Plagiarism on the Rise

That get your attention? That’s apparently the point. According a piece by Kayla Webley at Time (with the headline “Survey: College Plagiarism Is at an All-Time High”), “a new survey from the Pew Research Center shows plagiarism in college is on the rise.”

But not really. According to the story:

More than half of the college presidents surveyed said that plagiarism in students’ paper has increased over the past 10 years. Further, an overwhelming majority — 89 percent — say computers and the Internet have played a major role in the rise in stealing others work and claiming it as their own.

Wait, who cares? College presidents, who don’t generally teach classes, merely “feel” like plagiarism is on the rise. But no one really knows.

Perhaps the biggest change in the last decade is that the world now has companies that claim to be able to find plagiarism, and thus have an interest in perpetuating the myth of the plagiarism blight.

This doesn’t mean that plagiarism doesn’t happen. It surely does. But increasing? Come on. Some people just think it’s increasing. There’s no evidence here that anything has changed.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer