How to Avoid Plagiarism for Computer Codes....forstudents

Hockenberry, Benjamin bhockenberry at SJFC.EDU
Wed May 21 08:30:19 EDT 2014

The second example given in the UPenn "Avoiding Plagiarism:  Writing Computer Code" you mentioned ( seems to define code plagiarism in a disconcerting way.  The code in "Unacceptable example 2" shares *meaning* (does this mean “function?”) with the example in the textbook, but its structure is significantly different.

I would be very averse to such a plagiarism detection system if it were implemented programmatically.  There are many ways to write a while loop, but the discussion at the U Penn site says that logical equivalency (in a sense, “meaning”) equals plagiarism.  The similarity between student responses to a common assignment (like looping through an array) would cause every student to fail such a plagiarism test, and under many academic institutions’ academic integrity policies, this could be grounds for dismissal after only one or two occurrences.

Attribution should be given in code, yes.  But I’m wary of this “structure and meaning” argument when it comes to functional similarities.  Is this discussion precipitated by the Oracle-Google lawsuits, Joyce?

Ben Hockenberry, Systems Librarian
Lavery Library, St. John Fisher College | 3690 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618
(585) 385-8382 | bhockenberry at<mailto:bhockenberry at>

From: Web technologies in libraries [mailto:WEB4LIB at LISTSERV.ND.EDU] On Behalf Of James MacDonald
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: [WEB4LIB] How to Avoid Plagiarism for Computer Codes....forstudents

I must disagree... the use of other people's work should be cited including coding. Here is a nice academic integrity handbook from MIT:

There are times when citing is not necessary - such as factual common knowledge - for example, the capital of Canada is Ottawa. Neither would you cite say a for loop for iterating through and array.

Attribution should be given where it is due even for those small snippets of code (without which your code would be useless).

James MacDonald
Web Services Librarian
University Library

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On May 21, 2014, at 3:48 PM, Forrest, Stuart <sforrest at BCGOV.NET<mailto:sforrest at BCGOV.NET>> wrote:

Yes the whole point of modern programming is code reuse.

Stuart Forrest PhD
Beaufort County Library
South Carolina
843 255 6450
For Learning, For Liesure, For Life.

Sent from my iPad

On May 21, 2014, at 6:31 AM, "Riley Childs" <riley at TFSGEO.COM<mailto:riley at TFSGEO.COM><mailto:riley at TFSGEO.COM>> wrote:

Most of the time coding takes bits and pieces, sometimes even entire files! Do you mean citing your sources per se?

Riley Childs
Asst. Head of IT Services
Charlotte United Christian Academy
(704) 497-2086<><<>>
Sent from my Windows Phone, please excuse mistakes
From: William Gunn<mailto:william.gunn at MENDELEY.COM>
Sent: ‎5/‎21/‎2014 4:15 AM
Subject: Re: [WEB4LIB] How to Avoid Plagiarism for Computer Codes....forstudents

Joyce, there's no concept of plagiarism in writing software that I'm aware of.

Did you mean a different kind of programming code?

William Gunn | Head of Academic Outreach, Mendeley | @mrgunn | (650) 614-1749

On Tue, May 20, 2014 at 2:59 PM, Joyce Wong <joyce.wong at<mailto:joyce.wong at><mailto:joyce.wong at>> wrote:
Hi everyone

Apologies for any duplication.

Does anyone have an online guide on avoiding plagiarism specifically on programming codes for students?  Our Computer Science Department is interested in developing one and I'd rather not re-invent the wheel.
I have already found the page from University Pennsylvania.

Thank you

Joyce Wong
Coordinator of User Experience
Langara College Library. 100 West 49th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Y 2Z6
T: 604-323-5047<tel:604-323-5047>
F: 604-323-5512<tel:604-323-5512>
joyce.wong at<mailto:joyce.wong at><mailto:joyce.wong at>

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