Earning Credit

, 2009-01-28

I really hate writing about this topic, but it seems like it's something I'll need to do regularly. My guess is that everyone in the publishing business faces the issue of plagiarism on a regular basis and it's a constant battle to try and ensure that you are not putting out information that someone has copied from another source.

This week we had an article published on 3 tips for rookie DBAs. The article has been removed, but it was pointed out by a few people that it had information very similar to another article, Tips for New DBAs by Craig Outcalt. My apologies for Craig for not catching the similarities in the articles.

On one hand plagiarism is more of an issue today because of the tremendous number of places anyone can publish information and people want to publish. So they have lots of places from which to copy things. It's hard to determine if a particular piece of writing submitted by someone is copied unless it's picked up by a search engine. And even then it can be hard to tell what's copied. I use to search out the first sentence of a paragraph or two, and that has helped me catch some articles before we've published them, but it doesn't always work. To a large extent I count on someone else noticing that something's been copied.

On the other hand, those search engines and the huge audience using them means it's hard to get away with copying work without people noticing.

It's disheartening to me that people feel they need to copy someone else's work and take credit for it. Writing can be hard. The act of thinking through your ideas and then getting them down on paper is a skill, and not everyone has it. Some people are better speakers, some are better off just working in a team of people, but if you want to write, and teach others, then you need to do it with your own ideas and efforts, not others.

No colleges, university, or employer in the world condones plagiarism, nor do they want to hire someone that engages in it. Misrepresenting your capabilities and accomplishments, whether on a resume or online, is something will not likely further your career with anyone else.

Please don't submit content to this, or any other site, that you have not produced yourself.

Steve Jones


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