Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Plagiarism in some Somali websites

A couple of weeks ago wardheernews published an
article
that had brought to the fore plagiarism in some Somali websites. Unlike plagiarised articles published in newspapers, the World Wide Web is not a place where a plagiarist can operate for a long time. Ismail C.Hassan's well researched article has raised awareness about widespread plagiarism in some Somali websites.

The plagiarised article belongs to Ahmed Abdi Heybe, a Somali applied linguist and one-time member of the former Somali Academy of Sciences and Arts. Mr Heybe wrote the piece on the history of Somali language, published in Somali websites several years ago. There is something odd about the way plagiarists plundered the work of Mr Heybe. One plagiarist gave the piece two by-lines. Another website published the same article with no by-line but with a photo of young man. Ismail's exposé might have persuaded the manager of the website in question to delete the by-line in order to minimise likely damage to its credibility. No website can be immune from blows to credibility caused by publishing a plagiarised piece. It is easier to check if an article was originally published in another website; googling the title or author's name or some sentences from the piece may deny a plagiarist an opportunity to take a website and its readers for a ride.

Plagiarism is now seen as a threat to higher education institutions.
Many universities have taken this threat seriously and enlisted the help of experts on combatting plagiarism. iParadigms is one of the companies that developed a software used to detect plagiarism in essays. Called Turnitin, it was used to bring to light plagiarism in Ann Coulter's book Godless. iParadigms, the company behind Turnitint, defines plagiarism as follows:

"
1-Turning in someone else's work as your own
2-Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
3-Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
4-Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
5-Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
5-Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not."

And this is what Professor Donna Mcewen at Friends University had to say about the usefulness of Turnitin®:



The new, quick turnaround has been wonderful. It's been wonderful just to have this site; the bulk of this class is writing. I tell students about the site and that every paper will be checked. I haven't had a problem since.

It is now time Somali websites join hands to fight plagiarism.

1 comment:

Daahir said...

Good piece. Plagiarism is rife in Somali websites. Look at this exmaple: http://adensom.wordpress.com/2007/06/22/isku-af-soomaali-ma-nihin-2/
Originally it appeared in Kasmo newspaper website: http://kasmonewspaper.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=111&Itemid=125
but was re-posted in in a blog without attribution to the author( Mr Kaalmoy.) Shame!