Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

College Readiness

When is it plagiarism?

When you do not cite a source that you...

  • Directly quote
  • Use a concept or idea from
  • Reference another work or project
  • Are heavily influenced by
  • Paraphrase 

Plagiarism

Consequences of Plagiarism

Destroy your education reputation.  You may be suspended or expelled from school. Your academic record can reflect the ethics offense, possibly causing you to be barred from entering higher education schools (graduate school, medical school, law school, etc.).

Destroy your professional reputation.  A professional business person, politician, or public figure may find that the damage from plagiarism follows them for their entire career. Not only will they likely be fired or asked to step down from their present position, but they will surely find it difficult to obtain another respectable job. Depending on the offense and the plagiarist’s public stature, his or her name may become ruined, making any kind of meaningful career impossible.

Destroy academic reputation.  If you choose to become a instructor at a college or university and plagiarize your work can ruin your career.  The consequences of plagiarism have been widely reported in the world of academia. Once scarred with plagiarism allegations, an academic’s career can be ruined. Publishing is an integral part of a prestigious academic career. To lose the ability to publish most likely means the end of an academic position and a destroyed reputation.

Legal Repercussions.  The legal repercussions of plagiarism can be quite serious. Copyright laws are absolute. One cannot use another person’s material without citation and reference. An author has the right to sue a plagiarist. Some plagiarism may also be deemed a criminal offense, possibly leading to a prison sentence. Those who write for a living, such as journalists or authors, are particularly susceptible to plagiarism issues. Those who write frequently must be ever-vigilant not to err. Writers are well-aware of copyright laws and ways to avoid plagiarism. As a professional writer, to plagiarize is a serious ethical and perhaps legal issue.

Monetary Repercussions.  Many recent news reports and articles have exposed plagiarism by journalists, authors, public figures, and researchers. In the case where an author sues a plagiarist, the author may be granted monetary restitution. In the case where a journalist works for a magazine, newspaper or other publisher, or even if a student is found plagiarizing in school, the offending plagiarist could have to pay monetary penalties.

Plagiarized Research.  Plagiarized research is an especially egregious form of plagiarism. If the research is medical in nature, the consequences of plagiarism could mean the loss of peoples’ lives. This kind of plagiarism is particularly heinous.


The consequences of plagiarism can be personal, professional, ethical, and legal. With plagiarism detection software so readily available and in use, plagiarists are being caught at an alarming rate. Once accused of plagiarism, a person will most likely always be regarded with suspicion. Ignorance is not an excuse. Plagiarists include academics, professionals, students, journalists, authors, and others.

The consequences of plagiarism are far-reaching and no one is immune. Neither ignorance nor stature excuses a person from the ethical and legal ramifications of committing plagiarism. Before attempting any writing project, learn about plagiarism. Find out what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it. The rules are easy to understand and follow. If there is any question about missing attribution, try using an online plagiarism checker or plagiarism detection software to check your writing for plagiarism before turning it in. Laziness or dishonesty can lead to a ruined reputation, the loss of a career, and legal problems.

(http://www.ithenticate.com/resources/6-consequences-of-plagiarism)

Visit us on Facebook

Visit us on Twitter

 Rockhurst University Library · 1100 Rockhurst Road · Kansas City, MO 64110 · 816-501-4116