Important issue specific to students of Chinese culture!
What is plagiarism?
Essentially, plagiarism is copying. In North American universities, if you copy or plagiarize in your essays and homework, you are subject to punishment by the University because it is considered cheating. We have met many Chinese students who accidentally committed plagiarism and who told us that they were unaware of or had trouble understanding this concept because it is not a part of Chinese education.
Fundamental philosophical differences between the East and the West help us better understand the root of this issue. In Eastern view, ideas belong to everybody or to society as a whole. In Western view, individual people have a property right to their own ideas: it is believed that “people have a natural right to the products of their brain”.
What this concretely means for you as a North American university student is that you are expected to follow strict referencing rules when you write papers or assignments. Since ideas are believed to belong to other people, references allow your professors to know whose ideas you are drawing upon. It is not disrespectful to indicate your source; to the contrary, failing to do so is considered an ethical breach.
The University punishes plagiarism
Many students mistakenly believe that they are properly referencing their sources. Ask your professors for their help before submitting your homework, visit a mentoring centre in your faculty, or visit the University Academic Writing Help Centre.
Under the current system at the University of Ottawa, even if you make an honest mistake in your references, you are still guilty of plagiarism. Your professor may choose to make a formal accusation against you and you will be asked to explain yourself to the university administration. You will be subject to punishment. The punishments most often imposed are failure for the work or for the course (a grade of “F”) but the university has the power to impose harsher sanctions going all the way to expulsion. If you commit plagiarism a second or third time, the sanction will be more severe.
Students have rights
If you receive an email from the university informing you that you are being accused of plagiarism or any other type of cheating, know that you have rights as a student in this process. Our role is to help defend your rights, so contact us right away if you need help.
许多学生相信自己恰当地引用了资料的来源，但实际做法中仍有错误。因此，在提交家庭作业之前，请向你的教授寻求帮助，或向你所在学院的辅导中心咨询，或者访问“大学学术写作帮助中心”（University Academic Writing Help Centre）。