Monday, May 22, 2006


Hi Guys

At a meeting between CSIR and UWC staff last Friday, we agreed to extend the Biodiversity course as part of extending the length of tuition for the learnership. One of the reasons is because there has been so much plagiarism and lack of attention to how to quote and reference. We realized that there is still misunderstanding about these issues.

To summarize, if you directly quote somebody you must put this into quotes for example I have quoted directly....

“Plagiarists plague newsrooms ranging from the university level to our most prestigious newspapers. An incomplete list of journalists accused recently of plagiarism includes: Jack Kelley, who just resigned from USA Today; Charlie LeDuff and Bernard Weinraub of The New York Times; Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated; Ben McCarthy, formerly of the University Daily Kansan; Tonya Dawson and Demetra Karamanos of the Cavalier Daily at the University of Virginia; and Catherine Fitzpatrick, formerly of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.” [1]

Plagiarism is serious

To be found guilty of plagiarism can mean, expulsion from a university, loss of a job such as the above journalists and definite loss of creditability [2].

When it is not Plagiarism?

Where there compilation of unsigned works such as occurs in Encylopedeas, and software training manuals and resources like Wikipedia, and even News Paper articles where they do not assign credit for originality to particular people, plagiarism has not been committed [3]. Similarly lecture notes may contain copied text, but if the lecturter does not claim they are his/her own, it is not actually plagiarism; however the lecturer should provide sources for their information. You will note that I have routinely provided full referencing to show you how to do it.

Common ideas that are widespread in their use like “zebras are stripped black and white” can be stated without providing a source, or the Cape Peninsula has a Mediterranean climate. It can be difficult to judge what needs to be cited but essential an idea that is common place knowledge and in the public domain is free from citation [4]. Where doubt exists it is best to rather over-documentation than under-document.

Internet Referencing

The components for an internet reference that is not published in any other medium is as follows, surname and initial(s), the title of the article followed by [Internet]; the name of the Website that the article appears under; the date (and time) the article was written, the date that it was cited and Available from, followed by the correct web address.

Colón, A.

Great Journalists Credit Others [Internet].

Poynte Online: Everything you need to be a better Journalist;

[cited 2006 May 22].

Available from

At the moment the following sections have been marked of your Biodiversity assignments. I have indicated where you can make the most difference to your mark. Nick has agreed to resubmitting your assignment as per the shedule below (please note only ONE remark wil be permitted). Gwen has indicated that she does not have the time to re-mark. These are the due dates to get the re-submit or re-edited scripts.

A - Gwen (no remark)
B - Nick (can re-submit - 23rd May 17h00)
C - Gwen (no remark)
D - Nick (can re-submit - 24th May 17h00)
E - Gwen (no remark)
F - Nick (can re-submit - 25th May 17h00
G - Gwen (open for editing - 23rd May 17h00)
H - Nick (can re-submit - 26th May 17h00)
I - Gwen (open for editing - 25th May 17h00)
J- Nick (open for editing - 25th May 17h00)
K- Gwen (open for editing - 26th May 17h00)
L - Gwen (open for editing - 26th May 17h00)

You have until the end of this week to complete all assignments. I will be sending Althea a list of the marks too date so you can check how you are doing in the Biodiversity. We will write our Biodiversity Exam next week Thursday. I will update the calendar.

EXAM: 1st June 2006 (Chapters 1, 3 and 4)

References (please check these out and note how they are prepared)

[1] Colón, A. Great Journalists Credit Others [Internet]. Poynte Online: Everything you need to be a better Journalist; 2004 Jan 16 [cited 2006 May 22]. Available from .

[2] Stolley, K. Avoiding Plagiarism [Internet]. The Owl at Purdue; 2006 May 12, 18:22 [cited 2006 May 22]. Available from

[3] Wikipedia contributors. Plagiarism [Internet]. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; 2006 May 22, 13:06 UTC [cited 2006 May 22]. Available from:

[4] Smith, J. How to Avoid Plagiarism [Internet] undated [cited 2006 May 22]. Available from

Image Reference

Anon, KEEP SPREADING THIS STORY! [Internet] What Really Happened. 2003 September 2 [cited 2006 May 22]. Available from

Dr Richard Knight
Co-ordinator: National Information Society Learnerships - Ecological Informatics
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17
Bellville 7535

Phone 27 + 21 + 959 3940
Fax 27 + 21 + 959 1237