
What shouldn’t be acknowledged:
Facts that were observed first hand do not need any reference. For Example: It is a rainy day today.
Don’t worry about attributing/referring facts where the source is obvious and not particularly important and the fact is not in dispute. For Example: Brad man’s Test average is 99.94. If multiple sources tell you something and it is not in dispute, you can state it as a fact.
However, if a source’s choice of words is being used directly to state an undisputed fact, that source should be credited. For Example: “Tendulkar has a Test average of 53.78, which is puny compared to Brad man’s 99.94, but the conditions were different, the game was different, the rules were different.”
Things to keep in mind while acknowledging/ attributing/ referring/ citing
Web Linking is an essential part of acknowledgement in online journalism. Linking lets readers see the full context of the information being cited. Even when readers don’t click links, the fact the piece of article has been linked tells them that you are backing up what you have written.
If you’re writing a story about election, you don’t need acknowledgement for the fact that Narendra Modi Won by more than 300 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. Likewise, You don’t need to cite commonly known and established facts about the Olympic Games scam today, but if you were writing about it just after a newspaper broke the story in 2012 you needed to cite that newspaper story or article.
When confidentiality is granted to a source, describe this source/person as clearly as possible without identifying him/her. Misleading a reference is not a very acceptable way to hide a source. For example: if the source is a former minister, he/ she can be referred to as a “political insider”
It is important to note the full connections of one’s sources. Quoting a source and referring to him with only one designation may not be enough. You must also mention his other designations/ job profiles, as he may not be a neutral observer on many issues.
if you didn’t hear the person directly say something yourself, you should probably attribute the quote not only to the speaker but to the medium that reported it. Oblique citations to competitors as “reporters” or “news media” or “a blogger” based on hear say aren’t adequate acknowledgement. If the quote was received directly from a televised interview or another newspaper or a blog, cite the outlet. However, if a politician / celebrity is making a televised speech or holding a televised news conference, that is not the same as an exclusive interview. That speech is public domain and can be uses without any citation to another medium.
It is necessary to not to copy ideas from already published material. However, if you come to find a good story that has already been published somewhere and still plan to do an original research to do a story that is similar in content but different in writing approach, you don’t need to acknowledge the story idea. For example, you read a story about the animation done in Avengers, and do an interview with the person who was in charge of CGI for the film, there is no reason to attribute. If you read an opinion piece and borrow the basic idea/ conclusion and take it far forward, much beyond what the original writer said, you may choose not to acknowledge. But, whenever in doubt, attribute/ cite or At least, consult your editor.
Do not directly repeat PTI / ANI or Reuters stories word-for-word, or nearly so. You can use, “According to a PTI report”. However, if the news agency story is about a public event —a press conference, a speech by a public official in a public setting, an official statement of a government agency, etc, you do not need to attribute/ cite
Everyone journalist/ commentator in the world uses/ has used Wikipedia at some point in his tenure. If it is pure information—“Ratan Tata was the chairman of the Tata sons”, that line can be used directly, though the information need to be checked for its accuracy. But if it is “Ratan Tata became one of India’s most influential businessman by launching a number of successful businesses such as the TCS, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, etc” attribute. As soon as you come across a comment, usually an adjective or an adverb—“most influential”—appears, attribute. But do not cite Wikipedia—“according to Wikipedia” sounds like a joke and it actually is, from academia to media all over the world. Check the source, if any is referred to. If no source is cited, just avoid. Try doing your own reporting. If the source is saying what Wikipedia has carried, cite the source.
It is essential not to quote or paraphrase someone else’s work so much so that you effectively make reading, watching or listening to their articles unnecessary. Excessive quotation is also considered as plagiarism.