The general context

Plagiarism means copying or in some way reproducing someone else’s work without giving them credit or acknowledgement. In many ways, it is a form of stealing consistent with the etymological root of ‘plagiarism’, which in Latin means ‘kidnapping’. Using another’s work without permission and/or credit signals one of three different situations: copyright breach, plagiarism or invasion of privacy (Branscum, 1991; Howard, 2003; Leval, 1990).

Copyright is a legal issue. If you use without permission work that has been published in a tangible medium or patented, you breach copyright and are liable to lawsuits. However, copyright expires after a certain amount of time, when the work becomes part of the public domain. Copyright law was designed to protect the rights of producers of literary and artistic artifacts. However, public access to such artifacts also needed legal protection, so the doctrine of fair use was created as an amendment to copyright law. Fair use entails using a part of a work for purposes that benefit the public good, such as for education. According to fair use, you may use another’s work without permission if:

  • You are using only a fraction and not the complete item.
  • You give credit to the original source.
  • The item has been published and is, therefore, not private.
  • The purpose is educational.
  • Your use of the material will not affect the market value of the original.

Government documents are considered public property and are not copyrighted. This does not mean to say, that you can copy material from them without citing the source. Or else, this would be plagiarism. If you reproduce a work or part of a work without acknowledging the original creator, and present it as being your own, you are plagiarizing, even in cases where the work is not copyrighted.

Copyright protects only the tangible expression of an idea, not the idea itself. Plagiarism regulations cover the unacknowledged reproduction of the idea itself. Individual scholars produce and publish ideas for their livelihood, and any unacknowledged use of their hard work is both injury and insult. These accounts for the heavy penalties universities impose on students convicted of plagiarism; although legal sanctions do not apply in such cases, the ethical violation carries an equally serious consequence, exclusion (temporary or permanent) from the community.

Plagiarism can be avoided by:

  • Summarizing – expressing in your own words the gist of a document, and citing the source.
  • Paraphrasing – expressing in your own words the gist of a part of an idea, and citing the source.
  • Quoting – copying the exact words of a section of the original document, putting them in quotation marks to set them off from your own words, and citing the source.

All ideas that you take from other texts need referencing. The only exception is common knowledge. Common knowledge consists of propositions and statements that did not originate with the writer, but that are accepted facts in the wider community. Examples include such propositions as ‘Berlin is the capital of Germany’, ‘The Earth is a planet’ and ‘Three plus two equals five’. This, however, is not always so straightforward because knowledge, in many cases, is dependent on the community in which it is used. When using another’s work you may also be invading their privacy, a legally sanctioned offence. This generally occurs when you publicize information that the originator kept personal or private. If you publish your roommate’s journal on the Internet, for example, you are infringing on their privacy. If you publish the journal and present it as your own, you are also plagiarizing.

The professional context

As the last example shows, the professional world presents a challenge to conventions regarding plagiarism. Instances exist in business and industry where presenting another’s work as your own is an accepted practice. Examples include boilerplate text and public relations documents. Boilerplate is standardized text that can be reproduced verbatim, or with minor alterations, for different audiences and documents. For instance, letters sent to clients to inform them of company developments or changes work on the boilerplate model, all recipients get basically the same letter, with only the opening address differing. In such cases, the individual whose name appears on the document is not the same as the one who wrote a section of the document.

Public relations documents are also often anonymous, attributed to anyone who may be a PR officer at a particular time, or written by someone other than the one whose name appears on the document. For instance, corporate websites and promotional material, such as brochures, often contain segments written by different individuals, and they can be updated by rewriting some sections, reorganizing information by cutting and pasting from different sections, etc.  all without acknowledging the original source. Furthermore, speeches and articles of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), and other senior personnel, are more often than not written by the company’s professional writers, but presented as the CEO’s own words. The original writer in these cases has nothing to show but financial remuneration and secret pride. These cases are more variants than aberrations of the plagiarism conventions discussed in the previous section. In the corporate world, the company takes precedent over the individual in matters of production. In many cases, new staffs are asked to sign agreements stating that their work belongs to the company; producing material that the company can use is part of their job description. This is publicly known and acknowledged as business convention; therefore the CEO who puts his name on an article written by his writers is not morally or legally reprehensible. In such instances, the corporation is seen as a body, and acting as an individual. Stepping outside the boundaries of a company, however, would transgress this convention. If a writer of X company, for example, used material that a writer of Y company wrote, he/she would no doubt be plagiarizing. Other documents, especially those that involve major finalisable projects, follow rules akin to those of academic contexts. For example, proposals to management for funding and/or approval of a project always include writers’ names, and so do reports describing the results of an investigation. Also, in such reports, the writers are expected to cite their sources of information, and to quote, summarize and paraphrase as appropriate. Besides giving credit where it is due, citing sources, in both professional and academic contexts, enhances a writer’s accountability as well.


Now-a-days, anyone can search anything in the Internet using the vast number of readily available search engines. However, your search may sometimes end up showing results quite different from your requirements. Use these few tips and tricks to search information easily and effectively:

»   Use multiple similar words to perform a general search on the topic. You may use synonyms or alternative search terms; for example, restaurant, cafe, bistro.

»   Many search engines do not differentiate between uppercase and lowercase letters, even if present within quotation marks. The following words would return the same results: english, English, ENGLISH, œenglish, œEnglish.


»   Enter base words for better and specific results. For example, use technology and not technologies, walk and not walked. However, if you are searching for web-pages on the act of walking, enter the whole term walking.


»   Use quotation marks to limits the search results to only those web-pages that contain the exact phrase you have specified.


»  Use specialty search-engines for searching information about a specific topic or region. Some examples of specialty search engines:

LawCrawler  Search engine for legal professionals.

AskJeeves  Your question and answer search engine.

MedHunt  Search engine and index of medical information.


» Use the plus (+) and minus (-) signs before words to force their inclusion (+) or exclusion (-) in the search; for example: +new +york +city or +new +york +state city.


»  Avoid using punctuations and common words, such as “a”, “my”, or “the”, unless you are searching for a specific title.

»  Use unique terms that are specific to the subject you are researching. For example, instead of searching for œdogs, search for a specific dog breed.


»  Use both the advanced and simple modes of search to retrieve relevant sites.

The Writing Process

The Internet

The internet has emerged as the best source of information. There is practically nothing that you cannot find by browsing the internet. Think about any topic science, technology, medicine, engineering, sports, jobs, education, etc.  the internet has it all.

But, the information provided in the Internet differs in its accuracy, reliability, and value. There are lots of choices, but one cannot be sure if the data they are reading is accurate or not. Some sources may even be outdated and unverifiable. Unlike the conventional information sources (books, magazines, official documents, etc.), information posted in the internet does not require to be approved before it is made public.

When writing research papers, the researcher needs to evaluate the sources. He needs to make decisions about what to search, where to search, and once the relevant material is found, has to check whether it is a valid. The researcher faces difficulties in assessing the credibility of information, and it is extremely time consuming. At times, it can be frustrating. There is a vast amount of information at your disposal, but you may not find exactly what you need.

Sources of Information on the Web

Websites: Much of the information on the internet is available through websites. They vary widely in the quality of information and validity of sources that they provide.

Weblogs/Blogs: These are quite recent development in web technology. These online forums facilitate discussion and collaboration. Here, the writers post something and the readers respond to it. Blogs of prestigious journalists and public figures are more credible than other blogs.

Message boards, discussion lists, and chat rooms: These exist for all kinds of disciplines, more particularly, for universities.

Multimedia: The Internet has a huge amount of multimedia resources, which includes online broadcasts, news, images, audio files, and other interactive websites.

Categories of Information on the Web

The Free, Visible Web: It includes all the publicly mounted web pages, which are indexed by search engines. You can use a good search engine or directory to find information from this category.

The Free, Invisible Web: It includes the websites that provide their articles or information free to users. But, this information can be obtained only by going directly to their home page; search engines cannot index it. Ex.: magazines, newspapers, reference works, etc. Legal, medical, and financial databases can also be included in this category.

Paid Databases: It includes commercial databases containing scholarly journals, newspapers, court cases, etc. You need a password/or have to be a subscriber/or be a member, etc. to obtain information from this category.

Types of Search Tools

Search Engines: A search engine consists of an interface to key a query, an index of Web sites that the query is matched with, and a software program (called a spider or bot) that goes out on the Web and gets new sites for the index. Many search engines are now becoming reference sites, which provide much more than just search capability. They also have news, weather, free software, picture indexes, ratings of web sites, etc. Ex.: Google, Fast Search, Northern Light, HotBot, AltaVista, Britannica, Bartleby, etc.

Directories: Directories are an organized collection of links to websites picked out by human editors. These are much smaller than search engines. But, the credibility of the articles and sites it provides is very high. Ex.: Yahoo, Look Smart, Snap, etc.

Morphemes – English editing.

In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest unit of word having a semantic meaning. They can’t be broken down any further into recognizable or meaningful parts. A morpheme is composed by a phoneme in spoken language and a grapheme in written language. Broadly, morpheme is categorized into two classes.
(i) Free Morpheme
(ii) Bound morpheme.
A free morpheme can stand alone as an independent word in a phrase while bound morpheme depends on other morphemes to form a meaningful word. For instance, Unsuccessful – This word consists of un+ success+ ful. Here, ‘un-’ and ‘-ful’ are bound morpheme where ‘success’ is a free morpheme. ‘un-’ and ‘-ful’ are affixes.
Bound morpheme generally tend to affixes i.e. prefixes and suffixes. Moreover, the morphemes in which affix is attached is called base or stem morpheme. A base morpheme can be both i.e. free and bound morphemes. Some words are free morphemes but in contraction, it becomes bound morphemes.
For instance, I will go to school. Here, ‘will is a free morpheme.
I’ll go to school. Here, ‘ll’ is the contraction of ‘will’. But it is bound morphemes.
For Scientific english editing and Medical Writing Services

Deictic – English editing.

Deictic is a word specifying identity or temporal location from the perspective of a speaker or listener in the context in which the communication occurs. It is a word (such as this, that, these, those, now, then) that points to the time, place, or situation in which the speaker is speaking. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place. Words or phrases that require contextual information to convey any meaning are deictic.
For Scientific english editing and Medical Writing Services

Diphthongs – English editing.

Diphthongs are single vowel sounds that begin in one vowel position and end in another vowel or glide positions.
• (/oy/) – a tense mid back (rounded) vowel found in words like “boy” and “soy.”
• (/aw/)- a tense low back vowel found in words like “cow” and “blouse.” In some dialects of American English, it begins with a low front vowel and transcribed as /æu/.
• (/ay/) – a tense low back vowel found in words like “Aye” and “my”)
• a – a tense low vowel that varies by dialect.
For Scientific english editing and Medical Writing Services

Consonant – English editing.

A consonant is a sound of speech produced when the speaker either stops or severely constricts the airflow in the vocal tract. Consonants are classified into two categories namely, voiceless and voiced. Voiceless consonant are the consonants produced without sound from vocal cord. In voiced consonants the vocal cord vibrates. Consonants are described in terms of (i) Place of articulation (ii) Manner of articulation.
As per place of articulation, consonants can be classified as follows.
• Bilabial – produced from airflow obstruction between two lips
• Labiodental- articulated with lower lip and upper teeth.
• Interdental- produced by placing the tongue against upper incisor
• Alveolar- articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar Ridge.
• Alveo-palatal- articulated with the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge, and the body of the tongue rose towards the palate.
• Velar – articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate
• Glottal- articulated with the glottis.
As per manner of articulation, it can be described as
• Stops – the sounds produced when the airflow is completely obstructed during speech. Example: p &b (bilabial stop); t &d (alveolar stop); k &g (velar stop).
• Fricatives – the sounds produced by forcing airflow through a narrow opening in the vocal tract and friction created producing sound. Example: f & v (labiodental); θ & ð ( Interdental); s & z (alveolar); h(glottal); ʃ & ʒ (Alveo-palatal)
• Affricates – this is a single but complex sound, beginning as a stop but releasing secondarily into a fricative. Example: tʃ & dʒ (Alveo-palatal)
• Nasals – these sounds are voiced oral stop caused by complete obstruction in oral cavity, allowing free escape of air through nose. Example: m (bilabial); n (alveolar); ŋ (velar)
• Liquids – they are approximant consonants, where air flows passed the tongue blade without much friction. Example : l (alveolar liquid)
• Glides – these are vowel-like articulations that precede and follow true vowels. It’s smooth and glides into the vowel sound. These are also sometimes referred to as semivowels. Example: w & ʍ (bilabial); ɹ (alveolar); j (alveo-palatal).
For Scientific english editing and Medical Writing Services

Deictic – English editing.

Deictic is a word specifying identity or temporal location from the perspective of a speaker or listener in the context in which the communication occurs. It is a word (such as this, that, these, those, now, then) that points to the time, place, or situation in which the speaker is speaking. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place. Words or phrases that require contextual information to convey any meaning are deictic.
For Scientific english editing and Medical Writing Services

English Society – English editing.

The teacher of English should organize an English Society or Club for the co curricular activities of the pupils. In this society he can provide a platform to the debating pupils, and also invite scholars and writers of repute, to address his students, on various facets of the study, and teaching learning of English language, and literature. Competitions in recitation, essay writing and even plays can be also organized under this society.
For Scientific english editing and Medical Writing Services

Impact of editing and proofreading before publication

In recent times, the digitized consumerism has contributed significantly to collapse the traditional boundary of communication. Thus, necessitates a dynamic global communication model to address diversified readers by understanding their paramount needs. With the advent of e-technology, many exciting changes are taking place, where people are frequently using e-mail, SMS for their day-to-day communications. The use of abbreviated language is now widely accepted, which has compromised and diminished the importance and role of good writing skills. It needs conscious and persistent effort to develop good writing skill. But only a good piece of write-up is not all. It requires a thorough editing to improve its readability and making it lively, appealing and more comprehensive to generate readers  interest. The success of a professional writer depends to a large extent on how clearly and effectively the writer is able to convey the message to its readers. The growth of web communications and the uniqueness of digital publishing industries have arguably increased the collaboration between writers, editors and publishers. In this context, editing has suddenly gained a large importance and has become a crucial part in writing and publication process, often influencing the acceptance or rejection of a manuscript.

Here the question that arises is -why a manuscript needs editing before publication? Are the writers not apt to polish their own creation? Some quotes favor editing service, leaving the rest that stigmatizes editing as sheer incompetency. Let us discuss about the importance of editing and proof reading and why publishing houses put much emphasis on it.

For a good publication, editing and proofreading play an important role. Editing is necessary because clear and incisive communication is the key to successful publishing and advertising, polishing the writing and improving presentation. The quality and clarity of writing also depend on the experience of the writer. A beginner in writing often finds itself at sea, not knowing how to start, how to organize the main body of the story and what to conclude. The over enthusiastic writer will try to write every details, leaving nothing for the readers’ imagination. On the other hand, a conservative writer may omit vital information, assuming that the readers are already aware of it. Ideally, a good writing needs to strike a delicate balance of the above aspects. It’s in this context that editing helps a great deal. When we talk about e-messaging, we often tend to ignore spelling errors, improper punctuation and faulty grammar; but there is no room for any mistake in documents intended for publication in print or in electronic media. A mere typographical error in these documents is considered as serious mistake, which can ruin the writer’s credibility. A writer meticulously reviews his work to ensure that the written product is devoid of common errors and stylistic gaffes. He might review with utmost care, emulating own code of editing ethics. But it is a proven fact that self regulatory editing is not adequate and it does not guarantee complete elimination of all the errors. The writer fails to notice the errors because he tends to overlook and sees what he intends to write, but not what is written on the manuscript. The writers lax of grammar and vocabulary does not go down well either with the reader or the publisher. Sloppy sentences, surface errors, misused punctuation, wordiness, and faulty use of tenses all these can undermine the effectiveness of writing. At times, even though we know the correct spelling, we tend to write with transposed letters, which could result in writing something very different from what we set out to write. It can also change the meaning of the sentence or completely disrupt the smooth flow of the article. One wrong word can completely change the intent of the author. This may distract the reader considerably, diminishing the effectiveness of the writing. It never feels good to a reader to come across a writing which is full of errors. It generally gives the reader a feeling of disgust. When it happens, the writer can lose that reader forever. It’s a fact that no writer can be completely objective about his/ her own work.

A writer gets so engrossed in his creation that he misses grammatical and spelling errors very often. Most mistakes go unnoticed simply because of the lack of his expertise to catch them. A simple error can be very embarrassing if not checked before publication. It is more expensive to correct the mistake present in an already published article than to get it correct in the first place. If the document is printed with mistakes in it, then the writer may have to write and publish a corrigendum or addendum in the future editions of the publication. Therefore, it is wise for the writer to seek the help of professional editors and proofreaders to improve clarity, coherency, logical sequence, proper style and structure of the manuscript before submitting it for publication. This helps because it prevents the dissemination of irrelevant findings, unwarranted claims, unacceptable interpretations, and personal biases. Moreover, editing and proofreading ensures an unbiased third-party perspective, which is a difficult domain for any writer.

Many writers often fail to distinguish between editing and proofreading, believing both as synonyms. Editing and proofreading are an integral part of writing process with different functions. Editing is the process of correction, condensation, organization, presentation of content, consistency and removal of unnecessary redundancies, jargons, unsightly adverbs and passive sentences related to the use of language to improve readability in general or adherence to a specific style guide. Proofreading, on the other hand, ensures that the final written document is free of grammatical errors, spelling errors, typos, ambiguous vocabulary and other inconsistencies. Therefore, to communicate successfully in today’s competitive environment, proofreading and editing are indispensable component of a publishing process to make that first impression on the reader.
In electronic drafts, for example in manuscripts prepared in Microsoft Word, the changes in grammar and spelling can be automatically checked and corrected. But there is no substitute for a human editor who doesn’t just slash at your script willy-nilly, but suggest structural changes too to improve readability. A human editor will perform the editing in the context of the subject matter with the right tone and circumstance. He can query the writer on a potential change or ask about the logic behind a particular style of writing. These suggestions will help in fine tuning the writing and improve the entire structure of the manuscript. Professional editors know how to pay attention to minute details of the manuscript. They have an understanding of the whims and caprices of publishing world and know how to help your manuscript become more publishable. They will guide and suggest the writer for improving the manuscript instead of worrying about why the writing was not up to mark.

Authors and researchers often face difficulties to detect mistakes in their research manuscripts as they used to update their draft frequently. If the writing is meant for grant-funding or publication in a scholarly journal, it necessitates opportunity for improvement. A novel and substantial subject always attracts more publishers. A professional editor with his special expertise and fresh eye can eliminate the loopholes, thereby increases the possibility of publication in intended journals.

Presently the publishing market has become extremely competitive and trendy. Moreover, as most of the publishers have shifted towards electronic manuscript processing system, editing process has become increasingly paperless. For commercial reasons, and to keep pace with competition, publishers are keen on accepting and publishing maximum number of articles. They seek high quality editing of manuscripts to retain their credibility and reputation in the market. The industry spends a large share of its revenue for good editing. Publication of an unedited or improperly edited manuscript adversely affects the credibility of the author as well as the journal. Therefore, it is extremely important to publish manuscripts that have already undergone several rounds of editing.

There is a more subtle infringement of editorial independence caused by the commercial interests of the publishers. Publishing houses sometimes adopt several editorial policies aimed not only for improving the quality of published work, but also for increasing its impact factor, circulation and readership. Authors generally tend to cite articles from journals with high impact factors. Therefore, high standard editing not only improves the quality of content but significantly increases the journal’s ranking and impact factors. It also increases its circulation, enhances reputation and identity of the journal. The role of the editor is to constantly infuse the magazine with dynamism that keep the readers stimulated. Journals with original articles are the obvious choice of every reader.

Editing maximizes the accuracy and impact of written documents to enhance the publication and fund-raising efforts. The degree of editing plays a large role in developing reader comfort. So the manuscript should be clear and concise. Worse may happen if unhappy readers or publishers express negative opinion about an author’s work. Some may never read from that publication or writer again, especially in the field of literature like fictions, poems etc. An expert editor knows exactly where to pay attention during editing to minimize the errors present in the manuscript. Therefore, it is wise for writers and publishers alike to take the help of professional editors and proofreaders before publishing the document.
For Scientific English editing and Medical Writing Services visit