The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses publishes AACN Advanced Critical Care. Stanford University Libraries' HighWire Press® assists in the publication of ACC Online.

Current Issue : Spring 2017

From the Editor

Plagiarism - the very word makes most people cringe. Plagiarism can happen in a variety of ways and I would like to believe that it is rarely done intentionally or maliciously. Rather, I believe the vast majority of plagiarism incidents occur unintentionally due to a lack of understanding about what constitutes plagiarism or due to carelessness and lack of attention to detail. Regardless of intent, the outcome is the same: use of another person's ideas or words without appropriate attribution. Editors take plagiarism seriously and they diligently screen articles to the best of their ability to ensure that submitted manuscripts are original works, properly attributed as needed. Most publishers and editors use plagiarism detection software to look for duplicate content. 

New authors may not realize that, in most instances, when a manuscript has been accepted for publication, the authors are asked to sign copyright release forms transferring copyright of the manuscript to the publisher. In this case, “ownership” of the manuscript transfers to the publisher. Therefore, if the author writes a future manuscript on a similar topic, the author must follow the same rules in citing the original work and requesting permission from the publisher/copyright owner to reprint any figures or tables from the original work. 

To avoid any potential for even accidental plagiarism, authors must

  • • understand what constitutes plagiarism so they can appropriately incorporate ideas of others into their work with accurate use of citations and quotations;
  • • learn how to take and organize thorough notes when researching and reviewing the literature;
  • • ensure careful and detailed tracking of source materials;
  • • understand the pros and cons of using plagiarism detection software.

Even accidental plagiarism can have serious consequences. Careful and detailed tracking of ideas and content throughout the literature review and the writing process will ensure that you are not caught making this significant misstep in your publishing efforts. 

Mary Fran Tracy, RN, PhD, CCNS