Professors and students in the university setting can face a host of potentially serious issues. With modern plagiarism detection software, many universities are levying never-before-seen charges against professors and students alike based on the results of plagiarism software results. At the research level, professors must now guard against allegations of plagiarism (even self plagiarism) or research misconduct in their grant applications. Once allegations against a professor or student arise, universities generally begin an administrative inquiry, investigation, and appeal process. Sanctions for students can involve everything from minor reprimand to expulsion. Even students who have already earned their degrees can have their degrees revoked even years later.
Role of Lawyers in Plagiarism and Research Integrity Investigations
Universities often make it appear that the administrative inquiry, investigation, and appeals process is simple enough to handle without an attorney. Rarely are students or professors advised to seek legal counsel. As a result, many students and professors make the mistake of not taking the allegations serious enough, which can lead to disastrous results. By the time a serious sanction is on the table–such as expulsion or termination–it is often too late for a proper defense to be put forth. Obtaining the assistance of a lawyer early in the administrative process is crucial. Lawyers will often engage expert witnesses to analyze the alleged work-product and present compelling evidence in defense of the allegations. Where there is no reasonable defense available, a lawyer’s role often becomes that of an advocate for remediation over punishment. Many of the allegations students and professors face involve conduct that the university made little to no attempt to prevent. Punishment of one unlucky student or professor is hardly deterrence for future conduct.
Types of Cases Handled
Hamid Jabbar represents students and professors in a variety of university administrative proceedings. The most serious of such cases involve allegations of plagiarism or research misconduct. Please contact Hamid to discuss the particulars of your individual case.
Education is the Key When colleges and universities adopt strict liability standards that punish all forms of plagiarism equally they are usually trying to deter conduct. In theory, such systems sound good. Punishing the plagiarist who tries passing off the ideas of another as his or her own should deter future would-be plagiarists. The problem is that strict liability systems cannot deter unintentional plagiarism caused by lack of proper education. While I cannot speak for every institution, most colleges and universities actively condemn...read more
Plagiarism at colleges and universities can take numerous forms. Many colleges, however, are still applying antiquated plagiarism policies that treat all forms of plagiarism equally. Such strict liability approaches favor punishment of students over education, often requiring severe sanctions be imposed without regard to whether the plagiarism is of a serious variety or not. When colleges abdicate their responsibility to teach students how to succeed, both the institution and the students suffer. ASU’s Academic Integrity Policy First,...read more
I’m sometimes asked to explain the differences between copyright infringement and plagiarism. The two related terms are sometimes used interchangeably by non-lawyers but they are separate and distinct offenses. Let’s start with some basic definitions. Copyright Infringement Copyright Infringement is a very specific offense–it involves copying the protected work of another author. Under the Copyright Act, ownership in a copyrighted work vests in the author automatically once that work is fixed in a tangible medium of...read more
Although private industry conducts the majority of scientific and medical research in the United States, universities also conduct a significant share. Government research grants are the lifeblood of university research initiatives and the competition for scarce government funding is intense. In recent years, the competition has grown increasingly more complicated by the introduction of plagiarism detection software. Now, with the click of a mouse, research grant proposals and research papers can be analyzed electronically for instances of...read more