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Defining “Ethics”    

“What is all this, and how does it work?” – the answers to which are sought by science; and “What should we do?” – the answers to which are given by ethics. Ethics is a bridge between science and the deliberate mind. With the word deliberate mind I mean, the mind which seeks answers, try to understand the good/evil, true/false, right/wrong, has sense of morality which seems to be an innate and defining characteristic of human beings. We have to exclude nihilists, anarchists or psychopaths who may not seek an answer at all.

According to Bernard Williams, theory of ethics can be defined as “a philosophical structure, which together with some degree of empirical fact, will yield a decision procedure for moral reasoning” or in a more simple way, we can say that, ethics seeks to answer the question “What should I do, all things considered?”[1]
Defining “Misconduct in Science”

Buzzelli defined “Misconduct in Science”, as “fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research.”[2] We can deduce from definition that plagiarism is a type of misconduct.

 Defining “Plagiarism”

As quoted from Kolich:

“The word “plagiarism” comes from the Latin plugicirilrs (a person who steals slaves), and was first used by the Roman poet Martial as a literary conceit for the stealing of servants of the imagination. Another poet, Fidentinus, had been borrowing Martial’s poems and reading them as his own, and Martial mockingly and comically ridicules the weaker poet for trying to enslave those who serve the mind of a master. The joke is on Fidentinus since the poems shall rise like rebellious slaves and demand their freedom; Martial triumphs and Fidentinus is the fool, which is his essential punishment for plagiarism.”[3]

“Wrongful copying in literature or academia is called plagiarism by writers and scholars and copyright infringement by lawyers and judges.”[4]

 Ethics in “Science”

As I mentioned before, deliberate mind seeks answers, try to understand the good/evil, true/false, right/wrong and has sense of morality which seems to be an innate and defining characteristic of human beings. Only nihilists, anarchists or psychopaths may not seek an answer. Hence, as scientists, as human beings we have to be ethical. Therefore, ethics must be considered in all fields of life.


The below part is excerpted from “”:

All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • turning in someone else’s work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on “fair use” rules)

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism.


A “citation” is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:

  • information about the author
  • the title of the work
  • the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
  • the date your copy was published
  • the page numbers of the material you are borrowing

Why should I cite sources?

Giving credit to the original author by citing sources is the only way to use other people’s work without plagiarizing. But there are a number of other reasons to cite sources:

  • Citations are extremely helpful to anyone who wants to find out more about your ideas and where they came from.
  • Not all sources are good or right — your own ideas may often be more accurate or interesting than those of your sources. Proper citation will keep you from taking the rap for someone else’s bad ideas.
  • Citing sources shows the amount of research you’ve done.
  • Citing sources strengthens your work by lending outside support to your ideas.

Doesn’t citing sources make my work seem less original?

Not at all. On the contrary, citing sources actually helps your reader distinguish your ideas from those of your sources. This will actually emphasize the originality of your own work.

When do I need to cite?

Whenever you borrow words or ideas, you need to acknowledge their source. The following situations almost always require citation:

  • Whenever you use quotes
  • Whenever you paraphrase
  • Whenever you use an idea that someone else has already expressed
  • Whenever you make specific reference to the work of another

Whenever someone else’s work has been critical in developing your own ideas.”

[1] Williams, W. (1933), Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. London, Fontana, p. 6.

[2] Buzzelli, D.E. (1993), The Definition of Misconduct in Science: A View from NSF. Science, New Series , 259, p. 584-585+647-648.

[3] Kolich, A. M. (1983), Plagiarism: The Worm of Reason. College English , 45, p. 141-148.

[4] Steams, L. (1992), Copy Wrong: Plagiarism, Process, Property, and the Law, California Law Review, 80, p. 513-553.

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