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Research Support: Plagiarism

Ethical use of Information

Using information ethically for written assignments and research is extremely important.  The ethical use of information does not only reflect a person's integrity, but it is also mandated by law.  

Unethical use of information is referred to as "plagiarism" and may be prevented by citing sources. 

This section is not an extensive look into all areas of the ethical use of information, but will provide an overview and help ensure that written assignments and research conform to the current standards of using information ethically. 

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, plagiarism is "... an act of copying the ideas and words of another person without giving credit to that person."

The infographic below illustrates the various types of plagiarism.

Image Source

The following resources may be useful to help you understand and curb plagiarism and to use information ethically:

It is important to know the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism and where they overlap. 

The following sites explain the distinction:

Researchers need to be aware of the concept of self-plagiarism and self-citation  and how to avoid it.

The following sites may be useful:

The following are examples of the consequences of plagiarism:


Please consult your research supervisor with regard to the plagiarism detection tools at the University

 At Unisa, Turnitin is used.

Turnitin is an internet based anti-plagiarism detection software that is aimed at promoting quality academic writing within learning Institutions. This allows students to develop quality writing skills as it facilitates rich, significant feedback on their submitted work. Hence in this process, they are able to improve their academic writing.

Instructors/Lecturers require students to submit their written assignments to Turnitin. The system then checks the submitted document for non-originality (possible plagiarism) by comparing submitted papers to several databases/repositories on the world wide web. Instructors/Lecturers are then able to monitor a student's similarity index.

Make use of the Turnitin website for more information.

Queries regarding Turnitin

All queries regarding the use of Turnitin can also be emailed to

Please find the attached Turnitin guide and the Turnitin form for your information. 

The completed form must be sent to: if you are not able to access the Turnitin. 

Kindly note that the University does not support private email addresses.  You may ONLY use your myLife email account for Turnitin at Unisa. You can claim your myLife e-mail at :


What is iThenticate


iThenticate is designed specifically for publications and may be used for your own articles or conference papers without fear of undue conflicts in the originality reports.

NO student work whatsoever may be submitted to iThenticate!


Queries regarding iThenticate

Unisa Press preprint server called UnisaRxiv.  The “Preprint” is a format to share early-stage results with a larger community for immediate feedback, while retaining the right to publish formally in any scholarly publication (not only Unisa Press publications) at a later date.  The service provided through the preprint server includes originality checking of content and also reference checking and copyediting. 

If you would like to post your submission to the Unisa Press preprint server and it is not currently in submission anywhere else you are welcome to use the following link to UnisaRxiv - Publications – UnisaRxiv – ScienceOpen  

NB:  Please contact Unisa Press for more information about iThenticate



Unisa Press, a subsidiary of Unisa, has a separate account that validates the originality of all entries made to its publications, including submissions to the Unisa Press preprint site, UnisaRxiv - Publications -ScienceOpen.

This allows for the dissemination of early-stage data to a larger community, providing instant feedback on the paper while allowing for formal publication in any scholarly publication.  The preprint server offers services such as originality checking, reference checking, and copyediting.