Half the students at the University of Cambridge have plagiarized, according to results of a survey by Varsity, a student newspaper at the university.
The newspaper said its survey had attracted 1,014 respondents, of whom 49 percent said they had committed at least one act defined by the university as plagiarism. The list of forbidden acts included: handing in someone else’s essay; copying and pasting from the Internet; copying or making up statistics, code, or research results; handing in work that had been submitted previously; using someone else’s ideas without acknowledgment; buying an essay; and having an essay edited by Oxbridge Essays, a company that provides online essay services. Five percent of those who admitted having plagiarized said they had been caught.
Some students were surprised to find that what they thought were innocuous academic acts had landed them in the plagiarist category. “Of course I use other people’s ideas without acknowledging them, but I didn’t think that this made me a plagiarist,” one student said.
But others admitted copying or buying work “when I am late with an essay or finding it difficult.” Law students, the newspaper said, broke the rules most often, with 62 percent admitting that they had plagiarized. Four percent of students surveyed said they had written for Oxbridge Essays. —Lawrence Biemiller