Reflections on 4th International Plagiarism Conference #4IPC2010

Wordle from tweet stream at #4IPC2010
Wordle from tweet stream at #4IPC2010

For the last few days I’ve been at the 4th International Plagiarism Conference (#4IPC2010) in Newcastle. I presented our work on Dealing with plagiarism in the digital age, which I think was well received, it was certainly well attended.

Whilst I’m not sure there was an emerging overall theme from this conference, perhaps because we’ve reached a plateau in terms of awareness of plagiarism as an issue and the various strategies I place to deal with it are now starting to bed in. However, there are few points that stand out:

  • New media: technology has been able to move on for us to be able to start to look at the originality of digital images (tin eye) and music. iParadigms are investing in translation systems and algorithms, so that work translated from a foreign language into English can be matched to the original foreign language source.
  • Collaboration: there were several presentations where work had been carried out in collaboration across different universities or even different countries, and several appeals for research to become consolidated on a more international basis. Teddi Fishman, from International Centre from Academic Integrity is looking to work on a globally acceptable definition of plagiarism. Maureen Green and Tracey Bretag were interested in setting up international research collaborations following their success in Australia with the Asia-Pacific Forum for Educational Integrity  APFEI.
  • Consistency: The holy grail of consistency without conformity in the way that plagiarism penalties are decided and awarded moved a step closer with the publication of the Plagiarism Reference Tariff following the two AMBER reports (report 1 and report 2 – humph, I can’t find this online!). This research evidence-based system provides a concrete talking point for the discussions that Ruth Deech called for back in 2006. This brings me neatly back to collaboration as I hope that together with several colleagues in the UK and internationally, to start a research project to use real case data to test the Tariff and see where improvements can be made.

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