Cross-Cultural Differences in Plagiarism: Fact or Fiction?
20 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2019
Date Written: April 24, 2019
Are there cross-cultural differences in plagiarism? Is it helpful—let alone fair—to try to generalize attitudes toward plagiarism across cultures? Is this issue of relevance for learning institutions like law schools? And how do these issues intersect with the legal profession? My perspectives on these issues stem from 25 years of legal practice handling complex commercial disputes combined with over 20 years as a law school professor, first as an adjunct professor and now as a part of the legal writing department. The two perspectives—the practicing attorney view and the academic view—are not identical.
This article addresses whether there are cross-cultural differences in plagiarism, as well as the different attitudes that prevail in the academic and professional worlds in five stages. Parts I, II, and III address differences that exist in views of plagiarism in the West as opposed to Asia, and Part IV addresses the response to those views, arguing that they are unfair and inaccurate stereotypes. Parts V, VI, and VII address plagiarism in the “real world” of litigation—the world in which most law students will reside upon graduation. Finally, Part VIII concludes with a modest proposal for handling plagiarism in law school.
Keywords: plagiarism, academics, law practice, cultural differences, stereotypes, real world, law school
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