It is unrealistic to expect to be able to work on an issue of such importance if the governing bodies are not motivated and fully involved. We must therefore encourage them not to think dualistically (“creation of knowledge vs. plagiarism”) or to unload the problem on other bodies.
It was still the case a few years ago that each educational system had a different approach to teaching, arising out of its history and culture and influencing theory, practice and the applications of independent disciplines.
Today, those different systems are being deconstructed, knowledge is circulating ever faster and, in addition, the boundaries of copyright are being diluted. The production of knowledge now includes a propensity to appropriate wholesale any knowledge circulating on the Internet.
The Internet has revolutionized the means of acquiring and producing knowledge, just as the printing press had done. There is just one difference: the governing bodies do not have two centuries to adapt, but just a few years.
Institution directors must be both willing to establish a policy providing knowledge and know-how on the proper use of the Internet and willing to play a role in the transformation of knowledge.
• Be realistic: Stop thinking that Internet plagiarism is a shameful disease.
• Acknowledge that there is a breakdown: Acknowledge that plagiarism is inherent in the new method of “creating” knowledge for students at all levels and, unfortunately, also for some researchers.
• Make the necessary funds available: Some human and financial investment will be required, above all in terms of the project team’s time. This must be formally included in the institution’s budget.