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Plagiarism in a Digital Age

Jordan J. Ballor


With the advent of printing technologies, particularly those in the industrial era, the dissemination and availability of academic texts became much more widespread, and along with this dissemination arose a reference apparatus and practice that more or less rigorously expected detailed attribution for source material. In theory, at least, a reader ought to be able to reconstruct the argument being made by carefully tracing the footnotes. Often this was more ideal than actual, but the standard has persisted to this day that plagiarism is a serious intellectual (and moral) offense. What has changed even more recently is that the digital dissemination of intellectual material has made plagiarism both easier to commit and easier to detect. With a simple cut and paste maneuver huge blocks of text can be moved from a web page to a word processer. However the same works in reverse, and massive search engines like Google, as well as specialized services like Turnitin, have made plagiarism detection a cottage industry (and for some professors, an unavoidable component of their occupation). It is therefore with regret that I must report a case of unattributed dependence that appeared in the pages of the Journal of Markets & Morality.

Jordan J. Ballor, "Editorial: Plagiarism in a Digital Age," Journal of Markets & Morality 17, no. 2 (Fall 2014): 349-352.

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