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      An Activity to Promote Recognition of Unintentional Plagiarism in Scientific Writing in Undergraduate Biology Courses†

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          Unintentional plagiarism frequently occurs in undergraduate writing assignments because students are unaware of the complexity of correct paraphrasing and citation rules. There is often a lack of formal instruction in science courses on proper paraphrasing and citation to reduce plagiarism. To address this deficit, we developed a brief activity to teach students to recognize the range of paraphrasing and citation errors that can result in plagiarism. The activity was used in a biology-focused scientific literacy course, but it can be incorporated into different instructional settings, with undergraduate students of all levels. During this classroom activity, part 1 addresses the nuances associated with proper paraphrasing and citation in scientific writing and part 2 asks students to practice paraphrasing and properly citing a passage from a scientific source. Pretest results revealed that students were proficient at identifying plagiarism when a citation error occurred but were less proficient at recognizing improper paraphrasing (patchwriting or direct plagiarism). Posttest results indicated that the activity was effective at increasing the students’ ability to recognize a paraphrasing error even when a correct citation was present. Students also reported higher confidence in their understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and that they are more confident in their ability to properly paraphrase and cite scientific source content.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Plagiarisms, Authorships, and the Academic Death Penalty

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            Genetics of pigmentation in skin cancer--a review.

            Skin pigmentation is one of the most overt human physical traits with consequences on susceptibility to skin cancer. The variations in skin pigmentation are dependent on geographic location and population ethnicity. Skin colouration is mainly due to the pigmentation substance melanin, produced in specialized organelles (melanosomes) within dendritic melanocytes, and transferred to neighbouring keratinocytes. The two types of melanin synthesized in well defined chemical reactions are the protective dark coloured eumelanin and the sulphur containing light red-yellow pheomelanin. The events leading to the synthesis of melanin are controlled by signalling cascades that involve a host of genes encoding ligands, receptors, transcription factors, channel transporters and many other crucial molecules. Several variants within the genes involved in pigmentation have been associated with high risk phenotypes like fair skin, brown-red hair and green-blue eyes. Many of those variants have also been implicated in the risk of various skin cancers. The variants within the key pigmentation gene, melanocortin-receptor 1 (MC1R), in particular have been ubiquitously linked with high risk traits and skin cancers involving both pigmentary and non-pigmentary functions and likely interaction with variants in other genes. Many of the variants in other genes, functional in pigmentation pathway, have also been associated with phenotypic variation and risk of skin cancers. Those genes include agouti signalling protein (ASIP), tyrosinase (TYR), tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TYRP1), oculocutaneous albinism II (OCA2), various solute carrier genes and transporters. Most of those associations have been confirmed in genome wide association studies that at the same time have also identified new loci involved in phenotypic variation and skin cancer risk. In conclusion, the genetic variants within the genes involved in skin pigmentation besides influencing phenotypic traits are important determinants of risk of several skin cancers. However, ultimate risk of skin cancer is dependent on interplay between genetic and host factors. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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              'Not necessarily a bad thing …': a study of online plagiarism amongst undergraduate students

               Neil Selwyn (2008)

                Author and article information

                J Microbiol Biol Educ
                J Microbiol Biol Educ
                Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education
                American Society of Microbiology
                30 August 2019
                : 20
                : 2
                Stockton University, Galloway, NJ 08205
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Mailing address: Stockton University, 101 Vera King Farris Drive, Galloway, NJ 08205. Phone: 609-652-4700. E-mail: Melissa.Zwick@ .
                ©2019 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license ( and, which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.



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